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Principals and teachers strike over shortages
Principals and teachers from government and Catholic schools in NSW are striking today over the worsening teacher shortages which are affecting the education of children across the state.
Members of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union NSW/ACT branch are rallying in Macquarie Street and in country venues and the ACT in what is the first joint action since 1996.
The strike comes as new government figures show the teacher shortages have forced schools to merge classes or provide only minimal supervision on hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of occasions this year.
- At Mudgee High, students have been provided with only minimal supervision or placed in merged classes almost 2,000 times since the start of the year.
- At Canobolas Rural Technology High School in Orange, students have been provided with only minimal supervision or placed in merged classes more than 1,500 times.
- At Dubbo College’s Delroy campus, students have been provided with only minimal supervision or placed in merged classes more than 2,000 times since the start of 2021.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the government was refusing to negotiate over the unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries of teachers that were causing the crippling teacher shortages.
“This is a classroom crisis,” he said.
“Thousands of classes are uncovered across the state because of a lack of teachers.
“The Premier is failing teachers and he is failing students.
“The Premier’s three per cent salary cap is a take it or leave it proposition that is far below inflation. He is ignoring the evidence that current salary levels are turning people off teaching and a significant increase is urgently required.
“If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need.
“Teachers are working 60 hours a week and the government has offered nothing to reduce that workload. In fact, they say they don’t even know how many hours teachers work. 70 per cent of teachers are reconsidering their future in the profession due to the workload.
Mr Gavrielatos said the crippling teacher shortages were robbing children of the opportunity to learn. Government figures show 1,906 permanent teacher positions were vacant last month – 67% higher than at the same time last year.
The strike comes as new evidence shows the government’s $125m Teacher Supply Strategy has failed to deliver any new teachers in eight months. The one teacher employed under the international STEM program resigned within a month.
“We need to find at least 15,000 new teachers over the next decade for public and private schools and this government can’t even deliver one from its $125 million strategy,” he said.
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