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14 May, 2022

Teacher crisis continues after 24-hour strike

On Wednesday, May 4, a 24-hour state-wide strike was held by members of the NSW Teachers Federation.

By Emily Middleton

On Wednesday, May 4, a 24-hour state-wide strike was held by members of the NSW Teachers Federation.

According to the president of the Gilgandra Teacher’s Association and Gilgandra High School federation representative Bree Patton, the strike was in response to the “unsustainable workloads and teacher shortages that are being experienced by all schools”.

The strike followed a month-long suspension on industrial action, while the federation awaited response from the premier.

“The premier was encouraged to engage in genuine award negotiations with the NSW

Teachers Federation,” said Miss Patton. Teachers from around the central west met at the Dubbo convention centre and listened to the impact the unsustainable workloads and teacher shortages were having on schools in the region.

Miss Patton presented at the strike, and spoke about the impact that the teacher shortage was having on Gilgandra High School, with classes being uncovered or merged, and senior students on minimal supervision.

“I spent four years at university studying how to be an English teacher, only to graduate and have to teach French,” said Miss Patton.

“All students deserve a qualified teacher in front of them in every lesson. Data from the

Gallop Inquiry released last February shows that the average working week of public school teachers exceeds 60-hours. The administrative burdens of the job are taking away from our core job of teaching. We need to be given appropriate time to create engaging lessons that make stu- dents excited about learning,” she said.

“The government must make immediate and direct negotiations. The failure to do so will result in the further erosion of public education.”

The Teachers Federation acknowledges that the 24-hour strike may have caused disruption to some families however, have stated that the broader goal of improving the education system is one that would benefit all. “The current sys-

tem is in crisis and must be addressed immedi- ately,” said Miss Patton. Tim Danaher, the cen- tral west organiser for the NSW Teachers Federation, said that if the government cared about public school students, they would act now.

“The federation called on the government to address the crippling workload and non-compar- ative salary which, as identified in numerous government briefings, are the two biggest barri- ers in attracting, and retaining teachers in the profession.

“If they (the government) actually cared about our public schools students, then they would act, and act now,” said Mr Danaher. 

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