Teachers and Principals rally at Industrial Relations Commission today

Teachers and principals will rally outside the NSW Industrial Relations Commission in Parramatta this morning as new figures show the number of vacant permanent teaching positions has doubled to more than 2,000.

The rally is being held at 7.30am (Eds: 10 Smith Street Parramatta), in protest at the Perrottet Government’s plans to push through the NSW IRC today a new three year award that delivers pay increases far below the rate of inflation.

NSWTF president Angelo Gavrielatos said delivering a real wage cut to teachers would only worsen the teacher shortages and make the profession less attractive in a highly competitive labour market.

A new Department of Education ministerial briefing, obtained under FOI law, reveals that 62 per cent of public schools (1,367) had at least one permanent teaching position vacant at the end of July, 17.5 per cent (390) had two or more and 2.3 per cent (50) had five or more.

That means there were more than 2,000 permanent teaching positions vacant in public schools – more than double the 995 the government said there were in June last year.

Mr Gavrielatos said the figures showed there needed to be urgent action on uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.

You can’t fix the teacher shortage problem without fixing the wages and workload problem,” he said.

The decision by the Perrottet Government to cap pay increases at 2.53% a year for three years when inflation is 6.1% and rising defies their own research that shows the uncompetitive salaries of teachers are a major reason why the number of people studying to become a teacher has plummeted.

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.

The number of early career teachers leaving public schools is also at a 13 year high.

The government’s own briefings show 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 government’s Teacher Supply Strategy has been an abject failure so far with 2 teachers recruited in a year.

Mr Perrottet thinks the answer is to cut standards and employ unqualified teachers through the failed Teach for Australia program his own education department has long opposed.