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Multicultural Matters

September 29, 2019

Cap on EAL/D teachers needs to go

Federation members are demanding 200 extra qualified, full-time equivalent permanent English as an additional language or dialect (EAL/D) teachers in the 2020 staffing entitlement, to adequately match the needs of EAL/D students across the state.

The number of students requiring EAL/D support has grown by more than 50,000 in the past five years. One in five public school students have been assessed as requiring EAL/D support (1 in 4 students in primary schools). Future growth is expected to follow this trend. Yet, the statewide EAL/D teacher staffing entitlement remains capped at 896 full-time equivalent (FTE) positions — having risen by just 20 positions since 1983.

Growth in student numbers and need of this magnitude in any other area of public schooling would have certainly seen an increase in the permanent appointment of qualified teachers. It is unconscionable that an increase of 50,000 EAL/D students in the past five years alone has failed to result in one additional permanent teacher being appointed to the system and included in the staffing entitlement. This is tantamount to institutional racism.

It is not acceptable.

Federation members, alongside school communities and multicultural stakeholders are campaigning to secure the 200 extra, FTE permanent EAL/D teachers as part of the staffing entitlement, and intend to use all political and industrial means necessary to achieve it. Federation’s September Council meeting passed a unanimous resolution supporting this position.

Funding for the permanent positions can be accommodated within the existing budget — using funding provided by the English language proficiency loading.

The flexible funding component of the English language proficiency loading allocated to schools has more than doubled since 2015, to 28 per cent, while the percentage allocated to the staffing entitlement has decreased from 86.5 per cent to 72 per cent.

The flexibility afforded to schools by the Local Schools, Local Decisions policy has been at the expense of EAL/D students. Sadly, Federation is aware of multiple examples of schools not utilising the English language proficiency funds to support EAL/D students, instead diverting the funds into other areas.

It is critical for EAL/D students to get the support they need to be proficient in English, in order to access curriculum and achieve social and educational outcomes that will help set them up for success at school and beyond.

The appointment of qualified permanent EAL/D specialist teachers is the only way we can ensure that student need is met and flexible funds in this area are accounted for in a transparent manner.

In 2014, the Department sought to convert the 896 English as a Second Language (now EAL/D positions in staffing entitlement to flexible funding for schools. Federation embarked on a significant campaign, underpinned by research and collaboration with teachers and multicultural communities, to win back the staffing entitlement.

For further information and materials about the current campaign, please email


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© New South Wales Teachers Federation. All Rights Reserved.

Authorised by John Dixon, General Secretary, NSW Teachers Federation, 23-33 Mary St. Surry Hills NSW 2010

Privacy Policy