Government plan to end crisis hasn’t hired one new teacher

A recent poll of Federation members makes clear the impact a lack of casual teachers is having on the crisis facing NSW public schools.

The poll of more than 10,000 members conducted during term 1 revealed 82 per cent believed teacher shortages were leading to higher workloads in their school.

A staggering 98 per cent of respondents reported having difficulty recruiting enough casuals to their school.

The polling further revealed the true eff ect of teacher shortages in schools: teachers simply not replaced; higher workloads; and classes split or merged leaving students under minimal supervision, away from normal classroom learning. As recently reported in the media, teachers have been left with up to 94 students to supervise, a far cry from class-size stipulations in the Staffing Agreement.

The Government says there is no teacher shortage, yet all the evidence shows the current shortage is having a devastating impact on students and teachers. Warnings about the problems date back to 2015.

It was revealed in Parliament recently that due to teacher shortages, one high school in south-western NSW had to merge classes 313 times in 2021 and provide minimal supervision on 536 occasions.

On the floor of Parliament, the Minister claimed that permanent positions are available for teachers and that those employed in temporary or casual roles are there by choice; a staggering comment to make when temporary teacher numbers have increased 70 per cent under this State Government.

Federation is aware that many casual and temporary members are seeking permanent employment, yet the Government’s $125 million teacher supply strategy hasn’t led to a single new teacher being employed in a public school in the six months since it was announced.

Adding insecure employment to excessive workloads and uncompetitive salaries has been a constant for teachers across all employment categories under this Government.

Indeed, the Australian Teacher Workforce Data Report revealed full-time teachers in schools spent 1.5 times more hours on non-teaching tasks than on face-to-face teaching across primary and secondary levels.

There is a worsening crisis in our classrooms due to teacher shortages. Kids are missing out and teachers are being pushed to breaking point.

Kids can’t put their education on hold and hope someone shows up in three years.

They need urgent action.

In the words of Professor Linda Darling Hammond, California State Board of Education President: If you don’t have a strong supply of well-prepared teachers, nothing else in education can work.”