Hand Rasied in Classroom
Hand Rasied in Classroom

Complaints about dodgy teachers ‘not being heard’

The state's P&C Federation has launched a scathing attack on the Department of Education, claiming its management of lousy teachers has been plagued by "a defensive mindset".

The organisation has dec­lared complaints about staff often went nowhere with concerned parents often copping a "nothing to see here" response from principals.

"This bureaucratic defensiveness of the NSW Department of Education will be familiar to many who have made complaints about the conduct of school staff," a statement said.

"The complaint may go up the chain of command, and the parent may never hear of it again. If they persistently ­follow up on it, they often get no response."

The P and C Association said qualified as “serious misconduct” was arbitrary, meaning a teacher who hit a student could be considered low level.
The P and C Association said qualified as “serious misconduct” was arbitrary, meaning a teacher who hit a student could be considered low level.


The Federation has also taken aim at the recent review of the Employee and Performance Conduct Directorate, the body which investigates accusations against teachers.

"We had recommended to the review that a teacher being investigated for their teaching or ability to provide a safe environment should not be left unsupervised while under ­investigation," it said.

The NSW Auditor General found just 0.1 per cent of the workforce had been dismissed for misconduct last year, a rate well below international counterparts like the United Kingdom
The NSW Auditor General found just 0.1 per cent of the workforce had been dismissed for misconduct last year, a rate well below international counterparts like the United Kingdom

In the statement, the Federation also claimed the distinction between low-level or serious misconduct was of great concern.

"How EPAC decides what qualifies as serious misconduct remains very arbitrary, and ­according to the report, even a teacher hitting a student is treated by EPAC as 'low-level', as long as the student is not ­injured. Instead, the recommendations will entrench or exacerbate the defensive mindset of the department, and the wellbeing of students will not be any different to what it is now."

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It comes after a NSW Auditor General report last month revealed senior staff were afraid of calling out bad ­teachers fearing that they would be accused of bullying.  

The Auditor General found just 0.1 per cent of the workforce had been dismissed for misconduct last year, a rate well below international counterparts such as the UK where 3 per cent of the workforce was sacked for malpractice.

An Education Department spokesman said it "takes teacher misconduct very seriously which is why we commissioned the Tedeschi review, to ensure that EPAC is effectively managing allegations of staff misconduct to the highest standards.

"We anticipate recommendations from the Tedeschi ­Review to be implemented by early 2020," he said.