Teachers from both schools spoke with Mr Giles about the context of Catholic education in the Maitland regions, their school communities and what matters most to them.
Principal of Our Lady of Lourdes, Cheryl Henderson, said that Mr Giles demonstrated that he clearly understood the pressure that teachers feel in relation to addressing the needs of all students and spoke of the support needed to support students with special needs and the tremendous gap between what is funded and what is required.
“The Shadow Assistant Minister paid particular attention to the impact of the demanding role on young teachers and spoke of them as being incredibly important in the educational conversation,” Ms Henderson said.
“He acknowledged the attrition rate among newly qualified teachers and accepted a letter from one of our staff members which stated:
“My goal as an educator, is to provide a nurturing, inclusive and engaging learning environment, where students are supported to reach their potential, but I need your help to access the appropriate support to achieve this...”
Principal of All Saints College, St Peter’s Campus, Maitland, Bernard Burgess, also met with Mr Giles about learning support and ensuring that students with all needs are met in regards to what support is given in schools.
“He was very open and understanding of what happens at schools and verbalised his interest in ensuring teachers have the best resources available to them to enable them to get the best out of students,” Mr Burgess said.
The conversation also touched on teacher accreditation and the process and procedures in place that can overload teachers.
“It’s important to vocalise the importance of ensuring that we don’t have teacher overloaded with bureaucracy and stopping them from keeping an eye on core business,” Mr Burgess said.