Fight to save the NSW School Magazine

If you went to school in New South Wales during the last 95 years, you will be familiar with THE SCHOOL MAGAZINE. It is the world’s oldest literary magazine for children and is published without fuss by a small, dedicated and skilled staff who are part of the NSW Department of Education and Training.

The NSW School Magazine

There are four separate titles for a total of 160,000 readers across Australia each month, for 10 issues a year. Children, teachers, librarians, parents, authors/illustrators enjoy the range of stories, poems, plays, articles, comic series and activities into the 36 full-colour pages of each of the 40 magazines each year. Subscriptions are as strong for 2011 as ever.

The School Magazine now faces the threat of cutbacks. Because the Magazine’s publishing unit is being merged with another within the New South Wales Education Department, all staff of both units will cease at the end of January 2011. Positions in the new unit many be offered to some permanent staff, but not to most of the staff.

This means the quality of the School Magazine will suffer. If quality and quantity suffer, so will subscriptions. Eventually, this fine resource of writing for children in New South Wales’s schools – and, of course, for the many children in other Australian states who subscribe – will disappear.

The School Magazine publication with its wonderful resource of storytelling is the envy of the other states, because no other State Education Department offers it. (I can vouch for this, coming from Queensland!)


Write to the NSW Minister: Please use the attached SAMPLE LETTER TO NSW Education Minister . It’s a PDF so you will need to save as text and add your NAME and ADDRESS before you email it. Or you can write your own using this one to help.

Email it to the NSW Education Minister, Hon. Verity Firth MP:
Or post to her address. NOTE: written letters are more effective. Share


11 thoughts on “Fight to save the NSW School Magazine

  1. I wish to most strongly endorse Janeen’s comments. The commercial market for children’s poetry has almost completely collapsed over the last couple of decades. My own identity as a children’s poet hinges very strongly on the steady publication of my work over that time by The School Magazine. The changes being heralded now feel very much like the last nail in the coffin for children’s poetry in Australia.


  2. It angers me that we are constantly hearing about how we need to encourage children to read and here’s one, wonderful magazine, that’s a role model for all children’s magazines and it’s likely to suffer the axe. I agree with all the points made in previous messages, but there’s an extra one, which I included in my letter to the Hon. Verity Firth. That’s the one about poetry. It is incredibly difficult to have poetry published and accessible for children and teachers in Australia. Yet School Magazine has always included at least one or two every issue and by the letters from the children, they’ve always been enjoyed and valued. As a poet, as well as an author, I have also valued the opportunity of having my poems published and I know I’m not alone in that.
    Fingers AND toes crossed!


  3. Sheryl,

    I have written letters to various ‘Radio National’ shows – ‘The Book Show’, Geraldine Doogue at ‘Saturday Extra’, and ‘Life Matters’. ‘The Book Show’ got in touch with me, but didn’t think they could do much this year. They did suggest I write a piece on their blog, but it doesn’t seem to be up yet.

    I also got in touch with ABC 702 in Sydney, because I heard they were discussing it on Tuesday. Then it got put back to Wednesday, then Thursday. Not sure if it has happened at all yet, because I couldn’t get in touch with them today. I am keen to contribute to the talkback.


  4. Sheryl, I’m away, but I’ve sent an email to Ms Firth at the link you gave. It would be a travesty for these cutbacks to rob children Australia-wide access to such a valuable resource and exposure to excellent, positive, free, and very importantly Australian literature.


  5. I sent off my letter to the Govt a few days ago, making the very point Hazel does ie, that Australian children need to have access to stories that reflect our diverse culture, not just material with imported content. I remember reading “The School Magazine” as a child, including an extract of Robin Klein’s “Hating Alison Ashley”. Many great Australian authors have been promoted through this publication. It’s an institution we need to keep around!


  6. The NSW School Magazine has been incredibly important in providing publication for many beginning Australian authors and illustrators who later became well known internationally. Vital that Australian children have Australian cultural content too.


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