Since 2006, the Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP) and the Priority Action Schools (PAS) program have been incorporated into the Priority Schools Programs (PSP).
Priority Schools support schools serving high concentrations of low socio-economic status (SES) communities in New South Wales. Participating schools are those that were identified in a voluntary survey of government schools conducted in 2004.
Additional funding, staffing and consultancy support are provided through PSP to Priority Schools only. These resources are provided in addition to the resources provided to all government schools.
Regional PSP consultants and partnership officers (POs) support Priority Schools to meet program, regional and local priorities. The consultants and POs also liaise between schools and communities to increase community partnerships and interagency links.
The Priority Schools Funding Program (PSFP) provides additional assistance to school communities to reduce the achievement gap for students in schools with high concentrations of students from low socio-economic status backgrounds.
The PSFP focuses on improving students' literacy, numeracy and participation outcomes. There are currently 574 schools on the PSFP: 429 primary schools, 84 high schools, 27 central schools and 34 schools for specific purposes. This represents approximately 145,000 students or 20 per cent of all students enrolled in government schools in NSW.
The activities of the PSFP include professional learning for teachers and community members, resource materials development, research and sharing of effective practice in local networks of Priority Schools.
Priority Action Schools Program (PAS)
Priority Schools with the deepest needs are provided with further support through the Priority Action Schools Program. These schools are targeted as centres of innovation for improved teaching and learning practices through specialised programs and new approaches to staffing and resource allocation.
The PAS program provides resources to maximise educational outcomes and improve student performance. The criteria for selection to the program include the level of socio-economic status, academic and other achievements, school size and the numbers of beginning teachers.
In addition to addressing the PSFP focus areas, Priority Schools receiving PAS resources develop school plans which:
- build the organisational capacity of the school
- create professional learning communities and
- lead the learning.
A total of 80 Priority Schools receive PAS resources in 2007 including 49 primary, five central and 26 secondary schools.