- News & Events
- My Work
- My Interests
Salaries, Staffing and Security campaign
Salaries, Staffing and Security
Teachers across New South Wales remain deeply concerned that the salaries, staffing and security of the teaching profession are under threat and that the state government is retreating from its responsibility to ensure that every child in every public school community is taught by a qualified teacher.
The Federation has sent a letter to all members of the New South Wales Parliament detailing the need for:
professional salaries that will help attract and retain the next generation of teachers;
a Staffing Agreement that maintains a teacher transfer system to guarantee there is a qualified teacher in every classroom across the state; and
security of employment that will provide certainty for teachers and their public school and college communities.
Members of Parliament need to answer the following questions:
1. What is your plan to attract and retain the next generation of teachers, recognising that half the profession will reach retirement age in the next four years?
The 2.5% salary increase fails to match inflation and will represent a cut to the real incomes of teachers.
2. Will you make a commitment to supporting the call of teachers for a new state wide Staffing Agreement?
The Staffing Agreement must maintain a transfer system to guarantee there will be a qualified teacher in every classroom, in every community across New South Wales.
3. What are you prepared to do to provide security of employment, and thereby, much needed certainty for teachers and their public school communities?
Recent and newly proposed Industrial Relations changes are undermining the security of employment for not only teachers, but also other public sector workers.
Attracting and retaining teachers now and in the future
Attracting and retaining a quality teacher workforce is an important challenge in a period when the NSW Auditor-General reported (February 2008) that half the NSW public school full-time teacher workforce of 50,000 will reach retirement age by 2016.
New NSW industrial relations legislation requires cuts to teacher working conditions and student learning conditions to achieve salaries increases above 2.5% per annum, a problem compounded by the Department of Education and Communities’ refusal to negotiate in good faith during the summer vacation period. The DEC repeatedly refused to identify any substantial employee related savings in the seven most recent negotiation meetings between the parties.
This situation denies teachers a pay increase that would at least keep pace with the cost of living, undermines the DEC’s capacity to recruit and retain qualified teachers and, as a consequence, directly threatens the quality of public education delivered in NSW public schools, TAFE colleges, Corrective Services and other workplaces.
Staffing our public schools for every child
A state wide staffing system with incentive and service transfers is fundamental to attracting teachers away from the preferred, more favoured locations along the eastern seaboard to harder to staff schools further west, thus ensuring that every classroom across the state is staffed with a qualified teacher.
In addition to providing a curriculum guarantee to students, a staffing system provides employment security for teachers in two ways. Firstly, when local demographics change and student numbers at a school decrease, the staffing system relocates displaced teachers as permanent employees to where they are needed. Secondly, a system of incentive and service transfers gives teachers the confidence to work in difficult to staff areas or another location they might not normally choose, with the knowledge that they will be supported to pursue other professional opportunities elsewhere later in their career.
One third of all NSW public schools are deemed harder to staff by the Department through the allocation of extra transfer points. Usually one year of service equates with one transfer point. In harder to staff schools, teachers may accrue 2 to 8 transfer points for each year of service, depending on the remoteness of the location. For example, each year of service at Lightning Ridge Central School or Goodooga Central School in the state’s far north-west is credited 8 points. Each year at Lismore High School or Gordon East Public School in Sydney is credited 1 point.
Without a state wide staffing system, schools in favoured locations will be winners; others in remote or disadvantaged areas will be losers. This is neither equitable nor fair to students and their families and communities.
A secure future for teachers and their school communities
The dual challenges of renewing the teaching profession and ensuring that every child in every classroom has access to a qualified teacher create uncertainty and insecurity for teachers and their school communities.
This growing insecurity has been worsened by legislative changes last year and newly proposed industrial relations changes that not only deprive teachers and other public sector workers of fundamental industrial rights, but also attack their capacity to act collectively in the interests of their profession, their students and public education.
Recently proposed NSW legislative changes threaten the job security of teachers by supporting the notion that teachers may be made redundant when student numbers in a school decrease, rather than being moved as permanent employees to where they are needed in another public school community. The security of employment provided by permanency is a vital incentive to attract and retain teachers in NSW public education.