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Teacher shortage at crisis point

31 May, 2021
Teacher shortage at crisis point Image

Meeting with the NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra and President Angelo Gavrielatos

In recent weeks we have seen teachers walk off the job across the electorate and the State. Teachers have felt they had no other option but to stop work to highlight the chronic teacher shortage in our schools. In our High Schools our kids are spending multiple periods a day without a teacher missing out on valuable learning opportunities.

In recent weeks I have met with the NSW Teachers Federation, who fear this situation is only going to get worse as we come into winter.

Sadly, the NSW Department of Education have been asleep at the wheel on this issue. It’s been 17 years since the work and salaries of teachers have been subject to systematic evaluation. Since then the work of teachers and principals has changed significantly – the administrative burden has increased and the complexity of educational policy has become greater – but salaries and conditions have stagnated. Which has meant less people are attracted to teaching as a profession and as a result fewer classroom teachers. Who suffers in all of this? Our kids.

The NSW Teachers Federation have undertaken significant work to come up with reasonable solutions to the teaching crisis, the Department of Education have so far rejected these solutions. I’m already working with my Parliamentary colleagues to force the NSW Government to address this unacceptable situation they’ve put our kids in.

The teachers we have are great and they are doing their best—we have some real standouts—but the NSW Government cannot continue to ask them to do more and more with less. Our kids deserve better and so do the people who are teaching them.

NSW Teachers Federation - Valuing the teaching profession - an independent inquiry

In early 2020 the NSW Teachers Federation commissioned an independent inquiry into the work of teachers and principals and how it has changed since 2004.

The expert panel that conducted the independent inquiry was chaired by Dr Geoff Gallop, former WA Premier and Education Minister. The other panel members were Dr Tricia Kavanagh, former Justice of the NSW Industrial Court and Deputy President of the NSW IRC and Patrick Lee, former Chief Executive of the NSW Institute of Teachers.

The panel received more than 1,000 submissions from teachers and schools. Submissions were also made by professional bodies, academics, economists and education experts. Two rounds of public hearings were held with experts and teachers.

Read the full inquiry on the NSW Teachers Federation website.

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