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14 May, 2021

Teacher's walk-out response "unacceptable"

Since Gilgandra Highschool's walk out, the department of education has responded, and the teacher’s federation are less than pleased.

By Emily Middleton

“The response from the department doesn’t go far enough, or anywhere near reaching and achieving what is needed to cover the staffing crisis across NSW,” said Tim Danahar, NSW teacher’s federation country organiser for the region.

“Their core is that they are committed to Teach for Australia, which is a program that fast tracks other professionals into the profession of teaching. It’s a crash course in teaching. And for them to commit and to say that this is the solution – that is not the solution.  Our students deserve the best possible, highest trained teachers that they can have in front of them. That’s why the degree is four years not six weeks like ‘Teach for Australia’. So that was very disappointing and concerning and that short-changes students as well,” said Mr Danahar. When contacted for comment on Gilgandra Highschool’s walk-out in recent weeks, the Department of Education responded to The Gilgandra Weekly with the below response;

24 Gilgandra High School teachers held a 20-minute stop work meeting from 8.55am on Thursday April 22. Students were supervised by other staff during the meeting. There are no permanent vacancies at the school. There are three long term temporary vacancies; two in support classes and one in Technology and Applied Sciences, which the department will continue to work with the principal to fill. In the interim, classes continue to be delivered by teachers in the school.

Over the next 10 years the department will be implementing a staffing supply strategy that will help mitigate these factors.

Eligible permanent teachers in rural and remote locations currently receive a range of incentives including: • A rural teacher incentive of up to $30,000 • Up to 90 per cent rental subsidy • An annual ‘retention benefit’ of $5000 for up to 10 years • An annual ‘experienced teacher’ bonus of $10,000 for up to five years • Recrui-tment bonus of $10,000 (if applicable) • A 10-week trial placement before permanent appointment • Up to four additional professional development days and four additional personal leave days • Priority transfer after two to five years • Service for Transferred Officers Compensation (financial benefit for longer term of employment) after three years.

Mr Danahar responded to hearing with; “There is no plan. That’s the thing, there’s all these reports, valid factual reports stating there is a massive teacher shortage. Massive crisis.”

The crisis will continue until there is significant change, and that starts with Gilgandra becoming a higher point scoring school. Currently they are low point scoring, meaning they have less entitlements than most regional and remote schools, and are of the same equity as some Sydney schools. But GHS are not the only one’s suffering. Neighbouring towns have been calling for action for years with still no response or change.

“Where are they? Look at Walgett high school. four staff out of 21. That was raised October last year and they still have no staff. Where is the department? Where is the government supporting these kids? Or if they’re serious about rural education then why are they not doing anything about this current crisis. It’s unbelievable and unacceptable,” said Mr Danahar.

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