A NSW education chief has blamed a “build-up of superfluous policy” for so many teachers leaving the classroom in pursuit of other careers.
NSW Secretary Department of Education Murat Dizdir said while initiatives had been created with the “right intent” they have led to a “build up of superfluous policy” and extra workload for teachers.
Mr Dizdir also acknowledged the Department of Education hasn’t been “sharp enough to keep reviewing what we’re asking schools to do”.
This comes as the state government announced on Wednesday it will halve the more than 70 mandated changes and policies slated to start in Term 2 and will review and pause all pilots and programs which were supposed to start around the same time.
“We have the balance wrong here; no parent (or) student out there wants their teacher to be taken away from their core activity (of teaching students),” he said on Wednesday.
President of the NSW Teachers Union Angelo Gavrielatos welcomed the move and said the “administrative burden” placed on teachers has led to the exodus of staff and the current teaching shortage.
“Studies show teachers are working 150 times their paid hours, so teachers and principals are effectively doing two jobs,” he said.
“It’s refreshing to hear the Premier, Education Minister and new secretary acknowledge the extent of the problem.
“That goes a long way to restoring some hope for teachers, but hope is not enough. There’s been a start and we expect more announcements to come.”
While the new state government has cemented a goal to reduce weekly admin tasks by five hours per teacher, Education Minister Prue Car said the government was at the “beginning” of the process and could not yet say when cuts to admin hours would be rolled out.
Ms Car said new pilots will only continue after consultation with teachers and will focus on “simplifying and streamlining existing policies and new pilots in schools”.
“We’ll have a lot to say about this in the coming weeks and months,” she said.
“This is a message to parents and students and teachers that now you have a state government that actually is serious about relieving you of admin burden and is actually serious about putting you in the classroom.”
Mr Dizdir backed the decision to pause 41 pilot programs, like Cloud printing and Microsoft 11 initiatives, which would require educators to spend cumbersome hours on providing feedback.
“No teacher in public education signs up to grapple with policy, pilots and procedures – they sign up for the moral imperative to make a difference to young lives,” he said.
Further ideas will be discussed at a roundtable discussion within the next few weeks between the Education Minister and public education partners like the NSW Teachers Federation.
The government says these ideas will include strengthening wellbeing support for teachers to reduce burn out, expanding school counselling services, simplifying reporting to parents and improving the way schools support students with additional needs.
Originally published as Education chief admits redundant policy has led to admin flood