Answers to teacher shortage lie in Gallop Inquiry recommendations

If the Berejiklian Government cannot guarantee subject selection and public school teacher supply in the inner west of Sydney, how can they guarantee it in locations such as Broken Hill, Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos asked last night (13 May).

“The answer is: they cannot,” he said, addressing a special event in Broken Hill, hosted by Barrier Teachers Association.

“There is no plan and no investment from the Berejiklian Government. They have lost control of staffing and lost sight of their obligation to ensure qualified teachers are in every public school classroom in the state.”

“For too long public school teachers and principals have been called upon to do the work that is expected of them without the necessary time, resources or support they need and are entitled to,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“Furthermore, despite the increases in student complexity, despite the increases in workload and despite the heroic efforts of the profession throughout the pandemic, the Berejiklian Government has placed a value on the work of teachers through its plans to cap wage growth at just 1.5 per cent.”

Mr Gavrielatos called upon members and the community to unite behind the findings and recommendations of the Gallop inquiry, which address the problems being faced by country and city schools alike.

Visiting Broken Hill for the first time, Valuing the Teaching Profession — an independent inquiry chair Dr Geoff Gallop, told the gathering that the feelings and experiences of teachers in Broken Hill were reflected in the findings of the report.

“Teachers see the truth in our report,” he said. “From the cascade of policy changes to the avalanche of administration requirements and workload pressures, it’s all there, and it’s reinforced with me each time I address a group of teachers, regardless of where I am in NSW.”

Dr Gallop believes these factors have created a “dangerous mix” and, when combined with the forecasting of record enrolment growth, increased student complexity and teacher shortage, have created nothing short of a crisis.

“What I see here in Broken Hill is no different to what I have witnessed on the road speaking with teachers throughout this inquiry. Teacher workload, student complexity and the desperate need to address the issue of teacher shortages has been consistent factors. There is an urgent need for the government to address what can now only be described as a crisis.”

“If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, how are we supposed to then attract and retain the teachers we need.”

A 25 per cent increase in the number of teachers working in NSW public schools is required in the next decade to cater for record enrolment growth and to bring the NSW student: teacher ratio in line with the national average, the recent Impact of Enrolment Growth on Demand for Teachers: NSW Public Schools to 2031 report found.