Red tape relief on the way for stretched NSW teachers

·2-min read
Paul Miller/AAP PHOTOS

Help is on its way for NSW teachers whose working lives have become bogged down by an ever-increasing pile of paperwork.

Education Minister Prue Car is delivering on an election promise to employ hundreds more administration staff to ease the bureaucratic burden on teachers to enable them to focus on their classroom work.

From term 3, another 284 public schools will be able to employ the equivalent of 400 full-time extra administration staff or offer more hours to existing staff.

Ms Car announced the new roles on Thursday at a stakeholder roundtable at Parramatta called to address the most urgent challenges in the state's schools.

"Teachers signed up to teach our children not to fill out paperwork," she said.

"More time to teach frees up teachers to focus on better outcomes in the classroom.

"We can't afford to see more teachers leave the profession at a time when we are already dealing with a teacher shortage crisis."

Addressing workload challenges is one of four focus areas of a new statement of intent agreed to by the NSW Teachers' Federation, Public Service Association and other key stakeholders.

The new staff will join the 203 administration roles already in 128 schools as part of the school administration improvement program since term three last year.

Feedback from the initial trial showed a marked reduction in administrative workload on teachers, Ms Car said.

The program will be expanded across all 2200 schools next year.

The tasks the new administration staff can remove from teachers' workload include timetabling, preparing excursions, liaising with bus companies, organising permission slips, logging student performance data into spreadsheets, managing parental payments, updating newsletters, social media, and school apps as well as texting parents about events.

The government is promising a suite of initiatives to be rolled out in schools in the next two years to reduce the workload of teachers and principals.

The PSA, which represents administrative school staff, welcomed the move.

"Support staff is critical to making sure our kids, especially those with disabilities, learning difficulties, and challenging home environments, can make it through the mainstream school system," PSA general secretary Stewart Little said.

"This investment ... will allow teachers to concentrate on lesson preparation and quality teaching."