FORMER high school teacher and State MP for Keira Ryan Park, has lashed out at a plan by the NSW Government that he says will effectively increase the number of students in Illawarra classrooms.
“The recently released report by Infrastructure NSW recommended that nearly all of the 250,000 extra students expected over the next two decades be accommodated in existing facilities, what that means is simple, overcrowded classrooms for students and teachers,” he said.
“One of the biggest improvements to public education over the last twenty years was the decision to reduce class sizes, particularly in those very early years. What this proposal will do, is to destroy that very important reform and to take us back decades in terms of the way we deliver education to our young people,” he said.
“At the moment the average size for a primary school class is 24, but under this proposal it would see that jump to 31, a size we haven’t seen for decades in our local schools,” he said.
Mr Park said this proposal comes at a time when local schools and the community are furious at the $1.7 billion cut to the education budget and demonstrates just how out of touch the NSW Liberal Government is when it comes to delivering quality education.
“I have been overwhelmed by the community backlash to the recently announced funding cuts and now we see a Government hell bent on ensuring that students and teachers work in overcrowded classrooms at a time when every educational expert around the country is recommending an increase in investment in education,” he said.
“I will be raising this matter directly with the Minister when Parliament resumes next week and will be seeking a guarantee that he rejects this idea and starts to focus on delivering quality education for our young people” he said.