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27 March, 2021

Gallop report shows teaching in crisis

The NSW Teacher’s Federation are calling on state parliament to make major changes to the profession following the release of the Gallop Report. The report has found that teachers are overworked, underpaid and under supported and that schools across regional NSW are critically understaffed.

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The report shows that the ever-shifting nature of the profession, with the advent of certain technologies and constantly changing curriculums, has not been reflected in adjustments made to the working situation by government representatives. It has been 17 years since the last major review into teaching and the Gallop Report has only come after the union commissioned an independent inquiry of their own.

Local union representative Bri Patton said that teachers at Gilgandra High School are welcoming of the report and hope that this helps raise the profile of the issues faced by teachers.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand the pressures of teaching, I just hope for a little more awareness and appreciation for teachers comes out of this report,” said Ms Patton.

“It’s good to see, this is the first report into this stuff since 2004, it’s good to see some movement and we just hope the momentum keeps up.”

Ms Patton said that constantly increasing paperwork from the department of education mean that teachers are often working outside of school hours.

“At the moment staff are needing to use a lot of their before and after school time, along with weekends to create engaging and meaningful lessons because a lot of our time is being taken up by other things we need to do on the department end.

“The amount of mandatory paperwork has been gradually increasing but there has been no extra relief time provided in a long time. If this inquiry gains traction and starts a conversation about us getting that extra two hours relief time, that would help us do all the compliance stuff but also to prepare better lessons.

“It’s not really the pay that people are most concerned. Obviously, we look forward to being put on a comparative level to other degrees that carry the same required study, but it’s more so the workload decrease that we’re looking for.”

Ms Patton said that many staff are forced to teach outside their normal areas of expertise to cover staffing shortages.

“People are needing to either essentially train themselves to teach in those areas to fill the gaps, or they’re having to cover those casual lessons.”

The local union representative said that this combined with other issues such as curriculum changes, a lack of casual staff and difficulties attracting new staff, among other issues, has created a situation that is unsustainable and untenable.

Dubbo-based organiser for the NSW Teacher’s Federation Tim Danaher said that the teaching profession is in crisis and that change needs to come soon.

“This is something that can’t be ignored anymore, it’s just unsustainable and all teachers know that they don’t have time to do the stuff they need to do. We need a reset, an absolute reset of our profession.”

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