As NSW public school teachers and principals strike for the first time in a decade today, The Parenthood supports their demands for improved pay, workload and conditions.
“The decision to stop work for 24 hours reflects the serious concerns teachers and principals in NSW currently have about growing teacher shortages and the impact this is having, and will continue to have, on students,” Georgie Dent, Executive Director of The Parenthood said.
“Not being able to send kids to school today will not be ideal for a lot of parents and children but it’s less ideal to watch educators and teachers leave their chosen field in droves because they’re exhausted, burnt out and tired of being undervalued.
“Unsustainable workloads, stagnant wage growth, uncompetitive salaries and increasingly challenging work conditions mean, without intervention, the current shortages are only going to get worse.
“For teachers and principals that prospect is sufficiently grave for them to strike, and that ought to strike fear and concern in the hearts and minds of all NSW parents.
“Well-educated students depend on having a well-supported and properly valued workforce of educators and teachers.
“We cannot scrimp on teachers and education and expect there will be no consequences. The nation’s teachers and early educators deserve better pay and conditions as well as long-term government planning to address workforce challenges,” Dent said.
In this year's government employee survey, only 35 per cent of public school teachers said they had time to do their job well and 38 per cent said they were paid fairly for the work they do. It is predicted that NSW alone needs to recruit a minimum of 11,000 teachers by 2031 to meet record enrolment growth.
The situation is similar in the early childhood education and care space where a recent report found almost three-quarters (73%) of nearly 4000 educators surveyed plan to leave the sector within the next three years.
It includes reports that early learning centres are reducing room sizes and enrolments because they can’t find staff. Projections show the early education sector needs 40,000 additional staff by 2023 to meet growing demand for early learning services.
“It is time for urgent government action to ensure teachers and early educators are appropriately valued, supported and paid,” Dent said. “Creating well paid and secure jobs in the education sector is part of building a strong and resilient economy.”