Permanency drive is changing lives

Since April, nearly 5,500 temporary teachers and support staff across NSW have accepted offers of permanent employment. The reaction has been extraordinary.

A man speaking at a lectern while others watch on. A man speaking at a lectern while others watch on.
Image: Premier Chris Minns speaks at Merrylands High School on Monday while Deputy Premier Prue Car and NSW Department of Education Secretary Murat Dizdar watch on.

For some, it means finally being able to get a home or car loan. For others, a longed-for overseas trip, or peace of mind in tight economic times. For all, it means a sense of being truly valued.

Since April nearly 5,500 temporary teachers and support staff across NSW have accepted offers of permanent employment, and the reaction has been extraordinary.

“Being able to tell 11 staff members today that they're being offered permanent employment was one of the great thrills I’ve had as a principal,” tweeted Paul Byrne of Kempsey South Public School.

“Hearing one of them say ‘now I can go for a car loan’ nearly busted me. Unbelievable. Changing lives.”

It’s a sentiment echoed around the state as schools in Moree, Grafton, Newcastle, the Riverina and Sydney celebrate the security and confidence to continue their great work for our students.

At Jesmond Public School in west Newcastle principal Deb Kelly was able to offer three teachers and five School Administration and Support Staff (SASS) permanency.

“These staff members are so passionate and skilled at supporting some of our most vulnerable students,” she said. “They have worked very hard and now feel their work has been recognised.”

The offer of 15 permanent positions at Finley High School in the Riverina would impact not only the individuals and the school, but the whole community, principal Jeff Ward said.

“I believe it will bring a renewed level of confidence in public education locally and lead to greater enrolments,” Mr Ward said.

“It also has a positive impact on the community and the local economy as these permanent staff and their families now have financial security and greater confidence.”

With more than 120 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students, Grafton Public School was thrilled to be able to offer permanent employment to their three Aboriginal School Learning Support Officers, as well as eight teachers and 16 SASS.

“This gives us the assurance of having these hard-working and invaluable people with us as we work over the long term to improve student outcomes,” relieving principal Nick Campbell said.

For one Heaton Public School staff member the initiative will enable a family reunion, principal Andrew Hilton said.

“One of the highly valued, multi-lingual support staff said he could now plan for holidays and would be looking to return overseas to see family,” Mr Hilton said.

“He had started looking for permanent employment in other industries, but now can stay in the place and job he loves.”

A group of people posing for a photo. A group of people posing for a photo.
Image: Premier Minns, Deputy Premier Car and Mr Dizdar with staff and students from Merrylands High School.

In April, the NSW Government committed to offering 16,000 temporary teachers and school-based support staff conversion to permanent contracts by the beginning of Term 4, 2023.

As of today, 5,463 staff at 982 schools have now accepted offers, under a phased rollout grouped by geographical region.

Premier Chris Minns and Deputy Premier Prue Car met with staff and students at Merrylands High School on Monday to discuss how the rollout was progressing.

“Making teachers and support staff permanent is telling them directly: we want you, we need you and we want to see you thrive in your career in NSW public schools,” Mr Minns said.

For teacher Anthony Kewin, the opportunity to become a permanent member of the Merrylands High team has been life-altering.

“I love coming in and working hard every day for the kids. Knowing that I’m valued and a part of the school community is an amazing feeling. I’ve also been able to purchase my first property and make longer term plans for my life,” he said.

Merrylands High School Captain Abraham Hawat said the benefits were also being felt by students.

“Seeing our teachers happy makes us happy. Hearing our teachers feel valued and part of the community really warms all our hearts,” he said.

Deputy Premier Prue Car said permanency allowed teachers and school support staff to plan for the future.

“To see more than 5,500 teachers and support staff being made permanent, with so many more to come, is incredibly encouraging,” she said.

Staff eligible for an offer have been working in their current school for at least three years. Staff who accepted offers by the end of May are anticipated to have their first day of permanent duty on Day 1, Term 3.

All other permanent appointments under this program are anticipated to be in place by the start of the 2024 school year.

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