We aren’t giving up and we aren’t going away

As part of our campaign, Fed Reps in recent weeks have been sending emails to their local MPs about the teacher shortages and the debilitating impacts they are having in schools.

Reflecting how big a problem the shortages are, the emails have been sent from schools in every part of the state.

They aren’t easy to read.

The profound human cost of the shortages are made clear to the MPs: the HSC students left alone or in a class of 60, the struggling students stuck in split classes and the collapsed programs leaving vulnerable and at-risk students without support.

The impacts on teachers are also laid bare. Higher workloads, more stress, a lack of preparation time and feelings of overwhelming guilt for taking a sick day. As one secondary teacher told her local MP: We are burning out at a rapid rate.

This is the reality of teacher shortages. Kids miss out and teachers burn out.

So have these emails had an impact? Some MPs have expressed their concerns in response but it hasn’t changed the direction of the Government.

The intransigence of the Premier and his ministers is at the heart of our problem. They are not interested in evidence. They are not interested in the truth.

Their $125 million Teacher Supply Strategy hasn’t delivered a single classroom teacher in 11 months. Their workload reduction plan didn’t save you a single hour in 2021.

Sixty per cent of teachers recently said in a parliamentary committee survey they want to leave teaching in the next five years. The Government said nothing in response.

All they want to do is ram through the Industrial Relations Commission on 12 October an Award that will guarantee over the next three years you are paid at a rate that doesn’t reflect your skills and expertise and won’t even go close to covering the rising cost of living.

Workloads won’t even get a mention.

The Premier is now on notice

We know a failure to act on unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries means more teachers will leave and fewer people will join the profession.

Following a decision of Federation Council, we wrote a joint letter to the Premier, with the Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, calling on him to abandon attempts to get the IRC to rubberstamp a new award on 12 October.

Instead, we asked for a genuine commitment to negotiation something we have never had.

If the Premier does not respond positively, Federation Executive will meet on the last day of the holidays, Friday, 7 October, to determine our next move.

We cannot and will not let them walk into the IRC on 12 October and try and wash their hands of these issues without a proportionate response that conveys our anger, our unity, and our determination to bring about real change to workloads and salaries.

The kind of response that makes clear we aren’t backing down, we aren’t giving up and we aren’t going away.

While we will continue to make every effort to make the Premier see the light, you should mark 12 October in your calendar just in case.

You deserve More than Thanks. We won’t stop until you get it.