Media release: Valuing the teaching profession – an independent inquiry

The NSW Teachers Federation will make the case for change in the salaries and working conditions of teachers and principals on the first day of hearings of an independent inquiry in Sydney today.

The inquiry, chaired by former WA Premier, Geoff Gallop, is the first in over 15 years to investigate the changed nature and value of teachers’ work.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the last 15 years were a period of unprecedented change that had fundamentally altered the work teachers and principals do and the responsibilities they have.

“Teaching is a far more challenging and demanding profession now,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“Students come from more diverse backgrounds and have more complex needs. Teachers have been required to develop far greater levels of knowledge and expertise to identify and meet those needs.

“Teachers have had to deal with constant changes in curriculum, including the implementation of the Australian curriculum and revisions to the NSW curriculum.

“Schools also have far greater responsibility now for the social and emotional development of children, their safety and physical and mental health.

“Previously unimaginable changes in technology have also altered the curriculum and the way teachers teach and students learn. We saw teachers respond magnificently earlier in the year with the full shift to online learning because of COVID 19.

“Regressive government policies that have devolved additional responsibility to schools were accompanied by the withdrawal of expert support for schools across areas such as curriculum, behaviour management, teaching and learning strategies, program development, assessment and reporting.

“In its place came a huge increase in the management, administration, data collection and compliance obligations of teachers and principals. Instead of giving more time for principals and teachers to concentrate on teaching and learning they have far less. Research conducted by the University of Sydney in 2018 showed teachers work 55 hours a week on average and are drowning in paperwork.

“At the same time as all this change the profession have had wage increases capped at 2.5% a year since 2011 and the NSW Government is now seeking to impose a wage freeze on teachers and public sector workers.

“It is not a question of whether teachers need more time to focus on teaching and learning, we know they do.

“It is not a question of whether salaries have kept pace, we know they haven’t.

“What needs to be determined is how teachers and principals can be better supported and how much is required to restore a competitive salary that reflects their value and expertise and will help attract high achievers to the profession.”


The NSW Teachers Federation commissioned the independent inquiry, Valuing the Teaching Profession – An independent inquiry, earlier this year.

The inquiry will hear from a range of experts over the next two weeks.

Proceedings start at 10am today. Mr Gavrielatos will give evidence at noon.

The proceedings will also be live-streamed via the Inquiry website

Where: Heritage Room When: from 10am Monday 31 August
Federation House
22-33 Mary St Surry Hills

Click here for a full list of witnesses.