New research shows thousands of additional teachers needed in NSW

NSW needs to recruit a minimum of 11,000 teachers by 2031 to meet record enrolment growth and the number rises to almost 14,000 if the student to teacher ratio is lowered to the national average, new research to be released today reveals.

The report by education economist Adam Rorris shows the size of the recruitment challenge posed by the expected surge in the number of students enrolled in NSW public schools.

It also reveals NSW has more students per teacher than any other state or territory in public primary and secondary schools.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said, “Even if NSW maintains student to teacher ratios at the highest level in the country an estimated 11,095 additional teachers will be required to meet enrolment growth to 2031.”

“That number rises to 13,724 if we have a student to teacher ratio that is equivalent to the national average. Teacher numbers would increase from 54,502 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) in 2020 (ABS figures) to 68,225 FTE in 2031 – an increase of 25 per cent.”

“This additional number of teachers would still be below the required numbers considering the projected rise in student needs and complexity in NSW schools.”

Mr Gavrielatos said recruiting the additional teachers will be a major challenge given there are growing shortages of teachers across NSW affecting public and private schools.

“NSW is facing a classroom crisis. The independent Gallop Inquiry was clear that the NSW Government won’t fix the shortages or recruit the additional teachers required without a significant increase in salaries.”

“While the workloads of teachers have increased every year, their salaries have fallen every year in comparison with other professions. If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need.”

“The proposed 1.5 per cent salary increase per year for the next three years is going to make the profession even less attractive – particularly given the increasingly complex and challenging work teachers do every day.”

Mr Gavrielatos said the Union commissioned the research due to concerns that the NSW Government is failing to adequately prepare for the future education of children in NSW public schools.

“Parents want to send their children to public schools because they know they will get a great education,” he said.

“But already this month we have seen a damning report from the NSW Auditor General showing there isn’t enough funding to deliver the classrooms NSW students need from 2023. Less than one quarter of the 7,200 additional teaching spaces needed by 2031 are funded.

“There is no workforce plan that sets out the number of additional teachers needed in different disciplines and different geographic areas and what steps will be taken to ensure supply matches demand.”

“The NSW Government’s vision is that our education system will be Australia’s best. But you can’t have the best education system with the worst student to teacher ratios. One of the keys to success in the classroom is being able to give each child the individual attention and support they need.

“We know how rapidly student need has been rising in NSW schools. For example, the Department of Education’s own research shows a further 50 per cent increase in students with disabilities is expected by 2027.”

National Skills Commission figures released through Senate Estimates showed an expected increase of 42,600 in the number of public and private school teachers in Australia over the five years from 2019 to 2024 – a growth rate of 10.2 per cent.

“Securing the teachers we need is going to be a major challenge and NSW needs to make sure that salaries and workloads are at the levels that will make the profession attractive to high achieving young people,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“The Gallop Inquiry findings make it clear that an urgent reset in teachers’ pay and conditions is required to attract and retain the number of teachers required to ensure every child is taught by a qualified teacher.”

“It recommended more time for teachers to evaluate and plan, greater support for the work expected of them and an increase in teachers’ and principals’ salaries of 10-15% over the next two years to catch up to the pay of other like professions.”

“Investing in the profession will pay off for kids across NSW – now and in the future.”

Media contact: John Hill 0412 197 079