Top teachers get raises of up to $40,000 as part of government campaign promises

Based on the latest data from the NSW Education Department, there are around 70,000 full-time teachers. The teachers entitled to the highest salaries are identified by the department and individual schools, or selected from a pool of “highly qualified” or “leading” (HALT) teachers.

Data released late last year shows young teachers in NSW are leaving lucrative permanent jobs at the highest rate in 13 years, with one in nine now leaving the profession within five years.

“Can you pay more for an excellent teacher? According to research and advice, the answer is yes': NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.

“Can you pay more for an excellent teacher? According to research and advice, the answer is yes’: NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell.

Jessica Holloway of the Australian Catholic University, who has worked on teacher compensation and evaluation, said the teaching profession is facing a staffing crisis as fewer graduates are applying for teaching degrees.

“Rather than focus on a few teachers, we need to think more broadly about the teaching profession and whether current salaries should be increased across the board to get the desired effects. This is improved retention, conditions for teachers, and better student outcomes,” Holloway said.

The first cohort of 200 teachers eligible for higher pay will come from schools across NSW including Temora High, Woollahra Public, Girraween Public and Asquith Girls High.


The University of Melbourne’s John Hattie, who leads the pay reform advisory for NSW teachers, said the program will start with 52 schools. It is set up so that about 10 percent of teachers eventually qualify for the highest salaries.

“We have an attachment crisis and this is the time for reform. This has been tried and failed before, and this time we want to do it right. By starting this way, you can grow the program in a way that fits its purposes and goals,” Hattie said.

NSW has a scheme that allows public school teachers to be promoted to HALT positions, but only 310 teachers in NSW have been accredited under the subject scheme. The highly qualified teachers become part of the “potential selection talent pool” for the higher salary positions.


NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said while the announcement could result in additional pay for a “small part of the teaching service”, more than 90 per cent of teachers are left with a real pay cut.

Late last year, the Industrial Relations Commission awarded teachers a 6 percent real pay cut over two years.

“This performance pay announcement is not enshrined in any industry agreement and is nothing more than a distraction by a desperate government responsible for the teacher shortage,” he said.

Education program director at the Grattan Institute, Jordana Hunter, said the roles should be viewed as “the pinnacle of a professional teacher’s career.”

“It makes sense to start with a smaller number to ensure we grow the roles over time.”

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Callan Tansill

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