NSW Government must address staffing crisis with more permanent teachers

A study of public-school employment trends which found a reliance on temporary teachers was making teaching a less attractive profession, must be addressed by the NSW Government.

NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the Government must take responsibility and fully staff public schools with appropriately trained teachers.

“This staffing crisis needs urgent attention from the Berejiklian Government. Schools cannot be held responsible for finding non-existent staff.”

Mr Rajendra said instead of cutting schools adrift the NSW Government should convert staff employed with Gonski funding to permanent teaching positions. While Gonski money is recurrent funding, the Education Department discourages schools from using it to employ permanent teachers. Schools are therefore limited to employing teachers temporarily.

“Temporary, precarious employment is hardly an incentive to attract teachers to difficult-to-staff areas particularly considering temporary staff do not attract incentive benefits available to permanent staff.”

“The net effect is that schools have difficulty attracting the teachers they need, leaving much of the money unspent and a massive churn of temporary teachers seeking more secure employment elsewhere.”

“The decimation of the Education Department’s staffing unit has left school principals to find staff to fill the alarming number of teaching vacancies in our schools,” Mr Rajendra said.

“The Department no longer provides the necessary support to principals to staff schools. In many cases, permanent vacancies go unfilled forcing principals to employ temporary teachers without the necessary subject qualifications in order to cover classes as a stop-gap measure.”