Schools, early childhood education and care services, and vocational training services across the Northern Rivers and North Coast will receive a $67 million boost to help their recovery from the devastating floods.
The package focuses on replacing educational resources, staff wellbeing, and trauma training to support students, including:
• $10 million hardship fund for families to replace essential school items including school bags, school uniforms and lunch boxes;
• $6 million for school staff to replace lost equipment and resources;
• $9.5 million psychology and counselling for school and early childhood staff and trauma training so they can support students;
• $9 million to help ECEC services (early childhood education and care) rebuild; and
• $29.7 million for the skills and higher education sector, including TAFE NSW, to replace materials and support staff with counselling.
Deputy Premier Paul Toole said the funding would help provide the immediate support needed to get students and teachers back in the classroom as quickly as possible.
“Impacted communities have shown their incredible resilience by teaching in makeshift classrooms with limited supplies during this recovery phase,” Mr Toole said.
“This package will provide them with practical supplies and the emotional support needed to help them bounce back.”
The $67 million package for education complements yesterday’s $112 million Back Home package.
Nationals Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said support for teachers and early childhood staff to rebuild their personal and professional lives was a centrepiece of the package.
“The mental health and wellbeing of all our education staff is critical, particularly as they continue supporting their classes and school communities to recover,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The package includes funding for psychology and counselling services for ECEC, TAFE NSW and government school staff, as well as staff training in trauma informed learning.
“We know that access to quality learning and care is essential to people’s recovery and wellbeing.”
Nationals Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said helping educators bounce back as quickly as possible is crucial to the recovery effort.
“Our educators need all the help they can get to provide the best learning environment for their students following this unprecedented disaster, with the NSW Government committed to ongoing support for flood-affected communities,” Ms Cooke said.