Schools in drought-ravaged areas across the State will not lose any staff despite more families relocating out of regional areas, NSW Nationals Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell has announced.

Ms Mitchell said 220 schools would have their entitlement guaranteed by default, with a further 36 schools encouraged to apply for staffing entitlement maintenance.

“This Government is passionate about ensuring every child, no matter where they are from, has access to top quality teachers,” Ms Mitchell said. “Attracting and retaining good teachers in regional areas is difficult enough, so it is critical that we maintain staffing numbers now more than ever to make sure our country kids aren’t missing out on having the opportunity to be the best they can be.”

“Everyone knows how important a quality education is; our regions’ future teachers, doctors, lawyers and farmers are being shaped in public schools right across the State as we speak, so an investment in them really is an investment in our future.”

Ms Mitchell added that support for staff in regional areas will continue when the drought breaks.

“When it eventually rains, communities in regional NSW will need continued support to get back on their feet; not all issues are solved by a few inches,” she said. “That’s why the NSW Government will continue to assess individual schools’ circumstances into the future to ensure appropriate staffing resources are always available for our kids.”

Deputy Premier John Barilaro said that in the past, if a school saw a decline in student enrolments, the total number of staff in a school would decrease.

“This drought is relentless, but that shouldn’t mean students whose families choose to stay in the regions should have the quality of their education affected,” Mr Barilaro said. “That’s why the NSW Government will maintain the number of permanent staff in drought-affected schools across the State, so our children continue to have access to a consistent number of teachers during their education.”

“The Nationals in Government know how important it is for our children to have stability during these tough times, so we will continue this for as long as we need to.”