Young NSW teachers are quitting in record numbers

The teachers’ union says the actual quit rate for entry-level teachers is actually much higher, as official NSW figures only include permanent teachers. Around two-thirds of prospective teachers are employed on fixed-term contracts or on a casual basis.

“We are in grave danger of losing the future of the profession at a time when we can least afford it, with widespread teacher shortages, rising enrollment, an aging workforce and a 30 percent decline in student teacher enrollment. said Angelo Gavrielatos, President of the NSW Teachers Federation.

“Only by tackling unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries can this administration reduce teacher attrition and make the profession more attractive to the high achievers we desperately need.”

However, Education Secretary Sarah Mitchell said the number of teachers leaving the teaching profession early in their careers has remained broadly stable.

“It’s all too easy for the inquiry to focus on just one statistic and ignore the fact that only this government has a plan to attract and train the talented teachers we need,” she said.

“We created a $100 million induction and support package for new teachers, particularly those in more demanding schools, that includes additional time off and mentoring,” she said.

Despite the numbers, the department has kept the resignation rate of new permanent teachers stable and called the retention rate “very healthy” in responses to questions about termination.

Data provided for the research showed that teachers’ quitting rates in their first five years last year were the highest since 2008, when 12.1 percent resigned.

The department’s figures show that the overall separation rate — including employee retirements, terminations and deaths — was relatively stable for teachers at all levels over the five years to 2021, when it stood at 4.7 percent.

However, the drop-out rate of teachers increased from 1.3 percent to 2.2 percent in the same period.


Chris Lamb, chief people officer of the NSW Department of Education, said at the inquiry the separation rate for new teachers is higher than the department wanted.

He said the department’s modeling showed it currently had enough teachers to meet demand until at least 2025.

“But it also indicates that the supply is more limited in some subjects, such as mathematics, and in some regional and rural areas,” he said.

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Joel McCord

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