VIDEO: Parents asking: Where's our teachers' principals?

SMALL schools have been sacrificed by the NSW Teachers Federation for more pay, according to parents. 

On Tuesday the NSW Teachers Federation's Orange members in endorsed the Federation Executive's recommendation of a diminished role for small school principals after an intense and "robust" debate of nearly two hours. 

The contention was around the reclassification of the role of principals of small schools and the removal of budget allocations for smaller schools to be managed by a larger school.

In the end, the votes were cast 65 for to 45 against. 

NSW Teachers Federation country organiser John Pratt, who attended the meeting in Orange on Tuesday morning, said he expected the debate to be "colourful" because the city's small schools community was strong. 

The NSW Department of Education is proposing to downgrade to ''leading teacher'' status those principals in charge of primary schools with a budget of less than $1 million.

Non-teaching matters would be handled by a co-ordinating principal at a larger hub school.

However Mr Pratt said that small schools in the region had nothing to worry about, because it would be up to their principal to opt in to the new system. 

That is until 2021. 

After then, if a principal moves on the new system will apply, but Mr Pratt assured small schools that they had promises from the Department that the process would be open and in consultation with the community. 

"There is going to be schools which will never be affected by the changes because you simply can't amalgamate some schools. Isolation is a big factor and many of the small schools are isolated, they can't be networked or linked to other schools," he said. 

"There is no set figure ... in some cases it would be inappropriate or impossible to send those kids to different towns."

Borenore Public School P and C president Jason Vials said while the Federation may believe the process of moving principals over to the new system will be done in consultation the proposal clearly states, "in black and white", that the decision was up to the Deputy Director General.

"Essentially he can do whatever he likes," Mr Vials said. 

"The proposal that smaller schools would be led by a "leading teacher", it's half a title and it is not giving us what a principal needs to be."

Mr Pratt said when it came to the proposal, there had to be some give and take. 

A spokesperson for the Department said the matter was part of pay negotiations. 

''The department has suggested a model whereby students and school communities would benefit if [principals at smaller schools] were able to spend more time in the classroom and less time on administrative and management activities," the spokesperson said.

Mr Vials said he predicted if the budget was handled by a larger school than smaller schools would miss out on vital resources.

Canobolas Public School P and C president Melissa Caulfield said principals play an important role in the school community and it would be devastating if they were taken from the schools. 

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