Thousands of NSW teachers struggle for work in flooded jobs market
Jul 14, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
While 47,000 qualified teachers are unable to find a permanent job in NSW schools, key subject areas face serious teaching shortages.
A NSW education department staffing report says the number of teachers without a permanent position has grown by 3000 in two years, as uncapped university enrolments have produced a glut of graduates competing for a finite number of permanent jobs.
Around 2200 new permanent teachers are appointed by the state each year but NSW universities produce some 7500 graduates.
The Teaching Workforce Supply and Demand report says oversupply has been exacerbated by the lowest level of teacher resignations in decades.
While the Baird government is the first in Australia to have introduced new academic benchmarks for trainee teachers, including the attainment of at least three band 5 qualifications at HSC (including English), any drop in applicant numbers will not be felt in the jobs market for at least four years.
The department employs close to 49,000 permanent school teachers across the state, spread in roughly equal numbers across the primary and secondary sectors.
And while primary schools are grossly oversupplied with applicants, there are shortages in specialist subject areas identified by the federal Government as key to Australia’s future development.
The report warns of a decreasing supply of maths teachers across the state, stating: “Any increase in retirement rates above current projected levels and to a lesser extent an increase in resignation rates would have a substantial negative impact on the total net supply of mathematics teachers”.
Supply projections up to 2022 show potential teacher shortages in languages, maths, science with physics, and some technological and applied studies areas.
It says shortages could also occur in engineering science, industrial technology and combinations of subjects such as food technology with textiles technology.
The report says: “The department’s view is that some of the resources currently being allocated to primary teacher education could be better used in secondary areas of need.”
A department spokesperson said 320 public school teachers would receive an opportunity to retrain as maths and science specialists over the next four years and some 80 scholarships would be offered to incentivise candidates into specialist teacher roles.
Federal Government rules introduced at the beginning of this month stipulate new Australian teachers must pass literacy and numeracy tests before graduating to ensure their preparedness for the job.