NSW Government must address teacher shortage across regional NSW

1 April, 2021
NSW Government must address teacher shortage across regional NSW  Image

NSW state Member for Murray Helen Dalton has called on the NSW Government to guarantee it will not reduce incentive packages offered to teachers who work in rural NSW schools.


Mrs Dalton, a former primary teacher, says staff at several schools across Western NSW have walked off work recently, fed up with chronic teacher shortages.


“Rather than address these shortages, the NSW Government are actually looking at reducing the incentives to attract teachers to these schools,”


“This will worsen the teacher shortage crisis and see rural students fall even further behind their Sydney peers.”


Teachers at Darlington Point Public School walked off work last week, protesting the NSW Government’s failure to fill multiple vacancies at their school.


Gol Gol Public School, Coomealla High School and Wentworth Public Schools have also undertaken strike action in March, while Murrumbidgee Regional High School staff in Griffith walked off the job in December.


Mrs Dalton said teachers are concerned about the NSW Department of Education’s Rural and Remote Incentives Review, which flags reducing incentives for rural schools.


“At present, the NSW Government offers incentives (such as bonuses, rental subsidies etc) for staff to move to rural schools.


“Generally speaking, the further away you are from Sydney, the more incentives they offer,”


“However, this Department’s latest review paper states schools near Wentworth benefit from being close to the Victorian town of Mildura, so may not warrant incentives,”


“But these schools are doing it really tough, with multiple teacher vacancies and students missing classes, due to a lack of teachers,”


“If the NSW Government reduce incentives, this situation will just get worse,”


“The Education Minister needs to do the opposite: boost incentives at Western NSW schools, and talk to them to find out why recruitment is so difficult.”


Mrs Dalton is also critical of NSW Government plans to “turn tradies into teachers” mid-career.


“I don’t think fast tracking qualifications to become a teacher is the right way to address the rural teacher shortage,”


“I used to be a primary teacher. It’s a tough job. A short course won’t cut it.”


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