Teachers have been promised an extra $9.3 million for the $328 million National Teacher Workforce Action Plan in the federal budget, as the government tackles growing concerns over the national teacher shortage.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers pledged a raft of measures targeting the training and retention of teachers, alongside significant investments aimed at the childcare sector, support for cheaper childcare and funding $74.4 million for building and developing the skills of the early childhood education workforce.
Teachers are increasingly burning out and leaving the profession due to umanageable workloads coupled with salaries that have been outpaced by inflation.
High school English teacher Kiruba Ranjit said national teacher shortages meant educators were often going above and beyond their scope of knowledge, with teachers compelled to learn coding and stem subjects to cover staff cuts in schools.
“It’s become quite unsustainable, and so we often just talk about jumping ship, because why are we doing this to ourselves?” she said. “It’s just our students that keep us in the jobs.
“It’s sad because you have classes that are grouped together and they are just supervised because they don’t have enough funding.”
NSW is expected to boost its commitment to the state’s schooling resource standard (SRS) with the government funnelling over $337.3 million into education.
I hope it’s not simply a ‘let’s throw money at the problem’ situation, but will lead to a meaningful and sustainable use of the money to recruit new teachers, reduce class sizes and allow for more teacher autonomy.
Professor Carol Mills, director of Public Policy and Governance at UTS, said the move was “positive that the budget identified initiatives to support education” and that “progressing the National Teacher Workforce Action Plan remains vital for teachers”.
A recent study conducted by the Black Dog Institute found 47 per cent of teachers are currently considering resigning from their profession, due to an immense workload and high rates of burnout.
Ranjit remains hopeful the sector will improve.
“This is a positive step in the right direction and I am hopeful that this change of leadership is breathing hope into a failing education system,” she said.
“I hope it’s not simply a ‘let’s throw money at the problem’ situation, but will lead to a meaningful and sustainable use of the money to recruit new teachers, reduce class sizes and allow for more teacher autonomy.”
A survey administered by Monash University found despite the problems in the sector, eight in 10 teachers still feel passionately about education and their work with young people.
Main image of Kiruba Ranjit supplied.