Staffing crisis sparks teacher walkout at Toormina High School

NSW Teachers Federation members at Toormina High School near Sawtell on the Mid North Coast have walked out over the impact the state-wide staffing crisis is having on their school.

NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Henry Rajendra said teachers at Toormina High are concerned about the delivery of teaching and learning programs at their school.

“Toormina High School has been unable to cover classes for absent colleagues for 40 days this year because no casual teachers were available,” Mr Rajendra said.

“That amounts to 40 days of lost or negatively impacted curriculum delivery, through no fault of the school. This is the result of the NSW Government abrogating its staffing responsibility as the provider of public education in NSW.”

“Teachers at Toormina High have called on the Education Department to immediately appoint five extra, centrally funded permanent teachers to overcome the shortage of casual teachers.”

Mr Rajendra said teachers at Toormina were also calling for the NSW Government to abandon the public sector wages cap in order to implement the findings of the independent Gallop Inquiry which recommended salary increases of between 10 and 15 per cent in order to recognise the increase in teachers’ skills and responsibilities.

“Without significant increases in salaries it will be difficult to recruit and retain teachers to overcome current shortages and cope with projected growth in enrolments in public schools,” Mr Rajendra said.

“Over the past decade, the NSW Government and the Education Department have weakened previously successful processes that ensured adequate staffing of all schools across the state.”

“The Education Department has known of the dire teacher shortage for some time but failed to address the problem. It is grossly unfair for students, and in many cases, those with the most complex learning needs.”