The Tamworth region is in the grips of a casual teacher shortage in the public school system with reports that the problem is even worse further out west.
Some local schools have had reports coming out of them which suggest that the full time staff are under extreme pressure as they battle to deal with the staff shortages due to the schools inability to attract casual staff, particularly when it is under short notice such as filling in for sick days or other emergencies.
The result has seen teachers taking on classes and subjects that they are not trained in, while full time staff are also falling behind in professional development and other non-classroom training and activities that are critical to the role.
Tamworth Teachers Federation New England Organiser Tim Daniher confirmed that this is an ongoing issue both locally and regionally, and also said that the federation has been asking the NSW Department of Education to act on it for some time.
“It is something that has been addressed with the department,” Mr Daniher said.
“So far the department hasn’t really stepped up to the plate and listened to our concerns.”
There are around 200 casual teachers recognised by the Teachers Federation in the New England and Parkes regions that Mr Daniher oversees, although he believes the problem is even worse further out west and particularly in remote regions.
“Ultimately not having a big pool of casual teachers in the region makes the work load harder,” Mr Daniher said.
“Teachers teaching out of their subject area need to study harder and do more work out of class times to get the correct content.”
“This issue has not got the attention that it deserves.”
While a casual teacher already earns in excess of $300 a day the federation would like to see the department offer more incentives to get more casual teachers coming out to live and work in regional areas such as Tamworth.
“They need to listen to our concerns and enable the schools to be staffed appropriately,” Mr Daniher said.
“It is not just money but teacher housing, professional advancement opportunities and more support – just some sweeteners to get them in to regional and remote areas.”
The Department of Education was unable to provide comment at the time of publication.