An independent inquiry highlighting issues within the existing NSW Education System was addressed among teachers and principals during a panel hosted at Dubbo College South Campus on Monday.
The inquiry, Valuing the Teaching Profession, chaired by former WA premier Dr Geoff Gallop and supported by the NSW Teachers Federation, has addressed three issues; an overload of work, a lack of proper support and inadequate remuneration.
NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the inquiry received more than 1,000 submissions from NSW teachers and principals.
Following the release of the report last month Dr Gallop, Mr Gavrielatos, NSW Industrial Relations Commissions former deputy president Dr Tricia Kavanagh and former head of the NSW Institute of Teachers Patrick Lee are hosting panels across the state in a bid to inform teachers and communities about their findings.
"We're travelling around the state to talk to teachers about the report, what the findings were, what the recommendations are and also to get the story out to the wider community and why it is we need change," Dr Gallop said.
"Three big areas we looked at was the actual work of teachers, the intensity of that work, the complexity of that work and just the sheer volume of that work. Our conclusion was there's been an avalanche of responsibilities passed down to schools, passed down to teachers, which makes it hard for them to deliver the sort of education they want to.
"The second issue was relating to support for teachers where the system has been completely changed in 2012 with the introduction of Local Schools Local Decisions. Unfortunately in many parts of the state, particularly in rural and remote NSW, that system wasn't capable of providing the support needed to deal with the range of backgrounds of the students at those schools.
"Dubbo, like many schools in rural and remote areas, doesn't have the backdrop of support needed to deliver the system. The range and type of services needed to back the work of teachers in schools isn't there- we need the Department of Education there taking a broader responsibility for staffing matters and for support in the system. The third issue relates to the remuneration of the teachers when compared to other professionals and a real gap has opened up which is a danger in terms of the future because we need to attract new people into the profession and we need to attract the best and the brightest.
"Our conclusion, an overload of work, a lack of proper support and remuneration that doesn't reflect the status and the role of teaching in our community. All of that needs to change in order to have a future that is sustainable."
Dr Gallop said they are pushing to change these issues by putting together the report and by developing a six-year implementation plan that deals with the above issues.
"We need a system that delivers better results for our children and our community," he said.
"An important issue that emerged through the COVID-19 crisis was some families and students didn't have access to the information to communication technology needed in terms of delivering education. We've made it clear all children should have this access at all times, just as they should have textbooks. COVID-19 revealed to the world the inequalities that already existed in the education systems- but also, the importance of schools, teachers and education and that we've let it slip.
"These are not opinions, these are facts that need to be taken up with local members of parliament. Already we are seeing shortages emerge, that will continue to grow and some schools won't have the proper complement of teachers to do the job and we will have lots of teachers doing work that isn't in their main discipline, so students won't be able to get the best support from their teachers. Some teachers are already working outside of their discipline and in some schools there simply aren't enough teachers to do the job."
When asked by the Daily Liberal for comment a spokesperson from the NSW Department of Education said a response was underway, but they were unable to meet the deadline provided.
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