Former WA premier and Education Minister Dr Geoff Gallop and NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos visited Taree on Thursday, February 25 for a meeting on the findings of an independent inquiry into the teaching profession handed down in Sydney on Saturday, February 20.
Around 60 people attended including principals, teachers, executive staff to listen to Dr Gallop present the findings of the inquiry and hear from Mr Gavrielatos.
"I think there were a few parents there, too," John Black of the NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) said.
The inquiry, the first since 2004, was commissioned by the NSWTF and found teachers had not been compensated for the rise in their skills and responsibilities and salaries had declined to average of other professions.
"This has been a thorough and intensive investigation of all aspects of the work of teachers and how dramatically it has changed," Mr Gavrielatos said.
The NSWTF says there is a crisis in the profession caused by rising workloads, uncompetitive salaries and teacher shortages.
"Teachers have two jobs now; teaching and administration. They are run off their feet and caught up in more red tape than the public could possibly imagine," Mr Gavrielatos said.
"Principals are working, on average, 62 hours a week, while teachers are working, on average, 55 hours a week now, attempting to meet all the needs of students while dealing with the compliance and administration burden that the NSW Department of Education has saddled them with."
The inquiry recommended:
- Salary increases of between 10 and 15 per cent for public school teachers over the 2022 and 2023 period.
- An increase of two hours in the time teachers have to prepare lessons and collaborate with colleagues.
- An overhaul of staffing arrangements to provide more specialist support services for teachers and an increase in permanent teachers to overcome casual teacher shortages, an increase in school counsellor numbers, and creation of new expert teaching positions.
- The introduction of a whole new curriculum by 2024.
The NSWTF will now seek meetings with the leaders of each political party to discuss the findings and recommendations of the inquiry.
Locally, NSWTF will continue to meeting with teaching staff on a regular basis.
"Teachers will be meeting monthly to discuss the findings, and continue to hold the government accountable for implementing the recommendations," Mr Black said.
"We will do whatever it takes to ensure a robust public education system has what is required to meet the needs of every student, teacher and community.
"There's no reason a student in Gloucester shouldn't have access to the same curriculum to their city counterparts," Mr Black said.