The State School Teachers Union of WA (SSTUWA) has put a submission to the State Government to seek greater resources in the 2011-12 State Budget to support public school teachers in providing quality education services to our children.
Our submission was informed by stakeholder feedback to our recent discussion paper and we thank everybody who completed our online survey.
Our public school teachers need greater support from the State Government to work with parents and within our school communities to ensure all children get the quality education they are entitled to. Download our budget submission to read where we think support is needed most in this year's State Budget.
The 2011-12 SSTUWA State Budget Submission focuses on key strategic recommendations that will provide targeted benefit to students at educational risk in WA public schools. Many of these students and their school communities are currently struggling through lack of adequate resources and appropriately targeted support, with many “falling through the gaps” and missing out on the educational opportunities afforded to other students.
Whilst this submission aims to raise the public awareness of some inequities and critical areas of need within our state education system in the lead up to the 2011/12 State budget, it also proposes some solutions and ways forward for Government through implementing the following recommendations:
- The 2011-12 Budget must include significantly greater funding to support „students at educational risk?, if public schools are to deliver a quality education to all students, regardless of their circumstances.
- The SSTUWA calls on the State Government to acknowledge the particular challenges faced by school communities in regional and remote areas in accessing services and programs for SAER, by significantly increasing the level of funding and resources available to support SAER in regional and remote schools.
- The SSTUWA calls on the State Government to urgently review the current Schools Plus eligibility criteria and recommends a significant increase (of $300 million) in funding to the Schools Plus and other SAER specific programs.
- The SSTUWA calls on the State Government to acknowledge the medium to long term benefits of early intervention services, and significantly increase funding and resources for early intervention programs and initiatives.
- The SSTUWA calls on the Government to expand the provision of alternative educational settings (such as primary and secondary behaviour centres) for students with behavioural and emotional problems, and to significantly increase funding to other ongoing initiatives to ensure their effective and timely delivery. More Specialist Behaviour Psychologists are urgently needed to assist in the management of an ever increasing number of complex behavioural issues across the State.
- The SSTU calls on the State Government to significantly increase funding and resources to region-based services such as the Inclusive Education Teams and state-wide specialist services such as the Visiting Teacher Service in order to ensure that school communities, teacher?s students and parents alike, get the support they need. More specialist therapy staff are urgently needed in order to properly service the additional and ongoing needs of these students.
- The SSTUWA calls on the Government to increase access to and enhance the professional development and training opportunities for teachers and other staff working with students at educational risk. Increased funding to expand and enhance specific SAER programs, and facilitate the required staff time release/relief is urgently needed. Additional support is also required for regional and remote schools, enabling their staff to participate in SAER training and PD programs, currently difficult due to distance from major centres (travel, accommodation costs) and staff relief issues.
- The SSTUWA calls on the State Government to urgently review the current teacher staffing formula weightings for students at educational risk.
- The SSTUWA calls on the State Government to increase funding for additional, specialised staff, such as specific SAER School Liaison Officer, to assist parents and carers in managing their child?s specific educational needs. Increased funding must be allocated to provide parents and carers and extended families with greater access to counselling services and additional support programs in order to assist them in dealing with the many additional pressures and challenges they face in the support role to SAER.
- The WA State Education Budget should include a clear outline of what funding is allocated to all groups of students at educational risk and details of how it is being invested and utilised in order to improve educational outcomes for these students.
This formal Budget Submission is derived upon not only the expertise and experience of SSTUWA members, but also the broad consultation and valuable input of key sector stakeholders and the wider community. The SSTUWA gratefully acknowledges the time and effort of all the contributors.