Premier Consults New South Wales Teachers on Best Way Forward for Education

By Steve Milne
Steve Milne
Steve Milne
Writer
Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at steve.milne@epochtimes.com.au.
May 13, 2022 Updated: May 13, 2022

New South Wales school teachers met with state premier, Dominic Perrottet, at  Parliament House on Thursday, sharing their views on how to chart the best way forward for education in the state.

They put forward ideas around improved learning outcomes, cutting red tape, and increasing the time and resources needed to deliver the best education possible for students.

Premier Dominic Perrottet said the inaugural meeting led to the establishment of a Teacher Advisory Group, one of a number of initiatives giving teachers, principals, and students a direct voice in education policy.

“It’s so important we hear from a wide variety of stakeholders, particularly those considered the best in their profession, to help shape the future of education in our state,” he said.

“We can benefit from their experience and ideas on ways of better supporting their profession to modernise and grow.”

This comes after school teachers in the state went on strike on May 4 over pay and workload issues.

The NSW Teachers Federation made the decision based on a poll that indicated 73 percent of teachers had an unmanageable workload, 70 percent were reconsidering their position due to workload, 90 percent said their pay doesn’t reflect their expertise and responsibilities, and 89 percent said staff shortages are very significant, with a further 82 percent saying the shortages were leading to higher teacher workloads at their school.

Epoch Times Photo
School teachers march along Macquarie St towards NSW Parliament in Sydney, Australia on May 04, 2022. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

The participants in Thursday’s roundtable included teachers from government, Catholic, and independent schools, and saw a mix of primary and high schools across the city and regional areas take part, as well as schools of varying sizes and cultural backgrounds.

Education and Early Learning Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Teacher Advisory Group will bring a range of expertise and perspectives into the education decision-making process.

“I have been focused on increasing the time and resources teachers have to deliver a great education for their students,” Mitchell said.

“This group will help refine the work already underway and develop additional opportunities to slash the time teachers spend beyond their core duties.”

With the minister’s Student Council (DOVES) already providing a voice for students, and the Ambassador Schools Principal Advisory Group giving principals a voice, teachers now have a voice.

However, Shadow Education Minister Prue Car said on Thursday that meeting with a small number of teachers from the 2,200 schools across the state was just a talkfest, and the government hasn’t done enough about the chronic teacher shortage over the past decade.

“We are thousands of teachers short, the government has been warned time and time again about this,” she said.

Car added that the government should be sitting down with the teachers union and negotiating not only about concerns around pay, but also the chronic teacher shortage across the state.

“There needs to be a massive recruitment drive to get teachers into the classrooms and we need to value our teachers so they stay there in front of our children to get them ready for the world and their lives,” she said.

The Epoch Times reached out to the NSW Teachers Federation for comment but did not receive a response.

Steve Milne
Steve is an Australian reporter based in Sydney covering sport, the arts, and politics. He is an experienced English teacher, qualified nutritionist, sports enthusiast, and amateur musician. Contact him at steve.milne@epochtimes.com.au.