NSW Labor commits to action on the causes of teacher shortage

The NSW Teachers Federation today welcomed the commitment by NSW Labor to take action on the causes of growing teacher shortages – uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.

NSWTF president Angelo Gavrielatos said Labor had listened to teachers and principals about the devastating impact of the teacher shortages and what was required to fix them.

There is nothing more important in education than ensuring every child is taught by a qualified teacher every day, in every lesson, Mr Gavrielatos said.

Right now we have a crisis in our classrooms. Kids are missing out in public and private schools because of the shortages and teachers are burning out. Sixty per cent of teachers want to leave in the next five years because of the crippling workload and uncompetitive salaries than don’t reflect their efforts or responsibilities.

Privately the government admits NSW is facing a large and growing shortage of teachers and the situation is only going to get worse with rising enrolments, an ageing workforce and 30 per cent decline in the number of people studying to become a teacher.

The question every parent and teacher will want answered in March is this: which party is going to stop the teacher shortages and secure the teachers we need for the future.

The bottom line is you can’t fix the shortages problem without fixing the workload and wages problem.

Labor’s commitment to scrap the salary cap and engage in genuine negotiations to lift salaries and reduce workloads shows a recognition of the true causes of the teacher shortages and what is needed to stop them. It is about tailoring a solution for teachers, not a one-size-fits-all salary cap.

The Perrottet Government last week admitted teachers’ salaries were uncompetitive but next week it wants to lock in a real wage cut for all teachers in the Industrial Relations Commission. Its plan to lift the salary of a handful of teachers is so half-baked it can’t say who would get more or how much they would be paid. The Premier calls it performance pay but the Minister says it isn’t.

The best it can do on crippling workloads contributing to the exodus of teachers is meaningless targets when teachers are working 55 to 60 hours a week and the Minister admits they are drowning in paperwork.

The consequences of failing to act on unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries are that the Perrottet Government has recruited two teachers in a year under its ‘supply strategy’ and is getting so desperate it wants to cut standards and bring unqualified teachers into the classroom.