Tuesday, January 18, 2022

NSW schools closed today as teachers strike over pay, staff shortages

The New South Wales Teachers Federation has issued a blunt message to the government as hundreds of schools close across the state today due to a teachers’ strike. Most parents will be able to drop their children off for supervision with no lessons but about 400 schools across the state will be closed today.
The educators argue a 2.5 per cent cap on wage growth has forced teaching wages down compared to other professions, while at the same time teachers are being asked to do more.
There are more than 3,000 vacant permanent teaching positions in the state and one in five Year 7 to 10 teachers are working outside their area of expertise, new Department of Education statistics have revealed.
Teachers and principals, striking for the first time in nearly a decade, are asking for a salary increase of between five to 7.5 per cent a year to recognise the increase in their skills and expertise and reverse the relative wage decline.
But Premier Dominic Perrottet is refusing to budge.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said teachers were exhausted from “unsustainable” workloads, and claimed the government was ignoring the problem.
“Quite simply, if we don’t care about teacher shortages we don’t care about kids,” he told Today.
“Research by the University of Sydney shows that teachers are working on average 55 hours a week and our principals 72 hours a week on average. We need to manage the workloads.”
He said competitive salaries were needed to attract more teachers.
“The shortage is real, it is already upon us and will only get worse because we are heading into a perfect storm,” he said.
“In the next 10 years, we are going to need 11,000 additional teachers.”
The teachers also want another two hours a week of preparation time to help with lesson planning and collaboration.

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