Education changes should ring alarm bells for parents and students

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

 

Sir – Recently announced changes to funding for the education system should be ringing alarm bells for parents and students alike.

 

While the NT Government’s commitment to further investment in the early years is highly significant and crucial to improving educational outcomes for many children in the NT, such investment should not be at the expense of older students.

 

Proposed changes to the student: teacher ratios across middle and senior schools will lead to significant timetabling complexities for schools. Some of the consequences of this could include fewer teachers (up to five staff positions per school can be lost, according to the Minister for Education’s budget media release), bigger class sizes and a reduction in subjects offered to students.

 

Such changes will ultimately disadvantage our Territory children, and have flow on effects across the whole of society. Many secondary students already face significant barriers to receiving a good education and these changes will simply create more. Subjects that actually help keep young people engaged may not be able to be offered. As parents and caregivers, we should be greatly concerned.

 

The Northern Territory Government must widely consult with schools bodies about the impact these funding and ratio changes will have and urgently re-assess these decisions. At a time when we should be focusing more on helping young people further their high school education it is extraordinary that $16m was cut from the education budget in May.

 

In addition, it is perplexing and concerning that the NT Government has refused to accept the Federal Government’s offer of $200M in Gonski Funding. Imagine what we could do with such funding, which could support new initiatives in early childhood and increase – not decrease – support in the senior years as well. And it might just help the Government make ‘every child, every day’, more of a reality.

 

Jonathan Pilbrow

Parent of a Centralian Senior College student

Larapinta

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