The NSW Department of Education is working to minimise the impact of a proposed teacher strike on students’ learning and wellbeing, while also supporting essential workers.
The majority of schools across the state will remain open with supervision for students, and parents have been informed where schools will not be open. Those students will have access to learning from home material.
Education Secretary Georgina Harrisson said she understood the frustration of families and the industrial action capped off a difficult year for many parents and carers.
“I want to reassure parents that we are doing all we can to ensure learning continues without disruption – especially given the challenges students, teachers and families have experienced this year,” Ms Harrisson said.
“The department has called on the Federation and its members to comply with the Industrial Relations Commission’s (IRC) order and not strike.”
“The Department is still negotiating with the Federation on their claims and the place for this is in the IRC.”
“The Federation needs to come back to the table and engage in good faith with the negotiating process.”
Ms Harrisson also called on the Federation to engage with the public more honestly.
“The Federation has made a number of claims in the lead up to this action that are misleading or simply untrue.”
“All organisations have vacancies and the vacancy rate in NSW for teachers is at a low level for an organisation of our size. A vacancy in a school is covered by a casual or temporary teacher and does not mean a class is without a teacher.”
“We are preparing to manage any future challenges of teacher supply, which is why we commissioned research to understand the issue and developed a strategy to address it.”
“Because it does not align with the Federation’s demands does not mean it will not be successful.”
Ms Harrisson said the Department had applied for the 2.5 per cent increase staff are entitled to meaning they will not miss out on a pay rise, despite the Federation refusing to secure this for their members.”
This is the maximum amount allowed per annum under the Industrial Relations Act.
“We recognise the tremendous work teachers have done during the pandemic and want to make sure they do not miss out on money in hand by delivering them a pay raise in the first week of January ahead of whatever the IRC decides in May,” Ms Harrisson said.