Submission to NSW Legislative Council – Parliamentary Committee #3: Inquiry into teacher shortages in New South Wales

The NSW Secondary Principals’ Council (SPC) is the professional association representing approximately 500 Principals of government schools in NSW that have secondary school enrolments. The Council works closely with senior officials from the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Minister for Education and Early Learning and provides advice on matters relating to public secondary education.

Our focus in this submission is on neither the origins nor the nature of the current shortage.  There have been multiple reviews into this, and the key issues have been well-documented.

NSW SPC commends the following reports and the recommendations included therein:

• The 2021 NSW Teacher Supply Strategy;

• Valuing the Profession (NSWTF, 2021) 

• The 2021 Review of Rural and Remote Incentives in NSW Public Schools;  

• The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey (2020)

Further, action by the NSW Department of Education to attract and retain high quality teachers and leaders must be considered in light of advice and feedback provided by the relevant professional associations, including NSW SPC and NSW Primary Principals’ Association. 

Recruitment: Action Immediate
• Bulk On-board all final year Initial Teacher Education (ITE) students with provisional approval to teach. Principals to be provided with the ability to opt in to access the program.• The Department of Education (DoE) to provide support consistent with the current Beginning Teachers program.  That is: 0.8 teaching load, access to study leave, and mentor support.
• Cancel Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) payments for all ITE students for an initial 5 year period (with the possibility of extension, depending on teacher supply at the end of the initial term). This is an equity strategy for disadvantaged cohorts who are anxious about debts.• DoE to pay HECS for all teaching staff who complete 5 years’ service with DoE.  
• Move Literacy and Numeracy Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) Assessment to the start of ITE not the end, as is currently the case.
• Allow schools to appoint a permanent teacher to fill positions for teachers who are on secondment for periods from 1-3 years.• Reinstate Reserve or Local Area relief, Relief Teacher Scheme – or similar.• Better promote and simplify processes by which principals can engage staff in Above Centrally Identified Positions (ACIPs).• Consider transferring of up to 50% of equity loadings into permanent staffing entitlement to recognise most of the money is spent on staff. This will reduce the draw on local casuals whilst allowing principals to retain a high degree of flexibility in expending funds to meet student need.
• DoE to analyse vacancies and intensify support for hard to staff locations.• Reinstate a designated expert staffing officer for groups of networks, and the Principal Liaison Officer HR.
Action short term: As above, plus:
Recruit• Overseas teachers #• mid-career re-trainees • Teach For Australia (TFA)*• Allow retraining of existing teachers whilst in the position EALD, LaST, TAS positions and investigate broader options for recognition of prior learning and/or experience. # Solution: Federal Govt to improve and fast track Visas for teachers prepared to teach in hard to staff locations.NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) needs broader and more efficient mechanisms for recognising overseas accreditation equivalence. *the evaluation of TFA [Cobold,-2017] indicates key issues are that TFA teachers do not stay beyond the two years appointment period and have not previously been allocated to high FOEI schools. Victorian colleagues are positive in their reports of TFA. We lose NSW people every year to other states for TFA.Solution: *Negotiate criteria to put teachers in hard to staff areas. Define criteria for hard to staff – eg FOEI, Location, and history of unfilled vacancies. Ensure MTEACH completed is rigorous and comparable to current academic requirements.
Increase numbers of Scholarships: Currently, it is too easy for scholars to refuse placement.Solution:• Expand programs to include SLSOs on teaching pathways.• Strengthen the Deed of Agreement. Students must commit to hard to staff locations. If they refuse, then an exit payment, as a lump sum, should be the penalty. Scholars should be bonded for 3 years minimum.  • Scholarships of $70,000 should be offered with a 5 year deed. This addresses some cost of living pressures whilst completing studies with increase of moneys. Secondly, other sectors are less likely to pay out $70,000 to poach graduates who had previously committed to DoE. A 5 year deed enables a greater value as the teacher becomes an expert teacher by the end of their term of agreement.
Medium term: As above plus:
• Improve teacher salaries. Failure to do so will see teachers will leave NSW for QLD/WA or other jurisdictions offering better salaries or incentive payments to attract staff.
• Create a national portable teacher accreditation so teachers can work anywhere nationally.
• NSW Government to engage in active promotion of the teaching profession.• NSW Government to deal with teacher/school bashing in social and main stream media. 
Long term: As above plus:
• Improve ITE • Abolish LANTITE• Revise funding arrangements to ensure that ITE providers are not rewarded for delivering cheap degrees. Currently, there is no incentive for ITE providers to deliver ITE courses in more expensive disciplines (including science, Technology) despite clear areas of workforce need. • Federal Government should have more input into directing ITE providers to target areas of workforce need and teaching in general – TAS, STEM , Special education. • Rigorous delivery of practical ITE courses by staff with recent school currency in pedagogy, including core curriculum content areas and Literacy, numeracy and behaviour management.
Retention- Increase salary and reduce workload 
• Increase teacher salaries and build in mechanisms to ensure that they remain at least in line with inflation
• Review and expand current non-teaching roles to allow for supervision and a broader variety of administrative roles that are currently completed by teaching staff. • Allow non-teaching staff to supervise students in certain circumstances – eg accompany student in ambulance, supervise library and playground.  
• Increase remuneration and time allocation for wellbeing staff, including year advisers.• Increase release from Face to face teaching for all teachers.• Secondary Deputy Principals should be non-teaching.• Head Teachers should have a 0.4 teaching load reduction.
• Employ additional Administrative staff to support faculties eg➢ 1 FTE for VET Careers and transition➢ 1 FTE for ENG HSIE and CAPA➢ 1 FTE MATHS SCIENCE PDHPE➢ 1 FTE Special Education and LAST 
• All secondary schools allocated a Business Manager and Technical Support Officer either at Grade 5/6 or 7/8 depending on enrolment numbers. 
• Strengthen and increase incentives for hard to staff schools.• Provide priority employment for the partners of other government agencies.• Eg Where a teacher transferred to a hard to staff location, their partner who works for any other government department (eg NSW Health) gets a priority transfer, and placed above-establishment, if necessary. 
• Build / improve teacher/govt housing• Explore different models of housing school staff  
Strengthen Beginning Teacher support• Teach 0.8 year 1• 0.9 year 2• Re-introduce the HT Mentor position to support early career teachers.  

31 July, 2022

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