The O’Farrell Government has wasted $100,751 to change the name of the Department of Education and Training to the Department of Education and Communities – at the same time the Government is cutting $1.7 billion from schools and TAFE colleges and sacking 361 more teachers and support staff.

Internal departmental documents obtained by the NSW Opposition reveal 361 education experts and teachers that will be cut from 54 locations including south west and western Sydney, the Hunter, Central Coast, Illawarra and regional NSW.

“At the same time the Government is cutting $1.7 billion from schools and implementing another 361 job cuts – the Minister for Education has wasted $100,000 on a name change,” said Opposition Leader, John Robertson. “This Government has got its priorities wrong.

“This horrific waste of money is an insult to all the parents facing higher school fees and cuts to their kid’s education as a result of the Government’s $1.7 billion funding cuts.

“The money Adrian Piccoli has wasted on new letterhead would have been better spent on 180 new school laptops or 2000 new textbooks for our schools.”

Schools and regions that will lose all of their support staff under the 361 new job cuts include: Mt Druitt, Kingswood, Arncliffe, Bankstown, Campbelltown, Granville, Liverpool, Northern Beaches, Ryde, Hornsby, Central Coast, Coffs Harbour, Muswellbrook and Swansea.

Shadow Minister for Education Carmel Tebbutt said the O’Farrell Government’s claim that schools won’t be affected has been exposed by these cuts, with many of the staff located on school grounds.

“It is outrageous that the O’Farrell Government is ripping 361 teaching and support staff out of education in NSW,” said Ms Tebbutt.

“South western and western Sydney and regional NSW suffer heavy losses with Campbelltown, Bankstown, Granville, Liverpool and Mount Druitt losing all their staff.

“There will be no curriculum specialists outside of Sydney and students will lose valuable support as a result of these cuts.” Opposition Leader John Robertson is in the middle of visiting 40 schools in 40 days – calling on the O’Farrell Government to reverse its $1.7 billion cuts.

“Every school and every student will be hit by the O’Farrell Government’s school funding cuts,” he said.

“While the Minister is out wasting money on marketing consultants, school principals are being told to cut back on everything from special needs support to school cleaners. “Parents, teachers and students can get involved in the campaign by visiting www.stopthecuts.com.au.”