Perrottet plan to cut teaching qualifications rejected by expert panel

An expert panel chaired by former NSW Department of Education secretary Mark Scott has rejected the NSW plan for a one-year postgraduate teaching qualification saying it is not “academically and professionally proportionate with the complexity and status of teaching.”

The Teacher Expert Education Panel report also warns that “financial barriers are the most significant barrier to entry for mid-career cohorts” including “the pay cut commonly incurred when switching to teaching”.

The report is explicit about the need for a postgraduate degree of longer than a year saying: “The panel does not see a case for returning to a one-year Graduate Diploma of Education as a way of shortening the time spent out of the workforce, as it is not academically and professionally proportionate with the complexity and status of teaching.”

NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the panel’s rejection of a one-year post-graduate qualification, which is what the NSW Government is proposing, showed that watering down qualifications was not the answer to the state’s acute teacher shortages.

“There is a shortage of doctors but nobody is talking about cutting their qualifications,” he said.

“Teaching has never been a more complex and challenging profession and we need the best graduates with all the skills and knowledge required to deal with the complexity and diversity of modern classrooms.

“This report recognises we need more students with higher ATARs as well, rather than the race to the bottom that the NSW Government is encouraging.

“Cutting qualifications and bringing in untrained teachers into NSW classrooms, as Mr Perrottet plans to do, would be an unmitigated disaster for NSW. It won’t fix the teacher shortage because the retention rates of these teachers are far worse than fully trained teachers.

“To make teaching more attractive and stop the shortages we need to address unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries.

“In NSW we have two-thirds of teachers saying they are burnt out and 60 per cent looking to leave in the next five years.”

“A recent report by researchers at Sydney University found an urgent need to significantly increase the salaries of teachers saying that because of the state’s wages cap, teachers were earning after inflation the same salary as they did a decade ago.”