Education setback feared

THE state government has a fight on its hands with Aboriginal education staff opposing the proposed closure of the Mount Druitt district education office.

"Over my dead body will it happen," Metropolitan West region Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) president Susan Matthews (pictured) said.

"It has a significant spiritual connection to Aboriginal people who have worked there. Their spirits are still there."

The closure was a hot topic at last week's NSW Teachers Federation forum in Whalan, where Education Minister Adrian Piccoli was due to explain the impact the $1.7 billion education cuts will have on the area.

He cancelled 24 hours before due to parliamentary commitments.

Queries as to why a representative wasn't sent on his behalf weren't responded to.

Five Aboriginal education staff staff based at the Mount Druitt office will be relocated.

The delivery of Aboriginal programs will double from 4000 to 8000 pupils as far as the central coast.

"They'll be forced to walk on other people's land, where they'll have no knowledge of the community," Ms Matthews said.

Chifley College Dunheved principal Tim Jones and his staff work closely with a range of consultants based at the district office.

"I'm concerned the quality of education will no longer be provided," he said.

"Local consultants need to be maintained to continue the support given to our community over the past decade."

Corey Matthews, 15, fears what programs will be cut when he starts at St Marys Senior High School next year.

He's concerned cuts will affect his younger brothers, one of whom has Aspergers syndrome.

"The cuts affect us more than many people here tonight," Corey told the Star afterwards.

St Marys-Mount Druitt teachers federation president Dianne Pyne said those who attended the forum had every right to be angry about Mr Piccoli's no-show.

"It made us feel we weren't important enough," she said.

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