HSC students stuck in classes of over 50 students due to the teacher shortages

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said thousands of lessons were not being delivered each week because of a lack of teachers.

From just last week teachers reported:

  • Year 12 English classes in a Sydney high school were combined for four days in a row with classes of up to 56 students. Year 12 engineering, design and technology classes were cancelled, and only minimal supervision provided to Year 12 physics and maths classes.
  • Technology, Maths and Art classes were combined with 70 students left in the library with only minimal supervision in a country high school. At the same school, history and PE teachers were teaching woodwork due to a chronic shortage of technology teachers. More than two thirds of students missed at least one lesson on Friday due to the shortages. The school has had more than 1,200 periods affected by shortages in nine weeks of term 2.
  • Class sizes in a disadvantaged Western Sydney school were as high as 35 students. A university student taught a class unsupervised. Children who fell behind during COVID lockdowns and those who need help to learn English were denied intensive support because no replacements were available for absent specialist teachers.

Mr Gavrielatos said internal Department of Education documents showed 1,906 permanent teaching positions were vacant last month – 67 per cent higher than at the same time last year.

We have children across NSW missing out every single day because of the teacher shortages, including those in Year 12 which is the most vital year of their schooling,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

The Premier is failing children and he is failing teachers. That is why public and Catholic school teachers will be striking for 24 hours on Thursday across NSW.

What more fundamental responsibility does a government have than to ensure there is a fully qualified teacher in every classroom, every day?

This is a classroom crisis. Every week in public and non-government schools, thousands of lessons are not being delivered because of the teacher shortages.

COVID isn’t the cause. It is just making a bad situation worse. These shortages are a direct result of unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.

Seven out of 10 teachers are reconsidering their future in the profession because of the workload

The Government has known for seven years it had growing shortages of teachers in key subject areas and it failed to act. Figures released in February showed schools had been forced to merge classes or only provide minimal supervision on hundreds of occasions in 2021.

The Premier could stop teachers leaving today and make the profession more attractive by paying them a salary that reflects their skills and expertise and cutting workloads so they are not overwhelmed with red tape and administration work.

The government’s only response to this crisis is to ban principals and teachers from talking publicly about the shortages at their school and try to increase the fines for industrial action.”