Bad news for the teaching profession on World Teachers Day

The Perrottet Government has been caught out undermining its own entry standards to the teaching profession as part of its failing approach to tackling growing teacher shortages.

Former Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced in 2018 that only graduates who achieved a minimum credit grade point average in their teaching degree would be employed in NSW public schools. Those completing their degrees this year are the first the standard applies to.

But in response to a Question on Notice, the Education Minister now says the standard will only apply to those employed as permanent teachers. The government’s own research show only 22 per cent of new teachers are given permanent jobs, with the rest employed in insecure temporary or casual positions.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the move came weeks after Premier Dominic Perrottet announced unqualified teachers would be employed in public schools from 2024.

“While we are celebrating the extraordinary work teachers do today on World Teachers Day, sadly we have a government determined to undermine and remove entry standards for the profession,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

If this is not stopped we will have the untenable situation where only a minority of new teachers are required to meet the government’s entry standard and there will be no standard for participants in the Teach for Australia scheme who won’t need a teaching qualification before they start teaching.

Teaching is harder than ever but Mr Perrottet wants to make it easier than ever to join the profession. That is the wrong approach to tackling growing shortages which are caused by unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.

Parliamentary research shows an extraordinary 60 per cent of teachers are planning to leave in the next five years because of their workload. Monash University research shows fewer than one in ten NSW teachers find their workload manageable. The number of permanent teachers leaving in the first five years of their career is at a 13 year high.

Every year workloads have risen and every year teachers’ salaries have fallen compared to other professions. Mr Perrottet wants to make the salaries of teachers even less competitive by paying them a 2.53 per cent increase a year at a time when the cost of living is rising by 7.3 per cent a year.

The Department of Education repeatedly warned the government about using the Teach for Australia program to bring in unqualified teachers, saying it undermined the teaching profession, was expensive, unworkable and the retention rates were poor.

This is another captain’s pick from a Premier who is failing teachers and failing students.

The whole approach of this government to the teacher shortages is failing. The number of vacant permanent positions has more than doubled in a year and almost two thirds of schools have an unfilled position. Only two teachers have been recruited in a year under the signature initiative of the $125 million Teacher Supply Strategy.”