Young NSW teachers quitting in record numbers

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The teachers union says the real rate of early career teachers quitting is actually far higher because official NSW figures only include teachers in permanent positions. About two-thirds of early career teachers are employed on temporary contracts or casually.

“We are in real danger of losing the future of the profession at a time when we can least afford to with widespread teacher shortages, rising enrolments, an ageing workforce and the number of people studying to become a teacher dropping by 30 per cent,” NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said.

“It is only by acting on unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries that this government can reduce the number of teachers leaving and make the profession more attractive to the high achievers we urgently need.”

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But Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the number of teachers leaving the teaching profession early in their careers had remained largely stable.

“It’s all too easy for the inquiry to focus on just one statistic and ignore the fact that only this government has a plan to attract and train the talented teachers we need,” she said.

“We have created a $100 million induction and support package for new teachers, particularly those in more challenging schools, which includes additional release time and mentoring,” she said.

Despite the figures, the department has maintained the resignation rate of new permanent teachers is stable, calling the retention rate “very healthy” in answers to questions on notice.

The data provided to the inquiry showed last year’s resignation rate of teachers in their first five years was the highest since 2008, when 12.1 per cent quit.

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Department figures show the overall separation rate – which includes workers retiring, resigning and dying – for teachers of any level was relatively stable in the five years to 2021, when it sat at 4.7 per cent.

However, the rate of teachers resigning rose from 1.3 per cent to 2.2 per cent in the same period.

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Speaking at the inquiry, NSW Department of Education chief people officer Chris Lamb said the separation rate of new teachers was higher than the department wanted it to be.

He said the department’s modelling indicated it currently had enough teachers to meet demand until at least 2025.

“But it also indicates … supply is more constrained in some subjects like mathematics and in some regional and rural areas,” he said.

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