Crisis response unit to prepare schools for disasters

A special response and recovery team will be set up in the NSW Department of Education to help regional and remote schools get through times of crisis.

Sarah Mitchell

The team will support schools with remote learning, evacuation protocols and disaster safety measures.

It will sit within the Regional, Rural and Remote Policy Unit, announced earlier this year.

The government says the team will build on lessons learnt during recent bushfires, drought, floods and the covid-19 pandemic.

Deputy Premier John Barilaro says the team will make sure schools in regional areas are supported so they can continue to deliver quality education through crises.

“The last few years have taught us to expect the unexpected and just how important it is to be well prepared for emergencies and to remain safe throughout crises and natural disasters,” he said.

“It’s critical for the NSW government to take what we have learnt from recent experiences and be ready to act and respond when our communities need help.”

Keeping staff and students safe

Education minister Sarah Mitchell says the initiative will keep staff and students safe and help schools bounce back from disasters.

“In response to the 2019/20 bushfires, impacted schools benefitted from bespoke, targeted mental health support for as long as they felt necessary, along with a freeze on staffing numbers despite fluctuating enrolments to ensure stability for students and additional professional development for staff.”

The state government is also rolling out an $18 million bushfire hazard mitigation program in schools across the state.

It comes after an NSW Auditor General’s report found that emergency response agencies are failing to properly implement recommendations from disaster inquiries.

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