The Auditor-General, Margaret Crawford released a report today highlighting the impact of the growing student population on school infrastructure and the increasing cost of psychological injury workers' compensation claims in Education. The report also gives updates on an initiative designed to create new out of school hours care (OSHC) places and on the expected final cost and completion date for the Learning Management and Business Reform (LMBR) program.
The student population is growing at a significant rate
The number of students enrolled in NSW public schools has increased by over 26,438 during the past five years taking total enrolments in 2015 to 771,978 according to the report.
While growth in student numbers is concentrated in metropolitan Sydney, enrolments in the Inner Sydney and North Sydney regions have each increased by over 20 per cent in the past ten years.
'Keeping pace with the growth in the school population will require significant investment in education infrastructure options including the provision of new schools and upgrading existing schools to increase capacity,' the Auditor-General said.
The cost of workers' compensation claims has increased
Allegations of bullying, harassment and violence are contributing to an increase in the number and cost of psychological injury workers' compensation claims.
The total number of claims relating to psychological injuries has increased by 32.5 per cent, from 467 in 2014–15 to 619 in 2015–16. The associated cost of these claims has escalated by 71.5 per cent, from $15.1 million to $25.9 million over the same period.
'The Department should consider the effectiveness of workplace health and safety strategies for addressing the rise in psychological injuries,' Ms Crawford said.
The Before and After School Care Fund created 6,000 new places
The NSW Government established the $20.0 million Before and After School Care Fund in August 2015 to deliver up to 45,000 new out of school hours care places by March 2019.
At 30 June 2016, the Fund had allocated around $2.0 million in funding and created 5,993 new OSHC places. The Department is currently considering options for the future implementation of the Fund.
The Department released revised costs for the LMBR program
The budget for the LMBR program has increased. The program is expected to cost up to $752 million and be fully deployed by 30 June 2018.
The roll-out of the Finance and Student Administration and Learning Management systems to schools – part of LMBR – progressed in 2016. The total number of schools transitioned to these systems at 17 October 2016 was 1,100. The roll-out to the remaining schools is on track for completion by the end of 2017.
Barry Underwood, Executive Officer, on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664 and email firstname.lastname@example.org.