The Perrottet plan: cut qualifications, bring in unqualified teachers

The Perrottet Government’s plan to cut qualifications and bring in unqualified teachers won’t fix the teacher shortages or improve the quality of education delivered in NSW public schools.

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said today’s announcement of a cut from two years to one year for postgraduate degrees was the latest in a succession of damaging and inconsistent policies that ignore the real causes of teacher shortages.

“The way to stop teacher shortages and creating a sustainable supply of teachers is to address the fundamental problems which are turning people off teaching – unsustainable workloads, uncompetitive salaries and insecure work,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“There were 3,300 vacant permanent positions in schools in November and this is a crisis the government is incapable of fixing.

“The Federal Government’s Quality Initial Teacher Education Review found that substantially increasing the pay of beginning and senior teachers was the number one way to get more mid career people into teaching and was far more attractive than a condensed one year qualification. (see page 17).

The NSW government’s own research shows uncompetitive pay is turning people off the profession.

“Unsustainable workloads must also be addressed. We have two thirds of teachers saying they are burnt out and 60 per cent looking to leave in the next five years.

“Under the Coalition the number of temporary teachers increased by 83 per cent between 2011 and 2021.

“After a decade of saying the most important factor in education is the quality of teaching, this government now thinks lowering standards and cutting qualifications is the way to stop teacher shortages.

Last year the government said teachers were leaving university without sufficient skills and knowledge and proposed additional units be added to ITE courses to better prepare graduating teachers.

It is now saying graduating teachers need less preparation.

“Teaching has never been a more challenging profession. People entering the profession need high levels of skills and training to meet the complex needs of their students and that is why all governments agreed to shift to a two year postgraduate qualification.

“Instead of recognising the difficulty and complexity of teaching, Mr Perrottet announced unqualified teachers will be brought in via Teach for Australia and now he wants to cut the qualifications for new postgraduate students.

“This is at the same time the government is spending millions on a mid career entry program that
requires participants to complete a two year masters before they enter the classroom.

International research shows that underqualified teachers have far higher attrition rates than those
that enter through traditional pathways. We know that more than half of TFA graduates are gone
within three years of completing the program.”