A report into long-term teacher supply and demand across all sectors has revealed public and private schools will continue to face significant challenges over the coming decade.
Releasing the ‘WA teacher demand and supply projections’ report today, Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan said the report analysed trends and projections to 2017.
“For the first time, we are releasing detailed workforce projections 10 years in advance so all sectors can plan ahead,” Mr McGowan said.
“The report shows a major shift in teacher distribution between the primary and secondary sectors over the coming years.
“Due to changes to the school starting age announced in 1996 and implemented in 2001, the student group now in Year Six is half as big as a normal year group. This group is known as the ‘half cohort’.
“As this group moves into secondary school and the primary sector experiences a full class load across all year groups, the demand for primary school teachers is expected to increase substantially.
“At the same time, the demand for secondary school teachers is expected to decrease as the half cohort moves through Years Eight to 12. This means we expect to have an excess of secondary teachers in 2010.”
The Minister said the modelled outcomes were based on current trends continuing and no action being taken.
“The Government now has two years to ensure that the situation is resolved for the start of the 2010 school year,” he said.
“Over the past year, the State Government has strongly focussed on addressing teacher supply and demand in the public school sector, with 17 separate initiatives recently being implemented.”
Some of these initiatives include:
· early recruitment of graduates and giving them a pay rise, making them among the highest paid in the country (outside the current EBA process);
· offering 1,300 university scholarships valued at up to $60,000 per individual;
· recruiting teachers interstate and overseas; and
· introducing changes to the Government Superannuation Scheme to allow teachers aged 55 and over to access their super while continuing to work.
In addition, the Department of Education and Training is also modernising its recruitment processes and practices and simplifying selection processes as part of the implementation of the Gerard Daniels review carried out last year.
“As a result, the Government established a special unit at the department to develop a dynamic workforce planning model, which has resulted in the development of this report,” Mr McGowan said.
The Minister said the data in the report showed more needed to be done over the coming years to deal with workforce planning into the future.
“There is a need for increased flexibility in the way we staff our schools,” he said.
“I have instructed the department to look at ways in which we can address the challenges of the future while keeping students as the first priority.”
Mr McGowan said the Government wanted to pay teachers much more.
“The Government wants to pay teachers more and offered pay increases ranging from 13.6 to 22 per cent, plus increased allowances of many thousands of dollars at hundreds of schools throughout the State,” he said.
“What this report clearly shows is that demands by the State School Teachers Union for smaller class sizes and increased time away from teaching will exacerbate the teacher shortage.
“Their demands would mean that public schools would need at least 350 additional teachers in the immediate future. With a growing student population in Western Australia (as forecast in the projections), the impact of these union claims will continue to grow, making the teacher shortage worse in the future.”
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