24 May 2012

Claim rural sector will suffer if class sizes are increased

9:36 pm on 24 May 2012

Federated Farmers says the rural sector will be disadvantaged by Government plans to increase some class sizes in schools.

The Government says it will change the ratios used to decide how many teachers should be funded at each school.

That means smaller classes for some but for years 2, 3, 9 and 10 ratios worsen; from 1 teacher to 23 children to 1 to 27.5.

Federated Farmers education and skills spokesperson Jeanette Maxwell says many rural schools have three teachers to about 60 students across a range of ages.

She says under the new rules, they would qualify for only two teachers.

Ms Maxwell says that has negative implications for the whole rural sector.

She says Government and organisations have been encouraging people to move into rural communities and work there.

"This would be a real disincentive to say move your family into a rural area when you are going to be coming to a smaller school that could be under more pressure, and so while we're trying to attract skill sets and people into these areas, this could be a real turn-off", Ms Maxwell says.

She says Federated Farmers wants the Government to maintain a 1 to 20 ratio across all schools.