Teachers at Wingham and Port Macquarie walk out over school staffing crisis

NSW Teachers Federation members at Wingham Public School and Port Macquarie’s Westport Public School walked off the job today over the NSW Government’s failure to properly staff their schools and other public schools in rural and remote parts of the state.

NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said staff at both Mid North Coast schools are concerned about the impact the staffing crisis is having on teaching and learning.

“Teachers at Wingham Public School are concerned about the shortage of casual staff to cover for colleagues on leave at their own school and many others across the state. They are also being forced to cope with students in need without access to a school counsellor.”

“At Wingham this has meant that when no casuals are available, classes without a teacher for the day are being split up and sent to other classrooms.”

“Staff at Westport Public School have been forced to take additional students into their classrooms when casual teachers are unavailable. And of even greater concern, the school’s Learning and Support teacher has not been able to do their job as they have been covering classes which don’t have a teacher.”

Mr Rajendra said every child has the right to a quality public education and every class across the state should have an appropriately qualified teacher.

“Failure to properly staff schools across the state is impacting on curriculum delivery and presenting unacceptable work, health and safety issues for staff.”

Mr Rajendra said over the past decade the NSW Government and Education Department have weakened previously successful processes that ensured adequate staffing of all schools across the state.

“The recent Gallop Report showed that the recruitment and retention of teachers will require a significant increase in salaries.”