The NSW Government’s failure to address the state-wide school staffing crisis continues into term 3 with teachers at Karabar High School becoming the 73rd to walk off the job this year.
Members at the Queanbeyen high school took action on Friday, 13 August, in frustration at the shortage of casual teachers, the school’s unfilled vacancies and the consequent increases in workload.
Deputy President Henry Rajendra said teachers are demanding urgent action to address the teacher shortage at their school.
“Students are missing out on classes with an appropriately trained teacher or placed under minimal supervision,” Mr Rajendra said.
“Our members say they are overwhelmed with requests to teach extra periods to cover for absent colleagues, affecting their capacity to prepare for classes and deliver quality teaching and learning.”
Karabar High School has several unfilled vacancies that include maths and science positions. “Students and teachers at Karabar High deserve better,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Gallop Inquiry into the work of teachers found 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 with other professions,” he said.
“You can’t fix the shortages without fixing the wages and workload problem.
“The teacher shortage is affecting large and small schools across the state and the NSW Government needs to act quickly to address this problem.
“Our members are also concerned about the inadequacy of incentives for teachers to transfer into regional areas to take up teaching or alleviate local shortages.”
The walk-out tally this term also includes actions at Connected Communities schoolsa strategy, touted by the Government to be the central planks of its Aboriginal education solution.
Mr Rajendra said the Department’s own figures show 60 unfilled permanent teacher and executive vacancies across the 16 Connected Communities schools in NSW.
Further, the total number of actions this year swells to 77 with the addition of walk-outs by members at Uralla Central School over unflued heaters in classrooms and Nambucca High School teachers protesting the Government’s proposed replacement of the suspension and expulsion policy and procedures that will diminish the authority of schools to manage unacceptable behaviour putting the wellbeing of staff and students at greater risk.
“The staffing of schools is the responsibility of the NSW Government and its Education Department,” he said. “They have failed Karabar High and many like it.
“If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need.”