Students lose in $1m cut

FOUR battling Tweed schools will lose more than a million dollars in state funding from next year following their removal from the "most needy list". The schools, which have been taken off the Priority School Funding Program, are Tweed River High School, Carool Primary School, Kingscliff Primary School and Tumbulgum Primary School.

Crabbes Creek Primary School, Duranbah Primary School, Tweed Heads Primary School and Tweed Heads South Primary School will continue to receive funding under the program. The funding program provides additional assistance to schools with high concentrations of students from low socio-economic backgrounds with a focus on improving students' literacy, numeracy and participation outcomes. The schools in the Tweed state electorate received a total of $1.073 million in the 2005-2008 round of funding. While two new schools - Burringbar Primary School and Cudgen Primary School - will receive funding under the 2009-2012 allocation, the cuts have left many parents and teachers angry. A teacher, who declined to be named, said the cut would leave a huge hole in the budget.

"The program targets kids with the highest needs," he said.

"We are certainly disappointed to be taken off it and there is definitely a need for it."

A NSW Education spokesman said the allocations were based on detailed, confidential surveys completed by families and were reassessed every four years because the socio-economic status of a school could change over time.

The Tweed was named as one of the most disadvantaged areas in NSW in a 2007 report, Dropping off the edge: the distribution of disadvantage in Australia, by Sydney University Professor Tony Vinson.

Over the past eight years, Tweed River High School received a total of $804,859 and had six programs in place, which included: learning enhancement for Years 7 to 10; welfare and behaviour program; strengthening students' engagement in learning; and the Year 12 Tertiary Achievement Program; small teacher to student seminars; ensuring students maximise their HSC outcomes.

Tweed River High School Teachers' Federation representative Marc Vining said although the staff and parents were disappointed, they would continue the programs in some form. "It is the teachers' goodwill which will fill the short gap from funding," Mr Vining said. "It just means squeezing more blood out of the stone."



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