Threat to ESL is focus for community forum

Amber Flohm
Multicultural Officer/Organiser


When: Tuesday July 22, 4pm (for 4.30pm sharp)–6pm

Where: Teachers Federation House, 23–33 Mary Street, Surry Hills

RSVP:, attention Amber Flohm/Bronnie Zervos or (02) 9217 2187 by July 18

Securing the future provision of ESL in NSW public schools will be the focus of a community forum on July 22 (see sidepanel).

Federation is continuing its campaign to protect the total number of ESL teaching positions currently provided as a staffing entitlement to schools. If this ESL staffing entitlement is converted to a monetary allocation to a school’s budget via the Resource Allocation Model (RAM), there is widespread concern amongst teachers, parents and community members that these crucial teaching positions will be diminished or lost over time as the funding is diverted to some other purpose.

The forum will provide an overview of the campaign to date, outline current academic research on the impact of devolution on ESL in NSW public schools, hear from a principal and a student about the importance of ESL provision in public schools, and future campaign action will be planned.

The recent loss of regional positions such as ESL/multicultural consultants, refugee support officers and community information officers has already significantly impacted on schools. Federation, along with the ESL and Refugee Working Party, is compiling case studies of how schools have been unable to access professional learning and support for ESL teachers, and well as support for students and their new arrival communities.

The union is conducting research on the role of anti-racism contact officers (ARCOs) in public schools, as well as how individual schools are using their ESL teacher entitlement to meet the needs of ESL students.

Engagement with language backgrounds other than English (LBOTE) communities is an important part of this campaign. LBOTE communities understand that additional support assists ESL students in reaching their full potential.

Political activities to date have included numerous questions in parliament on support for multicultural education and ESL, a parliamentary forum on ESL and various meetings with key ministers and MPs.