The extent of the teacher shortage crisis has been revealed in new government figures showing there were 3,311 vacant permanent teaching positions in public schools in November last year.
An internal government report shows two thirds of schools (1,423) had vacant permanent positions, one third (733) had two to five vacancies, 76 had 6-10 vacancies and 7 schools had 11-15 positions vacant.
The report also reveals vacancies in 2022 were far higher than in any year dating back to when the Coalition won office in 2011, with schools in every part of NSW affected.
NSW Teachers Federation deputy president Henry Rajendra said the number of vacant positions was more than triple the 995 the government announced in 2021 when it unveiled its $125m Teacher Supply Strategy.
“These figures illustrate the extent of the crisis in our schools,” Mr Rajendra said.
“Teacher shortages mean children miss out and teachers burn out.
“The Perrottet government is failing in its most basic responsibility in education which is to ensure that every child is taught by a qualified teacher in every lesson, every day.
“Over 90 per cent of teachers say shortages have led to collapsed or merged classes in the last two years.
“Mr Perrottet’s Teacher Supply Strategy has been a hopeless failure with three teachers recruited from overseas in a year.
“It is only by addressing the real causes of the teacher shortages – unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries – that we can recruit and retain the teachers we need.
“Less than one in 10 NSW teachers said their workload was manageable last year, according to Monash University research.
“The government’s own briefings show NSW is “facing a large and growing shortage of teachers” and there are 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.”