Despite increasingly vocal calls for the Education Department to comment on sweeping discontent across small regional schools, silence reigns.
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell has remained silent on the walk-outs at Walgett Community College High School, Coomealla High School and Gol Gol Public School and Bulahdelah Central School.
Instead, despite numerous questions put to their office and requests for interview, a department spokesperson rehashed an old statement to say: "There have been no walk-outs in NSW Schools. NSW Teachers Federation members have held meetings outside of class time."
Tim Danaher, NSW Teachers' Federation country organiser for the region including Walgett, said it was "unacceptable" the department was not only not responding to the action taken by teachers, but denying it was happening in the first place.
"It's disappointing that the Department is continuing down the line that these are not stop work actions," Mr Danaher told the Leader.
It's disappointing that the Department is continuing down the line that these are not stop work actions.Tim Danaher
"These [walk outs] are not taken lightly, and are an action of last resort to protest the teacher shortages affecting all schools in the state."
In a previous statement, the Education Department outlined their pride in the fact teacher vacancies were down from last year's total.
"Across NSW, teacher vacancies are slightly down from this time last year, at around 1350, representing a vacancy rate of 1.8 per cent, a very low figure given we employ 74,000 teachers," the statement said.
But Mr Danaher said that was like saying "oh great, we only lost 10 people in the pool this year instead of 11."
While the Department has outlined the numerous incentives they've introduced to attract teachers to the region, the NSW Teachers' Federation has said clearly, they are not working.
The Federation put forward a proposal seeking to increase staff numbers to reduce the "exhausting" workload currently required of existing teachers at Walgett, and to attract staff to the other three small, rural schools, and other schools in the Connected Communities program.
"The findings of the recent Gallop Inquiry show that the state is in a teacher crisis right now," Mr Danaher said.
"These issues, these voices are not going away."
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