[hubbers] A. Piccoli, MP: NSW pilot and TL staffing
Date: 26 February 2010
Thank you, Mr. Piccoli, for your prompt reply.
One good thing about the league tables is that they do uncover the huge discrepancy between government and non-government schools when it comes to staff numbers. You won’t see independent schools trading in teacher librarians (TLs). They understand how TLs help to deliver curricula, collaborate in teaching information skills, directly improve literacy through building and promoting exciting print collections and tailor print and digital resources to the needs of staff and students.
Teacher librarians, indeed, are not “less essential.” Familiar with the whole school curriculum and trained to teach critical thinking and knowledge building, as well as contribute to literacy outcomes, classrooms could easily morph into libraries for the delivery of learning outcomes:-)
At Loftus there was no trading for more “front line” teachers. The principal was trading a more costly, experienced teacher for a less costly one, plus extra admin staff, at the same time freeing up an AP from teaching….not “front line” and not teaching.
We must ask what training has the federal government given to “these more autonomous” principals so that they are knowledgeable about the modern role of professional TLs? I state again:
o no PD for principals has focused on supporting school libraries or the development of excellent TLs who improve student achievement;
o no federal program has examined staffing, training needs, or use of teacher librarians to improve student literacy and learning;
o no summary of the international and national research on best practice in school libraries has been made available to school leaders for decision-making
You are quite correct about underfunding in government schools. 75% of Australian government school libraries have annual budgets of under $20,000, With half of these under $5000, and one in six under $1000 per year for books, maganizes and digital resources to support teaching and learning. (Combes, B. 2008. Australian School Libraries Research Project: A snapshot of Australian school libraries, ASLA, ALIA & ECU.)
Meanwhile, 3/4s of Anglican school libraries have budgets over $20,000 (10% over $100,000!). 65% of Christian schools have budgets over $20,000. Almost 50% of Catholic schools have budgets over $20,000 (10% over $50,000).
At least in NSW we have had teacher librarians, many part time, in all schools. The staffing formula which supported this must be preserved. We also, do not opposed the National Partnership agreements which are bringing much needed funds into the most needy schools. The conditions of the NPA on Quality Teaching, however, must be changed to ensure that specialist teachers staffed outside of the establishment cannot be lost. Failing this, the NSW Government must make its own provisions to ensure that this cannot occur.
Every school deserves a qualified teacher librarian to improve literacy and academic achievement.
Thank you again for your time and consideration,
The Hub: Campaign for Quality School Libraries in Australia