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2 min read

Permanent positions for long term casual teachers

Casual teacher

Teachers are being left on temporary employment contracts for up to two decades, leading to a torrent of people leaving the profession for better pay and employment conditions.

With looming teacher shortages across Australia, if the profession continues its current trajectory, we are heading for an education crisis.

In NSW three out of 10 teachers are employed on a temporary or casual basis, and more than two-thirds of these people are early career teachers.  Adding to this there has been a 50 per cent increase in temporary contracts within the sector in the past seven years.

How can teachers just starting in their career get loans and establish their lives, let alone their teaching careers when uncertain about future job prospects and the potential loss of income.

New teachers employed as casuals just try to survive. They don’t have the time or experience to use evidence-based approaches to teaching and class management. They usually try to perform as well as they can, so they get a subsequent job. This means they can be reluctant to let anyone know they need help.

Such teaching approaches can mean they are not attending to the students’ problem behaviours in a way that prevents them from reoccurring. This can lead to an escalation of these behaviours over time. 

Teachers need to develop a broad range of proactive strategies to build a positive learning environment and prevent student behaviour problems. They must also be able to intervene effectively to de-escalate issues when they arise.  Much of this learning is based on developing and refining classroom management strategies with the support of colleagues.

The increasing rates of long term casual teaching without permanent employment opportunities in the education system is having a negative impact on not only students learning, but on young teachers’ professional development and teacher retention rates.  We will keep losing them.

“While a number of principals legitimately employ casual and temporary teachers while permanent staff are away, many are unfortunately manipulating the staffing agreement. By using an unusual mixture of codes for the abilities they require, they effectively wipe out having a permanent teacher appointed to a vacancy by the Education Department. They exploit this to employ casuals or temps. If the casuals don’t turn out to be compliant, or are not prepared to take on all the extracurricular activities, they are likely to be replaced with a casual who will jump through hoops. This is an outcome of the department’s tardiness in auditing school staffing and has been going on for a long time.” Mark Berg

“As a temporary teacher with a permanent load (for the past seven years), there have been several instances in which a casual teacher has replaced me – the casual replacing the temporary.” Nicky Brookes



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