The New South Wales Labor opposition says it will establish a $400m education fund, including a new intensive literacy and numeracy tutoring program in public schools.
Labor says its Education Future Fund would set the state on course to redress the historic underfunding of public schools and to eventually meet the schooling resource standard (SRS) benchmark for education spending.
The $400m program would be used to hire more teachers, school counsellors and establish the tutoring program, which would run in primary and high schools, but have an initial focus on the 2023 Year 10 cohort.
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“Under Labor, schools will be fully funded, we’ll have more teachers in classrooms, kids off their devices and focusing on their learning,” the opposition leader, Chris Minns, said.
“I’m determined to end the war on teachers and attract and keep them.”
Labor claims the new funding would set New South Wales schools on a faster course to reach 75% of the SRS, hitting that target by 2025. The SRS is based on the recommendations of the 2011 Gonski review and measures whether education funding meets the needs of schools.
The opposition also claims its school funding would also reach 100% of the SRS “during the life of the next national school reform agreement”.
The NSW government established a Covid intensive learning support program (ILSP) to provide assistance to some students during the pandemic. That arrangement was subsequently extended, but expires again at the end of the financial year.
“Labor’s plan would ensure intensive tutoring within NSW public schools will become permanent,” an opposition statement said. ”Teachers employed in the current ILSP can be extended to work in the permanent tutoring program.”
NSW Labor’s deputy leader, Prue Car, said state schools were under-resourced.
“The Coalition cannot fix the teacher shortages because it will maintain the wages cap, the unsustainable workloads and the underfunding of public schools that have contributed so much to the shortages,” Car said.