PARENTS will find it harder to access student support services that will become thinner on the ground in the Hunter if proposed administrative changes are introduced, teachers warn.
The proposal, put to staff in a "consultation document" but not made public, will see the Upper Hunter absorbed into the western region of NSW, which takes in remote locations like Wilcannia, NSW Teachers Federation Hunter organiser Fred Dumbrell said yesterday.
The head office would be at Tamworth, and they would be overseen by staff at an office in Dubbo.
The education office at Muswellbrook would be closed, and the Newcastle region would be turned into a super-region taking in the far north coast.
"Where services were already threadbare there will be much bigger holes," he said. "They are putting . . . extra duties on to schools and making the support for those schools so much more remote.
"Where we had 80 school education directors in NSW to support school principals, we will have 57.
"It will be harder for parents to contact people who are supervisors of the schools and much harder to get any support for those schools for things like student welfare issues and the placement of students with special needs. There will be less access to expert advice.
"It's disrespecting the Hunter as a region."
A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education said the final location of staff was still being decided in the consultation process.
"The new model of support to schools maintains the department's focus on achieving the best possible outcomes for students in our public schools," he said.
"Unions and principals' organisations have been briefed about the proposed model, which is now subject to an initial staff feedback period scheduled to end on November 20."
A revised model will go out for two more weeks of consultation and a final model would be made public before the end of school term on December 21, he said.