Number of teachers fired from public schools on the rise


A total of 57 teachers, including 16 casual teachers, were dismissed in 2017, which is nearly double the 32 dismissals in 2008.Photo: Louise KennerleyTeachers are being dismissed for being inefficient at their job at nearly three times the rate of previous years, and sexual misconduct remains one of the top reasons teachers are sacked.

Last year, 11 teachers in NSW government schools were dismissed or allowed to resign following proven allegations of sexual misconduct with students, and two were dismissed for sexual misconduct which didn’t involve students, including a casual teacher who was convicted of rape.

Four teachers were also sacked for offences related to child abuse material, including a casual teacher who was convicted of producing, disseminating and possessing child abuse material and using a carriage service to transmit, publish or promote the material.

Another 23 teachers were dismissed or allowed to resign after being deemed inefficient, compared to eight teachers in 2016 and six in 2015,according to NSW Department of Education data.

However,professor of education and equity at the University of Sydney Debra Hayes said these numbers most likely do not provide a full picture of the extent of the problem.

“I think the bigger question is what aren’t we finding out?” Professor Hayes said.

“I’d say both the figures related to sexual misconduct and inefficient teachers are likely to be severely under reported.

“When we know that these figures are generally under reported, to have such a big teaching force of 94,000 and to have 0.01 per cent identified as engaging in sexual misconduct suggests that there is a reporting issue.

“The concern is, are the practices that are in place to identify teachers engaged in misconduct and those deemed inefficient, are they sufficiently rigorous, do they give principals sufficient power?”

Source: NSW Department of Education, Teacher conduct and performance report

The number of full-time equivalent public school teachers has increased from 59,386 in 2008 to 64,967 in 2016. The department had about 49,000 permanent teachers and 45,000 registered casual teachers in 2017.

A total of 57 teachers, including 16 casual teachers, were dismissed in 2017, which is nearly double the 32 dismissals in 2008.

Additionally, 11 teachers were convicted for serious criminal offences last year. In the decade between 2008 and 2017, 153 teachers received criminal convictions.

Over that 10-year period, 404 teachers were dismissed or directed or allowed to resign for proven allegations of misconduct or failing a performance improvement program after they were found to be underperforming.

Of the 404 sacked teachers, 174 were placed on the department’s ‘Not to be Employed’ (NTBE) list and another three were “not recommended for furtheremployment”.

A spokesman for the department said some teachers who are sacked for being inefficient are allowed to teach again.

“Where a teacher has been terminated for poor performance as a permanent teacher but may previously have successfully taught as a casual teacher or may have been an inexperienced probationary teacher, they may in certain circumstances be issued with a limited casual approval allowing them to teach under certain monitored conditions,” the spokesman said.

Last year, 11 of the 57 teachers who were dismissed were not placed on the NTBE list, including a former principal with casual approval to teach who failed to notify of a sexual assault allegation.

Another three teachers who were deemed inefficient were “not recommended for further employment without being placed on the NTBE list.

“The NTBE list is an administrative list that is internal to the department,” the spokesman said.

“In some circumstances teachers sign a legal Deed of Release agreeing not to work for the department again as an alternative to being placed on the NTBE list.

“The teacher may have a serious health conditionand it is clear they will not work for the department or any employer again so their name does not need to be placed on [the] NTBE list.”

Sydney Morning Herald

Comments are closed.