Staffing Crisis Sparks Walkout At Hunter Schools

Teachers Federation members at two Hunter schools walked off the job over a number of issues, including the impact the state-wide shortage of teachers is having on all NSW public schools.

NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the union’s members continue to be fed up with the lack of action and planning that has led to teacher shortages across the state.

“The NSW Government has no plan to recruit the teachers NSW needs.”

Mr Rajendra said teachers at Vacy Public School took action over the impact the teacher shortage is having on their school. The shortage of casual teachers has meant when a teacher is absent on leave, classes are collapsed and the workloads of their colleagues increase. Teachers are also angry that the NSW Government has failed to lift their salaries to attract and retain teachers.

Teachers Federation members at Mount Pleasant Public School also walked off the job today demanding the Department of Education negotiate a new Award and not attempt to impose the 2.5% salary cap.

“The NSW Government has responded to warnings that the state could run out of teachers within five years by issuing a glossy brochure that recycles failed initiatives and ignores its own Department’s advice that uncompetitive wages are turning smart young people off teaching,” Mr Rajendra said.

“Teachers have had enough of the hollow promises that the Education Department will reduce their increasing workloads and address the staffing crisis in our schools,” he said.

Mr Rajendra said as it stands today, classes across the state are being combined, students are provided with only minimal supervision and teachers are teaching outside their area of expertise in hundreds of schools across NSW due to already existing teacher shortages.

“Teachers have been waiting 10 years for a comprehensive workforce plan that shows how the shortages will be fixed, how many teachers we need and how the government will end the unacceptable situation where 1,000 permanent positions are vacant and 15% of teachers are teaching outside their area of expertise.”

Investing in teachers through higher salaries has been shown in national and international research to improve the attraction and retention of teachers and draw into the profession people with higher levels of academic attainment.

“What is required right now is an urgent increase in teachers’ salaries and their preparation time. That will have a real impact on the attractiveness of the profession and the education children receive.”