Former WA Premier Dr Geoff Gallop was in Armidale on Tuesday evening to present his findings as chair of an inquiry commissioned by the NSW Teacher's Federation which examined the changing nature of teaching since 2004.
NSW teachers face increased workloads and an urgent pay rise of up to 15 per cent is needed, according to the independent assessment of the teaching profession.
More than 40 members of the local education system were in attendance at the Armidale Bowling Club where Dr Gallop presented a summary of his report that makes a worrying public education system prophecy.
President of Armidale Teachers Association Michael Sciffer said he welcomed the findings but was not surprised by them.
"The inquiry shows that the complexity and demands of teaching have profoundly amplified over the last fifteen years," Mr Sciffer said.
"The professional requirements of teachers have increased, we are laser focused on meeting individual student learning needs, there has been a massive increase in administrative work, and schools are expected to not only identify, but provide essential welfare and mental health support to students.
"This has occurred alongside cuts to the Department of Education and a declining salary compared to other professions.
"It is not surprising that there is now a severe shortage of teachers across NSW.
"From metropolitan Sydney to the far west, public schools are going years with teacher vacancies, and losing teachers to other professions, as the government has failed to value our work.
"In particular, beginning teachers are baulking at taking permanent positions as they become aware of the high personal costs of the profession.
"If the Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell is truly concerned about teacher shortages in rural NSW, she needs to make the career much more attractive."
The inquiry accepted 1000 submissions from teachers over a twelve month period.
A series of recommendations are made in the 200-page report including a pay rise of between 10 and 15 per cent over the next two years, an increase in teacher's preparation time and the provision of more specialist support teachers.
"At the same time as these increases in work, complexity and responsibility there has been a decline in the relative position of teacher salaries alongside that of other professions and a reduced attractiveness of public sector teaching as a career," the report states.
NSW teachers have had a 2.5 per cent growth cap on their wages since 2011, in line with all public sector wages. Recently the NSW government further reduced that cap to between 0.3 and 1.5 per cent for the next three years.
Bruce Myers is the Teachers' Federation representative of Armidale Secondary, he says that fifteen years ago it was was possible to run extra-curricular programs like sport and music but this is no longer the case.
"Now, given the high volume of workload, student welfare, curriculum, community expectations, and teaching standards, offering extra-curricular opportunities to our students is almost impossible," he said.
Report author Dr Gallop found teachers had not been compensated for the rise in their skills and responsibilities and had seen their salaries decline.
"We're in a dangerous situation. There are already serious teacher shortages coming into the system," Mr Gallop said.
He told AAP a crisis is looming because of extreme workload pressures and the pay disparity with other professions.
The report also recommends that teachers have an extra two hours a week to prepare lessons and collaborate with colleagues.
"We know that teachers are under huge pressure.. the (teacher) shortages gives us a clear signal that we need to do something," Dr Gallop said.
Teachers are often driven by their passion for the profession but the pressure is taking its toll according to to the treasurer of Armidale Teachers Association Deborah Moore.
"Teaching young people is the best job in the world, but when you are overloaded with compliance paperwork, it is hard to finish before 11pm most evenings," she said.
"The level of exhaustion has made the work unattractive to many teachers."
Dr Gallop and NSW Teachers' Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos will tour the state in the coming weeks to present the inquiry findings to Teachers' Federation members before giving a parliamentary briefing on March 16.
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