Staffing crisis hits North Coast small school

Members at Bungwahl Public School, a small school near Forster on the North Coast, have walked out over the state-wide staffing crisis that has hit their school just as hard as other larger schools.

They stopped work today over the staffing crisis that has prevented them from taking sick or long service leave because of the difficulty of securing casual teachers to fill in.

NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said small schools had fewer options when it came to overcoming staffing issues than larger schools and Bungwahl had been hit hard.

“It is impossible for a staff member at a small school to be away for even a day without a casual relief teacher being available to step in,” Mr Rajendra said.

“The staff at Bungwahl know the impact of this staffing crisis because it has prevented them leaving the school to undertake professional learning courses let alone take a sick day because the impact on students and the other teacher is too great.”

“Knowing the impact of the staffing crisis first-hand, the teachers have walked out because the Education Department has left them to fend for themselves when it comes to staffing.”

“Their stand in defence of public education is strong, courageous and unwavering and they deserve more support from the NSW Government which should be living up to its responsibility to provide adequate staffing to allow all our schools to operate without affecting delivery of the curriculum.”

“This is unfair to students, unfair to the teachers and unfair to parents.”

“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,” Mr Rajendra said.

“The Gallop inquiry into the work of teachers found earlier this year that uncompetitive salaries for teachers and unsustainable workloads are leading to teacher shortages.”

“The workloads of teachers have increased every year, but their salaries have fallen every year compared to other professions.”

“You can’t fix the shortages without fixing the wages and workload problem.”

“If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need.”