Vacant teaching positions soar to almost 3000 in NSW

New figures showing the number of vacant permanent teaching positions in NSW public schools has soared to almost 3,000 are a direct result of the failure of the Perrottet Government to address the causes of the teacher shortages.

The government data shows there were 2,963.4 FTE vacant positions at the end of October, representing a vacancy rate of 1 in 15 in a permanent teaching workforce of just over 44,000 FTE.

In addition, there were 70.7 counselling positions vacant last month, exacerbating the impact of a chronic shortage in schools.

NSWTF president Angelo Gavrielatos said the number of vacant teaching positions was almost triple the 995 the NSW Government said there were in June last year.

“This is a classroom crisis,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“These numbers reflect the utter failure of the Perrottet Government to address the real causes of the teacher shortages which are unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.

“The Perrottet Government’s Teacher Supply Strategy has been an expensive failure, with the only initiative designed to bring in classroom-ready teachers from interstate and overseas delivering three in a year.

“Children are missing out every day in public and private schools due to the shortages. We have two thirds of teachers saying they are burnt out and 60 per cent looking to leave in the next five years.

“Less than one in five teachers say they have the time to do their job properly

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

“The decision by the Perrottet Government to cap pay increases at 2.53% a year when inflation is 7.3% 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.”

Mr Gavrielatos said the shortage of counsellors was affecting children across NSW.

“In 2018 the government said it supported a ratio of 1 to counsellor to 500 students, yet there is still 650 students for every counsellor and not all those positions are filled due to shortages,” he said.

“This is totally inadequate given the unprecedented increase we are seeing in the number of students with mental health needs.

“Our school counsellors are dedicated, committed professionals doing all they can to meet the increasingly complex needs of our students. Their case load is totally unrealistic, unmanageable and unacceptable.”