More to do, but figures show progress on teacher shortage

The NSW Government is continuing to tackle the teacher shortage.

The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of bags hanging on a wall. The NSW Government logo overlaying a photo of bags hanging on a wall.

NSW has started the new school year with a 20 per cent drop in the number of teacher vacancies as the NSW Government continues to tackle the teacher shortage crisis that has plagued the education sector for the past decade.

In a positive sign, the NSW education system began Term 1 2024 with 460 fewer teacher vacancies than the same time last year.

There were 1782 teacher vacancies in the first week of this school year compared to 2242 at the same time in 2023, under the former government who presided over resignations outstripping retirements for the first time, while they denied the teacher shortage existed.

There has been a significant fall in vacancies in regional, rural and remote NSW, where schools have traditionally been harder to staff. Vacancies in these areas have dropped by almost 25 per cent, from 1241 at the start of school last year in 2023, to 938 in 2024.

This comes as NSW teachers entered the new school year among the highest paid in the country after the NSW Government struck an historic pay deal in September.

The start of the 2024 school year saw 6261 teachers appointed to their first permanent role with the Department of Education this term, a massive increase of 4575 on the same time last year.

The NSW Government is also continuing to deliver on its commitment to make more temporary teachers and support staff permanent and reducing the excessive administrative workload on schools.

Measures the NSW Government has taken to address the teacher shortage include:

  • Scrapping the former government’s public sector wage cap and delivering NSW public school teachers the biggest pay rise in a generation
  • Improving job security by delivering our commitment to transition 16,000 teachers and support staff on temporary contracts into permanent roles
  • Reducing the admin workload by introducing more admin support staff, removing unnecessary tasks, streamlining accreditation requirements, and cutting the volume of policy documents
  • Recruitment measures including re-engaging teachers who recently resigned or retired from the profession to return, and expanding the Grow Your Own program
  • Improving the classroom environment by banning mobile phones restoring authority to teachers and principals to manage student behaviour
  • Developing a teacher housing strategy, priority recruitment support and wellbeing measures as part of our Rural, Regional and Remote Education action plan to attract and retain staff in the bush

Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning Prue Car said:

“To see vacancies trending in the right direction – downward – is encouraging after record vacancies under the Liberals and Nationals. We still have a lot of work to do to turn around the shortage, and addressing teacher vacancies remains a key priority for the Minns Government.

“These figures affirm our decision to deliver a once-in-a-generation wage rise to NSW public school teachers, along with our focus on easing teacher workload and improving student behaviour.

“Getting permanent, well paid teachers into our classrooms will pay dividends down the line when it comes to academic outcomes for our students.

“While these are positive numbers, the experience of teachers on the ground is critical. That’s why, unlike the former Liberal National Government, I will continue to listen to our teachers and their real concerns about staff shortages.

“These initiatives are underpinned by a desire to restore respect for the teaching profession and let our school staff know we value the work they do every day in educating our children.”

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