Television Interview with Natalie Barr – Sunrise – Friday 12 August 2022


SUBJECTS: National teacher shortage, Education Ministers Meeting

NATALIE BARR: Education Ministers will meet with educators and principals today at a special round table aimed at addressing the national teacher shortage. The number of teachers in training has fallen by 16 per cent in the past decade, meaning at least 4000 more positions will need to be filled in the coming years to meet demand. Joining me now is the Education Minister, Jason Clare.

Good morning to you.


BARR: Now, tell us what you’re hoping to achieve from today’s meeting.

CLARE: Well, there aren’t many jobs in the country that are more important than teachers and we don’t have enough of them. So, what today is about is bringing Ministers for Education from across the country, but also school teachers across the country, principals from across the country and other experts to help us develop a plan to recruit more teachers and keep the invaluable teachers that we’ve already got in the classroom. We’ve got two parts to this problem, not enough young people wanting to become teachers. You just gave that statistic of a drop of 16 per cent of young people going into teaching in the last ten years. On top of that, we’ve got more and more teachers leaving the classroom feeling burnt out or worn out. So we need solutions to tackle both of those issues and that’s what we’re focused on today.

BARR: Yeah, and you need them now, don’t you? This is urgent. I stood out in the last protest in Sydney on Macquarie Street and talked to them and they said we’re not even teaching anymore. We are spending so much of our day just doing paperwork and we have been telling the Government this for so many years. That’s a huge problem, isn’t it?

CLARE: It’s a problem now. It’s not just because of COVID or the flu, it’s a problem that’s going to get worse if we don’t do anything about it. Anybody watching who knows a teacher knows it’s true that teachers don’t just start at 9 o’clock and finish at 3 o’clock. That idea is rubbish. It’s all the admin work that they have to do to prepare for everything from excursions to anything else they have to do. It’s also all the lesson preparation that involves an enormous amount of work when school’s finished. So one of the things we’ll talk about today, one of the things the New South Wales Government is doing some great work on already, is are there jobs in the school that teachers are doing that somebody else could do to free teachers up so they’ve got more time to teach?

BARR: So how do you get more teachers quickly? Because you can’t train them in five minutes and there’s a chronic teacher shortage and there’s so many saying, we’re leaving very quickly.

CLARE: That’s a good point, Nat. We’ve got a lot of teachers who’ve been a teacher for one, two or three years who then walk out the door. Part of that is because they feel underprepared. So one of the things I want to talk about today is how do we get better practical experience for first-year students? What about paid internships for final-year students so they get better practical experience? You’ve got trainee teachers in the school, but also a better induction process for first-year teachers, mentoring support for teachers, and also some assistance with classroom behaviour management for teachers who are just getting going in their first one or two years.

BARR: Okay, well, good luck with the meeting. We might keep in touch and see how it’s going. Thanks Jason.

CLARE: Terrific, thanks Nat.


Media Contact: Korena Flanagan – 02 9790 2466