NSW Teachers Federation members at South Grafton High School have walked off the job over the staffing crisis at their school which has been unable to find replacement teachers to fill vacancies or to cover for colleagues on leave for more than a year.
NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said the situation at South Grafton High had resulted in some classes being combined when casuals were unavailable. In some cases, individual teachers were forced to supervise up to 70 students at a time.
South Grafton High staff are demanding that the NSW Government immediately appoint five additional teachers to allow normal timetabled classes to proceed.
“Teachers are being forced to take extra classes and playground duties when they should be preparing lessons or taking a lunch break,” Mr Rajendra said.
“What is happening at South Grafton is unacceptable and a direct result of the NSW Government’s failure to adequately staff public schools across the state.”
“Every child in every class has the right to be taught by an appropriately trained teacher and it should be the responsibility of the Education Department to provide enough teachers for every school.”
Mr Rajendra said morale at the school was very low. Teachers had been working under extremely stressful conditions for the past 18 months because of the teacher shortage.
“The staffing crisis has been caused by the failure of the NSW Government to address the teacher shortage over more than a decade.”
“They have let down students, parents and the wider community.”
“Previously successful processes that ensured adequate staffing of all schools across the state have been weakened.”
Mr Rajendra said the recent Gallop Report showed that the recruitment and retention of teachers will require a significant increase in salaries.