Keeping to our commitments
|by Gilbert Licudi
During the elections of December 2011, we emphasised that we would make education a top priority. We have already made a number of announcements in this area including the extension of mandatory grants for postgraduate studies, additional funding for distance learning, the provision of a dedicated maintenance team for schools and the commencement of a health and safety audit for all schools.
We also gave a number of specific commitments on the engagement of additional staff for schools in four areas:
2. Classroom Aides;
3. School Secretaries;
4. Administrative Support.
In keeping with these commitments, I am pleased to announce the following:
47 new teachers have been recruited and will start on 1 September 2012. The teacher complement has therefore been increased from 333 to 380.
These new posts will be distributed, by sector, as follows:
• 20 teachers in the Primary sector (First and Middle schools)
• 23 across the Secondary sector (including the Gibraltar College)
• 3 teachers for the Behaviour Education Support Team (BEST)
• 1 peripatetic teacher to support TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) across schools
The complement of Classroom Aides will be increased by 28, from 51 (counting parttimers as half a post) to 79. This represents a more than 50% increase in the complement.
In our manifesto, we committed ourselves to carrying out a review, within three months of taking office, to identify what additional resources are required in each school for children with Special Educational Needs. As a result of that review, the need for additional Classroom Aides was identified.
The increase in the complement is made up as follows:
• 16 part-time Classroom Aides have been given full-time status
• An additional 20 Classroom Aides will be recruited and made available to schools as from September 2012.
In addition, the Classroom Aide supply list has been re-populated, increasing it from 1 to 39. This will allow cover for temporary absences as well as the use of supply classroom aides whenever specific temporary needs arise.
The complement of school secretaries will be increased from 9 1/2 (counting parttimers as half a post) to 17. This will fulfil our commitment to provide secretarial support for schools during the whole of the school day.
Schools are already receiving this support on a temporary arrangement either from the existing part-time school secretaries or by enlisting the help of trainees from the Government’s Future Job Strategy scheme. The formal arrangements will be in place for the start of the new school term in September 2012.
An Executive Officer will be assigned to each of Bayside and Westside Schools to support teachers in the administration of the schools’ public examination system and for general clerical duties. The recruitment exercise for these officers is alread underway. It is expected that these new posts will be filled by September 2012.
The engagement of significant and unprecedented numbers of staff for schools and the extent of the additional funding which is needed for this shows how seriously the Government has taken its promise to make education a top priority.
The Government will continue to work with the GTA and the professionals at the Department of Education and in schools to deliver its policy to assist all children to develop their full potential by receiving the best education possible.