A veteran Colac teacher is calling for the next State Government to focus on school programs including literacy support to dissolve disadvantage in the Colac district.
Casual relief teacher Fran Lehmann, who has more than 40 years’ experience in education, said Colac and district children would benefit from a return to a reading recovery system.
“It targets students at a really young age so they have that intensive one-on-one help,” Miss Lehmann said.
Miss Lehmann, who was a Labor Party candidate at the 1992 and 1996 state elections and has “not been a member for many years”, said a successful reading recovery program was “virtually non-existent in schools after 2012”.
“Without a grounding in literacy and numeracy, how can you prepare kids for this challenging world they are going to have to face with technology and social pressures, if the government is not prepared to put the money into the future of Victoria?” Miss Lehmann said.
“They want well-educated, well-rounded, worldly type people who can cope out there and contribute to society – how can you do that if you keep cutting funding?” she said.
Miss Lehman said the State Government’s decision to end the Education Maintenance Allowance and instead provide extra financial support directly to Victoria’s neediest schools from January 1 would impact on Colac and district students and families.
“Enormous numbers of families were on the EMA, struggling to make ends meet with expenses, it was a godsend to parents and to schools,” Miss Lehmann said.
“Parents knew there was money there for excursions, books, camps, school fees,” she said.
“With that money being channelled elsewhere or the schools not receiving that funding, you have the issue of many parents who will probably think twice about being able to pay for excursions.”
Miss Lehmann said excursions and camps were vital for Colac children to broaden their experiences in life.
She said Labor’s promise to establish a $150 million Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund would mean certainty for parents and schools to continue these programs.
Labor has also promised a $15.5 million partnership with State Schools Relief to provide school uniforms and shoes to struggling families, and free eye tests and glasses for kids at 250 disadvantaged schools.