Teachers Federation members at Maitland Public School walked off the job on Thursday morning over what they claim is the negative impact the state-wide teacher shortage is having on their school.
The staff returned to class in late morning and, according to Jack Galvin Waight, regional organiser of the NSW Teachers federation, were "fed up and wanted to send a message to the State Government".
"This isn't going to go away - they need to fix this problem or there will be more of these sort of walkouts across the State," he said. "There's a teacher crisis ... wages are low and workloads are high. There has been no workplace planning for a long time."
But a NSW Education Department spokesperson said the number of permanent teacher vacancies in NSW public schools is less than 2% of the overall teaching workforce.
"Schools, like any workplace, fluctuate in their staffing, and while a lot of movement occurs at the beginning and end of the year, schools are not immune to midyear changes," the spokesperson said.
"Schools try to fill these positions as quickly as possible, but finding the right teacher for the position is not a quick process. For rural and remote schools, this often means the applicant needs to move to the area, which does not happen quickly.
"The department is working with staff and schools in regional areas to provide more flexibility and make it easier for schools to attract and retain staff.
"The Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell, recently ordered a review into the current incentives scheme to see how we can better attract and retain top quality teachers in regional parts of the State."
NSW Teachers Federation Deputy President Henry Rajendra said staff walked out over the failure of the NSW Government to properly staff public schools and the disruption caused to their school when colleagues are on leave.
"Classes are being split and teaching and learning programs are disrupted when casual teachers are unavailable because of the state-wide teacher shortage," Mr Rajendra said.
"Maitland Public School has been unable to cover numerous classes of absent colleagues and our members have voted to take further action unless the NSW Government acts to resolve the teacher shortage.
"Staff at Maitland have recognised it is a fundamental human right for children, no matter what their circumstances, to have a quality education.
"Central to this, is the right of every class to have an appropriately qualified teacher."
Mr Rajendra said the Gallop Inquiry into the work of teachers found earlier this year that uncompetitive salaries for teachers and unsustainable workloads are leading to teacher shortages.
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