Labor announces $2.5million funding boost for ‘Community Language Schools’

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NSW Labor has announced the largest ever funding boost to Community Language Schools across NSW which will provide the more than 30,000 students, as well as teachers and volunteers who attend and operate the schools more support and resources.

Under a Labor Government, funding for these schools will be boosted by more than $75 per student to $200 per student – leaving NSW Community Language Schools with the largest funding package of any state in Australia.

Community Language Schools offer classes in 56 different community languages and are open to any school-aged student from a government, Catholic or independent school.  The classes are held outside normal school hours and help students learn and use their community language or learn a new language.

Shadow Minister for Education Ryan Park – who made the announcement today at the NSW Federation of Community Language Schools’ Conference in Sydney – said Labor’s funding commitment represented a 62 per cent increase in funding and would bring the total investment to $6.5 million a year.

“Labor is committed to ensuring that students and families from different cultural backgrounds have an opportunity to develop their skills in a second language,” Park said.

“Learning a language can not only be used socially but can also help these young people gain a deeper understanding of people from all over the world.

“Labor’s $2.5 million funding boost will support these Community Language Schools attract and retain teachers with specialist language skills to continue educating the thousands of students who attend these schools.

“These schools not only help students learn their own community language but importantly they help students who are preparing for the HSC or learning a language for the first time.

“Parents recognise the value of encouraging our children to be multilingual – being able to think and communicate in more than one language is a powerful skill to have in an increasingly globalised world.

“Labor’s $2.5 million funding commitment will mean that the over 240 Community Language Schools in NSW will be the best funded in Australia.

“This is a clear indication that Labor is committed to our multi-cultural communities and supports improving language skills.”

Shadow Minister for Communities and Citizenship Guy Zangari added: “As a nation built by migrants, languages are critical to maintaining ties between the many countries from which Australians come.

“There are over 2500 teachers, family and community members who educate tens of thousands of students each year– and this added funding will reflect the importance of Community Language Schools in our multicultural society.”

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