While Public school principals have endorsed a NSW government plan to give them much greater autonomy to control staffing, finances and maintenance at a local level- inevitably the NSW Teachers Fed is sceptical of the intentions. After years of sitting on local school P&C meetings and hearing the frustrations of the staffing formulas vented – its got to be a welcome move- If properly implemented and supported. The opponents state that this is a smoke screen for slashing the State education budget. The Government needs to now declare its funding model, not only for schools but also its intention with the inevitable cuts to head office positions. Having been a ‘head officer’ – I can no longer defend many of the roles, projects and practises which are costly inefficiently administered and too generic to acknowledge the circumstances of particular schools.
The opportunity is now here for genuine reform- way beyond staffing and budget administration. Lets look for example at models for educational communities involving grouping of high schools , primary and secondary with local TAFE and Unis- bringing innovation, sharing of resources, professional leadereship to the local context. Change from the top is too costly and slow for todays learners and practitioners.