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Byron Shire
December 8, 2022

Permanent teachers?

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Dear Yvonne Jessup (Letters 19 October), I think you have been greatly misinformed! Not all schools are run by the Department of Education. So increasing their permanent teachers alone is not going to solve the teacher shortage. The independent and Catholic school systems are struggling too.

If you look at the age data of our workforce you will see a large number are nearing retirement. Add to this the incredibly hard job that teaching has now become – we are not attracting ample new members to the teaching profession. The majority of new teachers are leaving after just five years.

In NSW there is currently a parliamentary inquiry into the teaching shortage taking place. Aspects being highlighted include: The pay scale is not making teaching an attractive proposition; the accountability to external bodies means we teach far less and complete paperwork far more; the impact of Covid on our students now requires a far greater focus on wellbeing and we aren’t necessarily trained for that; the constant blame being placed on the teaching profession for low results also adds no desire to join us and is melting our current workforce; parents are generally no longer supportive of school, which assists in creating more behaviour issues and, given the shortage of staff in other jobs since the pandemic, we have staff leaving to pursue better jobs for higher pay for far less stress.

Creating more permanent jobs might look like a solution but far, far more is required if the teaching profession is to keep up with the needs of our students in our care.

Chris Minns can’t fix this. Much more needs to be done at university level, in how we treat teaching staff and how we pay them for their work.

Therese Seymour, Ballina

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  1. Dear Therese Seymore, we are well aware of the daunting challenge ahead in reversing 12 years of failed Conservative State education policy and fiscal cutbacks and 9 years of similar policy disasters from their Federal mates. But don’t knock this initiative from Chris Minns, and you should watch this space it won’t be the last; it won’t fix everything but it will definitely help, any improvement on those wasted years should be embraced not ridiculed.


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