IEU: Premier's plan for teachers is unworkable, insulting, unsafe

Teacher shortage births another ill-conceived plan in NSW
Jan 17, 2022
Teachers not consulted, again

The teacher shortage is becoming acute and NSW is planning to have retired teachers return to the classroom and fast track final year students so they can start teaching.

The IEU is not enthusiastic saying that throwing newly minted teachers in at the deep end will create further problems and believes returning retired teachers to schools is expecting a vulnerable group to step into the frontline.

“Yet again, the Premier has made a media announcement without any genuine consultation with school staff through their representative unions,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch Acting Secretary Michael Wright. “Our members are angry and are calling out the cavalier attitude of the NSW Government.”

“Fast-tracking accreditation is also fraught,” Wright said. “Support staff undertake work that is essential for schools to function – rushing them into classrooms will only create different shortages. 

“There is a clear risk here of undermining the teaching profession, and the consequences will only fall on students. New teachers would be thrown in the deep end without support.”

“Instead of posing far-fetched ideas for filling staff shortages the NSW Government knew about well before Omicron emerged, the government should be focusing on a safe return-to-school plan that facilitates proper ventilation and easy access to free rapid-antigen tests and booster vaccinations,” Wright said. 

The IEU is also joining the ACTU today for an emergency meeting of unions throughout Australia to consider actions to keep all workers, including school staff, safe. 

“This proposal to return retired teachers to classrooms is unsound,” said IEUA NSW/ACT Branch President Christine Wilkinson. “Many are immunocompromised and at high risk of severe illness if exposed to COVID-19. It is especially concerning in the case of primary schools as countless young children have not yet received their vaccinations."

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