Teacher shortage in NSW public schools likely to last five years

“Historically, under-bidding has not been a problem and it is not something that we are used to actively managing at the level that will be necessary to meet our future needs,” said the presentation. “It will be a challenge to take on more active stewardship of this system. “

“If we don’t fill the supply shortages now, we’re going to run out of teachers over the next five years.

Confidential document from the Ministry of Education

As late as July this year, briefing notes for Education Minister Sarah Mitchell ahead of a meeting of education ministers said: “New South Wales is facing to a significant and growing shortage of teachers ”.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said the government had hidden the true extent of the staffing crisis in schools. “It will get worse unless drastic measures are taken,” he said. “No one should doubt how serious this situation is for our children and teachers and for the future quality of education in New South Wales.”

The federation is about to start wage negotiations with the NSW government. He argues that the ministry will continue to fight to attract teachers unless it increases salaries beyond the 2.5% civil service salary cap and improves conditions.

“We need to make the profession more attractive through competitive salaries and realistic workloads if we are to address shortages and recruit a minimum of 11,000 additional teachers needed just to meet enrollment growth over the next decade. “said Mr. Gavrielatos.

However, a spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education said the information was out of date, the department had developed strategies to attract more teachers and the government was on track to keep its commitment to recruit 4,600 additional teachers over four years.

Ms Mitchell said the union’s allegations of a looming teacher crisis were “patently misleading and self-serving”. She said the government’s approach to increasing the supply of teachers was supported by research, based on teacher feedback.

“Ensuring that we have the best teachers in the right places is not secured by a fear campaign backed by bad data,” she said. “To find solutions, we asked the question of what is best for the students, and in this case, I’m afraid the union is not asking the same.”

The documents show the ministry had been aware of impending shortages since 2019, when an internal report in November warned that the best-case scenario was an overall supply gap within three years (end of 2022), but that was “A significant under-representation of reality. problem. ”By 2024, there would be a gap of 748 teachers in the public system alone, which would drop to 2,425 by 2025, he predicted.

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Another internal report, dated March 2020, said there would not be enough teachers entering the system beyond 2026. “This year [2020], aggregate excess supply available [of teachers] is already tight … By 2024 the surplus could be less than 2 percent of the workforce, and by 2026, [there is] likely to be a real supply gap, ”the report says.

A report said the salary cap and perceptions of a lack of teaching career paths “could hinder choices” to become a teacher. He also said declining wages compared to other professions had been a barrier to recruiting high performing students.

The documents proposed that targeting graduates while they are still in college, trying to attract professionals to a mid-career job change, and increasing the number of permanent positions could increase the number by around 300 per year. year.

The ministry spokesman said the government has committed $ 124.8 million over four years to a teacher supply strategy, which will change incentives for teachers to move to regions, attempt to facilitate transitions mid-career towards teaching and poaching STEM teachers from abroad.

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“The NSW government is working on a number of initiatives to provide a sustainable supply of quality teachers, including in critical subjects and locations, and is on track to deliver on its commitment to recruit 4,600 additional teachers over four years, ”he said.

The spokesperson said NSW teachers’ salaries were competitive nationally and internationally, with those at the top of the salary scale being paid $ 107,779. Beginning teachers are paid $ 72,263. Education is a four-year undergraduate degree or a two-year master’s degree.

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