A pilot to put high-performing teachers on the same pay as a deputy principal will be expanded to attract more educators to NSW public schools.
The salaries of 200 teachers in more than 50 schools will jump to $152,000 (US$104,530) under the program to recognise excellence in classroom teaching and have more experienced teachers supporting junior colleagues.
That pilot will expand to 800 positions this year under a $100 million election promise announced by Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on Tuesday.
“It’s about making sure we’ve got a great pathway for teachers to keep people in the classroom but also acknowledge their professional expertise,” Ms Mitchell told reporters.
Teacher pay scales are mostly based on years in the classroom, topping out at $113,000 in their seventh year.
Those accredited as highly accomplished or lead teachers earn $120,300.
While the goal was to have 10 per cent of teachers in the new pay bracket of $152,000, Mitchell couldn’t say when that would happen.
“That will be determined in terms of how the first 800 positions roll out,” she said.
“This is quite a seismic cultural shift, and we need to do it right.”
Premier Dominic Perrottet defended the government’s lack of detail on achieving the 10 percent goal.
“It’s about having a goal, breaking down generational stagnation caused by the teachers’ union,” he told reporters.
The government also committed to expanding a program that hands principals in 10 schools more hiring and firing power.
The new 40 schools to take part in the pilot program will be confirmed by the end of the year.
“This is about cutting bureaucratic red tape so that our kids get the very best learning experience and can thrive at school,” Perrottet said.
NSW has about 56,000 full-time-equivalent public school teaching positions, with another 900 specialist support staff.
That total is 50 fewer than in 2018, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data, with 4100 fewer students in public schools too.
Labor leader Chris Minns said it was “curious” that the government’s plan to address several challenges in the system was to give one per cent of teachers a $40,000 bonus.
The real problem was teacher vacancies in NSW schools, which exceed 3000, he said.
“There’s been a 30 per cent drop in the number of school leavers that are choosing to study education at university,” he told the McKell Institute.