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Federal Education Report confirms uncompetitive salaries equals teacher shortages
The NSW Teachers Federation has welcomed the release of the Federal Government’s Quality Initial Teacher Education (QITE) Review, which has identified higher wages and less red tape as the keys to attracting more people to the teaching profession.
The Review found that high workloads and low salaries are “reducing the attractiveness of the [teaching] profession and are significant deterrents for young high achievers and mid-career people”.
NSW Teachers Federation Angelo Gavrielatos said the Review confirms what the union and the NSW Government already know - that the two of the biggest factors leading to teacher shortages are uncompetitive wages and unsustainable workloads.
“If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers that we need. The findings of this Review closely align with previous secret NSW Government research that shows unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries are turning people away from teaching.
“Blinding people to the realities of teaching through slick Government PR campaigns is not the answer to growing shortages. That can only be achieved by tackling the real problems: workloads are too high, and salaries are too low.”
The Review goes on to state that compliance requirements for teachers were “too much”, that paperwork takes up a significant amount of time, and that teachers should be able to focus more on teaching.
According to Review, “the profession will be more attractive to new candidates if the burden of red tape is removed from teachers’ workloads”.
A survey run by the Review found that higher pay is the number one change that would get more high achievers and mid-career professionals into teaching. While concerns over workloads, earning potential and lack of career progression options, emerged as major barriers to people choosing teaching as a profession.
Mr Gavrielatos said the NSW Government has consistently refused to act on unsustainable workloads and teacher shortages.
“We have been waiting 10 years for a 10-year workforce plan from this Government and they have produced nothing that reflects the scale of the crisis we are facing, or the solutions required.
“Last year, hundreds of pages of secret Departmental documents were exposed that talked about teacher shortages and the causes of the shortages. These confidential reports predicted that by 2025, teacher shortages would be in excess of 2425 vacancies.”
Last weekend, the NSW Teachers Federation State Council resolved to defer further industrial action until 19 March to give the Premier and the NSW Government an opportunity resolve the matters regarding teachers’ salaries and workloads.
“That the Government is pursuing a new Award that seeks to impose a 2.04 per cent salary cap with no change to the crippling working conditions experienced by the profession for a three-year period is contemptuous. At a time when inflation is running at 3.5 per cent and predicted to grow, this would constitute a cut to teachers’ real income and status of the profession,” said Mr Gavrielatos.
“Maintaining a wages cap in the face of a dramatic decrease in the attractiveness of the profession at a time when we need to recruit thousands more teachers is a recipe for disaster.
“The only way to stop the shortages and recruit the teachers we need is to invest in teachers through more competitive salaries and manageable workloads,” he said.
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