NSW schools will need 11,000 teachers as enrolments soar

NSW must recruit 11,000 teachers just to meet the record number of public school enrolments predicted over the next decade, a new report has found.

Further, the teacher shortfall rises to almost 14,000 by 2031 if the student to teacher ratio in NSW which is the highest in the country was set to the lower national average.

The report, Projected demand for teachers to 2031, confirms that over the past 10 years NSW has under-resourced its public schools in terms of teacher numbers when compared with the national average.

Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said that even if NSW maintains its present ratio of 14.4 students for every teacher, an estimated 11,095 additional teachers will be required to keep pace with enrolment growth by 2031. That number rises to 13,724 if the national average ratio of 14.0:1 is applied to the projected NSW student population.

The current policy settings will not secure the necessary number of teachers to ensure that all of our schools are properly staffed, Mr Gavrielatos said. The current policy settings are failing teachers and students and are already contributing to teacher shortagesright across the state.

Earlier this year, the Gallop Inquiry into the value of the teaching profession delivered its findings and recommendations. It found that unless there is a policy reset a reset that better values the work of teachers and principals we will not be able to attract and retain teachers in the numbers required.

It found that our teachers and principals require a lot more time and support to do the job that’s expected of them and a competitive professional salary to attract and retain teachers.

The Department of Education projects total public school enrolments in NSW will reach almost 950,000 students by 2031, up from the 810,000 students in public schools in 2020.

Projected demand for teachers to 2031 by education economist Adam Rorris was commissioned by Federation due to concerns that the NSW Government is failing to adequately prepare for the future education of children in NSW public schools.

Mr Gavrielatos said the Gallop Inquiry made it clear 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,” he said. 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 pointed to a damning report from the NSW AuditorGeneral showing there isn’t enough funding to deliver the classrooms NSW students need from 2023, and that less than one quarter of the 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,” he said.