Teachers rallying to protest increasing shortage in regional schools

Teachers will rally in Maitland today to protest teacher shortages in the area.

The Teachers Federation says new figures released to NSW Parliament show over 80 per cent of schools in the Hunter region had vacant teaching positions in October.

The union’s Senior Vice President Amber Flohm will be at the rally and warns without any action the shortages will grow due to rising enrolments, a 30% decline in people studying teaching, a rapidly ageing workforce and unsustainable workloads.

“If the NSW Government doesn’t act now, the teacher shortages will only get worse and it’s country kids who will pay the price,” Amber Flohm said.

“Documents released to Parliament show that the NSW Government has covered up the extent of the shortages and the clear connection with uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”

“NSW Government MPs needs to make clear whether they support the government’s one-size fits all salary cap which is contributing to shortages, or whether he supports a greater investment in country teachers.”

“Every year teachers have been asked to do more but every year their pay has fallen in comparison to other professions. The shortages are proof that if we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we don’t get the teachers we need.”

The union said the latest figures show that a higher proportion of vacant positions are in country areas, that teachers in country areas are far more likely to be teaching outside their subject area of expertise and vacant positions were taking, on average, up to four months to fill.

“The NSW Government is ignoring the advice of its own department about the critical situation we are in. Instead of investing in teachers it wants to do nothing on workloads and maintain the wages cap that has contributed to the measurable decline in the attractiveness of the profession.”

The rally in Maitland is at 4pm at King Edward Park, next to East Maitland Bowling Club and tomorrow there will be rallies in the Upper Hunter starting at 7.30am in Muswellbrook, lunchtime at  Scone High School and at 4pm in Merriwa.