Casual teacher shortage

The teacher shortage has always been most acutely felt through a scarcity in the availability of casual teacher relief. According to the Department of Education’s most recent figures, this shortage has manifested in students in almost 10,000 lessons every day being left without adequate instruction in disruptive class arrangements.

Federation members, through the More Than Thanks campaign, were able to achieve an historic salary increase at the end of 2024. However, after a decade of neglect, in which successive Coalition governments ignored their own warnings of an impending crisis, more work must be done to recruit and retain the teachers our public education system needs.

Following a first-of-its-kind survey on the impact of teacher shortages — 2023 Alternative Supervision Arrangements Survey — the Department has published further key findings, which include:

  • NSW public schools had an average casual teacher shortfall of 42 per cent per day, equating to an average gap of 3184 casual teachers each day
  • 87 per cent of all public schools reported a shortage of casual teachers
  • casual supply challenges and impacts were greatest in schools for specific purposes (SSPs), with a 68 per cent casual teacher shortfall. Primary (41 per cent) and secondary (40 per cent) schools had similar average casual shortfalls.
  • While such transparency from the Department is a positive departure from the gaslighting the profession received from the previous leadership, this data merely confirms the findings of the Gallop Inquiry, commissioned by the union, which laid bare the stark reality of the teacher shortage crisis back in 2020.

Making the profession more attractive remains a priority for the union and Federation continues to campaign for an increase in release time and reduction of teacher workload.

Most critically, this can be achieved by ensuring both levels of government fully fund our schools. With negotiations having commenced on a new bilateral schools funding agreement, we have reached a moment of reckoning for the NSW state and federal Labor governments: they must deliver on the promise to achieve the Schooling Resource Standard in NSW public schools.

This agreement will impact every teacher, student and public education community and a serious and sustained investment is the only way we can address our claim for increased release time for teachers, and the best way to reduce teacher workload.