NSW Teachers Strike: An Explainer
Why is there a NSW teachers strike? How will the strike affect you?
The decision to take 24-hour joint strike action on 30 June was made after a historic joint meeting between the executives of the NSW Teachers Federation and the Independent Education Union of Australia (NSW/ACT).
On this page you will find information about how schools will be affected by the strikes, what parents can do, why teachers are striking, and how this situation can be resolved. Information on times and locations for rallies on the day can be found on the NSW Teachers Federation website and the Independent Education Union website.
In addition to the strike, teachers will walk out if a NSW Government MP enters school grounds. This will occur for as long as these MPs remain on-site. This is occurring almost daily as NSW Government ministers attempt to use school grounds across the state as the backdrop for media stunts.
Why are NSW school teachers striking?
A recent poll of 10,000 NSW teachers that was released earlier this year revealed:
- 73% say their workload is unmanageable
- 70% are reconsidering their position due to workload
- 90% disagree that their pay reflects their expertise and responsibilities
- 89% say shortages are very significant
- 82% say shortages are leading to higher teacher workloads at their school
In a recent press release NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavielatos said the NSW Government is refusing to negotiate with them. The last time the NSW Government met with the teachers’ union was in 2021. This has left teachers with no choice but to strike.
– NSW currently has the least teachers per student in Australia. As of June 2021 there were 1148 vacant teacher positions across NSW schools
– 80% of teachers have had to teach outside their area of expertise to cover gaps and vacancies
– Shortages are leading to classroom mergers, teachers missing professional development and training, delays in student assistance, disabled children missing out on support, program cuts and only minimal supervision being provided
– Two-thirds of teachers are currently reconsidering their futures in the profession due to the workload and only one third of teachers currently believe they have time to do their job well
– On average classroom teachers are working 55 hours per week
– “Teaching use to be about teaching and interacting with students 95% of the time. The other 5% was admin. In the last five years that’s changed significantly, almost to the point of 50/50″ – teacher
– Teacher salaries have been declining relative to other professions for 10 years
– “At the same time as the work of teachers has got exponentially harder and more complex, the remuneration of teachers has fallen below that of other professionals.” – Dr Geoff Gallop, former WA Premier and chair of the independent inquiry into the work of teachers
– “The earnings for female teachers compared to the average paid to all female professionals has fallen by 8% in the last 30 years. For males the fall has been 15%” – Professor John Buchanan, University of Sydney Business School
How will you be affected by the NSW teachers strike?
Teachers will not be at school and classes will be cancelled. Individual schools and school principals will make a determination as to whether they will have the resources to provide basic supervision with skeleton staff.
It is advised to make alternate plans for you child on the day and contact your school principal to find out if childcare is available at the school.
Read the recent letter to public school parents from Angelo Gavrielatos, President of the NSW Teachers Federation.
What are teachers in NSW asking for?
Teachers in NSW are asking for basic improvements to their conditions and salaries to make sure they can provide high quality teaching to our children and fix the teacher shortage.
Salaries: An increase of between 5 to 7.5% in the next wages agreement (covering 2022 and 2023.)
Release time: An additional two hours release time is needed for primary teachers, along with a reduction of two hours in the current maximum face-to-face teaching loads for all secondary teachers (including head teachers and deputy principals). Assistant principals and deputy principals in primary schools must also have the same non face-to-face teaching entitlement as their secondary colleagues. This time needs to be dedicated to lesson planning and collaboration with colleagues on how to best meet the needs of students at the school.
Administration: Administration and compliance workloads for teachers need to be reduced in all settings as a matter of urgency.
Workload: An additional two hours a week for lesson planning and collaboration (release time) and an urgent reduction in administration and compliance workloads.