Tuesday, 28 February 2023
The Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch, which represents over 32,000 teachers, support staff and principals in the non-government education sector, is not surprised by most of the findings of the NSW Upper House Committee Inquiry into Teacher Shortages and Education Outcomes in NSW, tabled on 24 February.
Committee Chair Mark Latham said: “It is clear to the committee that teacher shortages are widespread and affect the education outcomes of students across the state, particularly those with special needs. As we discussed in the previous report, substantially elevating the status of teaching to a modern, dynamic and rewarding to profession will, in large part, address supply constraints.”
The IEU presented to the Inquiry on three separate occasions, emphasising the deleterious impact of teacher shortages and excessive workload on both staff and students in schools each time.
The Union also laid the blame for the current teacher shortage squarely at the feet of the NSW Government, which has systematically undermined teachers and support staff for more than a decade.
A key recommendation of the Inquiry was to leave teachers to teach by not overloading them with endless new and expensive educational fads, and redirect government expenditure to supporting teachers’ salaries. However, this was rejected by the NSW Government, another lost opportunity to improve teacher recruitment and retention.
“Teachers’ working conditions and students’ learning conditions are indivisible. Systematic disempowerment of teacher voice and disregard for professional judgement over the last decade or so have had a devastating effect on education outcomes,” Independent Education Union of Australia NSW/ACT Branch Secretary Mark Northam said.
“Rhetoric around the value of teachers, while certainly true, won’t convince potential teachers to choose education over another career that provides appropriate professional pay,” Northam said.
“Dedicated, experienced and skilled teachers will not be convinced to remain in the profession without genuine measures to address workload and restore respect for professional judgement.
“Immediate removal of the salary cap and reduction of unnecessary and duplicative workload are the only actions that will guarantee the ongoing existence of the teaching workforce NSW needs.”
IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Secretary, Mark Northam, 0427 667 061
Media: Sue Osborne, 0430 220 254, email@example.com
The IEUA NSW/ACT Branch represents over 32,000 teachers, principals and support staff in Catholic and independent schools, early childhood centres and post-secondary colleges.
Authorised by Mark Northam, Secretary, IEUA NSW/ACT Branch