The NSW Nationals in the state government will create a dedicated regional, rural and remote policy unit within the Department of Education, which will be based in regional NSW.
NSW Nationals Education Minister Sarah Mitchell announced her decision to create the Regional, Rural and Remote Policy Unit, along with the Rural and Remote Education Strategy in Townsend in the Clarence Valley.
The new unit will be devoted to raising regional, rural and remote students’ educational outcomes, and implementing the NSW Nationals in the state government’s ambitious reform agenda in regional, rural and remote schools.
NSW Nationals Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson welcomed the new unit and said students in Tamworth region were benefitting from billion-dollar regional education investments focused on providing rural students with all the opportunities they would receive in metro schools.
“A gap still exists in the outcomes for regional and metropolitan students. A team dedicated to addressing this issue is long overdue,” Mr Anderson said.
“By locating this new unit in the bush, we can be confident that those in charge of forming policy around rural education will have an intimate understanding of the challenges faced in the regional education sector.”
Almost half of NSW public schools are in rural or remote areas – educating more than 200,000 students spread over areas as diverse as Broken Hill and Lightning Ridge to Ballina and Bermagui.
The unit will implement the Rural and Remote Education Strategy and work with principals and teachers to improve their students’ outcomes. The positions created will be led by an Executive Director of Rural and Remote Education.
“This is the first time teachers, principals and other regional staff will have someone leading a policy team that is also based in the bush,” Mr Anderson said.
“I want to ensure that our students do not miss out on the opportunities awarded to those students in metropolitan areas.”
The unit will be based in a rural centre still to be determined, and comprise senior departmental executives and staff.