Part II – Sydney Mum’s and their children’s education future

Wow, Wow, Wow…this is big news for me…Part II

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Yes, I do agree we need to make sure school leavers are competent in literacy and numeracy skills, I call it being a responsible and conscientious adult and parent, ensuring the future of our children is not at stake so they can realise their full potential. But I ask why are we testing that from year 9 onwards? What about the early years? Aren’t they the years that count the most? How many times has it been drilled into us the importance of reading to children from birth and early intervention?

Take my 7-year-old, the middle child, a beautiful boy with the characteristics of a ‘sensitive lamb’ (term coined by Maggie Dent) who has been in therapy (both Speech and Occupational) since he was 3 only becoming literate at the beginning of this year. Yet he still faces academic challenges every day and does so without any financial support from private or government agencies because he is a square peg not fitting the ‘round hole’ to call for help.  Although his teachers give as much support as they can, they too are limited in their power and by funding.

What ramifications does this mean for him and our family? You can understand my ‘holy crap’ feeling when told about the changes facing students from 2017 and how this highlights the system’s flaws.

In the same article Labour’s education spokesperson, Jihad Dib and the Teachers Federation acting president Gary Zadkovich have both expressed their support for higher standards BUT without the Gonski funding and detailed risk assessment of resources and staffing across schools in NSW, the reform could leave many schools and students trailing behind those that have access to more money and resources.

And then what happens? Kids risk dropping out of school, risk getting into difficulty, risk more mental health issues – kids self-worth and well-being taking a general nosedive regardless of teachers and families doing the very best they can.

For those of you who are stunned and want to react there is an online petition on Change.org asking for the reforms to be scraped, it will be submitted to both Mike Baird, NSW Premier and Adrian Piccoli, Minister of Education NSW. The petition now has 1,702 supporters.

My opinion is not to get rid of the reform but to redefine the parameters of the reform. By that I mean start again with the blueprint and make sure the consultation process includes a representative cohort of parents, teachers and principals from early childhood through to high school to start at the beginning not in year 9 when it could already be too late!

Even better, make education free and accessible to all like school systems in other countries.

Author: Emma McEnery

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