Push for more therapy in public schools

EDUCATION bureaucrats must ramp up access to counsellors and therapists in Wagga’s public schools, a union has argued. 

The push comes in wake of a damning report detailing the extent of violence, drug use and harassment inside the city's classrooms. 

A staggering 35 incidents were reported to police in Term 3 and 4 of 2016 – a three-fold spike from the first half of the year. 

Former secondary school teacher Alison Hugh – a member of the Australian Education Board – said the government needs to supply schools with more counsellors. 

“They need to be able to work with the kids and steer them in the right direction – steer them away from violence and anti-social behaviour,” she said.

“With the statistics, I think that they are over-represented by a select few students at a select few schools.

“I think there is an issue in that students are often unable to access councellors because waiting lists are often lengthy.”

Across the Wagga principals network, staff were abused –both physically and verbally – by students and parents on nine separate occasions.

Fifteen of the recorded incidents related to physical assault. 

The department said its schools were some of the safest places in the community. 

“Every school day, teachers and students work and learn safely at over 2200 public schools in NSW. Our public education system caters for over 790,000 students,” a spokesperson said. 

“Although our schools are safe, incidents do affect schools just as they affect communities as a whole.

“The Department of Education will continue to work closely with NSW Police, parents and the other relevant agencies to ensure incidents are reported.”