THE Connected Communities program will be rolled out across 15 NSW schools in 2013 with the aim of improving indigenous students’ academic performance.
The Moree Champion contacted the Department of Education to clarify some of the details of the changes and how they would impact on local schools.
A spokesperson said the 15 schools were chosen based initially on their percentage of Aboriginal students.
“We started with schools in NSW with a high percentage of Aboriginal students,” the spokesperson said.
“We then considered which communities would most benefit from a different approach including from government agencies working together to better meet the needs of children and their families.”
The first step in the roll out is appointing an executive director to oversee the strategy across all 15 schools. The executive director will be appointed in July.
The spokesperson said the position will be advertised nationally.
“Any person who considers that they meet the selection criteria in the advertisement can apply for the position. The recruitment process will commence in the near future,” they said.
The spokesperson said the executive principal position is a new position within the school and would be advertised. Current principals would be welcome to apply for the position.
“Executive staff and classroom teachers will continue at the Connected Communities schools unless they apply for a transfer or an advertised position in another school.”
In response to the Moree Champion asking why some teachers have commented that they feel kept in the dark in regard to the changes, the spokesperson responded;
“There was a discussion paper put out in January with opportunity for input by all. There was consultation with the AECG and the NSW Teachers Federation from the beginning of the development of this strategy.
“This announcement is the beginning of a long consultation process that will include all staff as well as community members.
“The regional director and school education director have already been to the school and spoken with staff and this process will continue.”
School education director for New England West, John Charles, said the Connected Communities initiative offered great advantages for all students at Moree Secondary College.
“It will be clearly built on the strengths that have emerged by combining the former Courallie and Moree High Schools into Moree Secondary College,” he said. “While Connected Communities is aimed at more aggressively bringing greater parity to the differences in educational and life outcomes for indigenous and non-indigenous students, it will not ignore the aspirations or expectations of any student or any family,” Mr Charles said.
“It will enable the college to even more effectively meet the educational needs of every student and more actively assist them to fulfil their personal goals.”
At this stage the Moree Champion has not been able to get a clear indication on the future of the schools and their principals.
We will endeavour to bring you more as the story develops.