Sunday, October 17, 2021

NSW plans an advertising campaign to recruit 3700 new teachers needed to plug school shortages

This is pissing into the wind. It's not more propaganda that's needed. It is reforms designed to make teaching less stressful. Teachers have to put up with constant bureaucracy and constant bad behaviour from students. So only a loser would normally now choose a job in teaching.

The key to improvement is to re-establish realistic discipline policies. Unruly students have to be prevented from making life hell for everyone around them

The NSW Department of Education will promote the joy of teaching, poach teachers from overseas and identify regional students suitable for the profession while they are still in high school as part of a multi-pronged plan to avert a looming teacher shortage.

Pay remains a point of contention, with the NSW Teachers Federation saying shortages will continue without higher salaries. But the department insists its new teacher supply strategy will attract 3700 extra teachers over 10 years without a significant wage rise.

Award negotiations have begun, and the department has offered teachers 2.5 per cent a year - the highest rise possible under the public sector wage cap imposed by this government. However, the federation rejected the offer and is standing by its claim of 5 to 7.5 per cent a year.

The looming teacher shortage, detailed in internal NSW Department of Education documents, is due to a declining number of people choosing it as a career, a significant proportion of the workforce heading to retirement, and growing enrolment numbers.

The department’s strategy, released this week, involves recruiting teachers from overseas and interstate, improving perceptions of teaching - including with an advertising campaign - and accelerating the careers of high-performing teachers.

The department will also encourage more teachers to train in high-needs areas by providing mid-career pathways in those areas; helping teachers’ assistants become fully qualified; and training teachers in high-demand skills such as maths.

It aims to get teachers to regional and rural schools with a new incentive scheme and scholarships.

The plan for the bush also includes a pilot scheme to identify high school students in regional areas who have the potential to become teachers, and offering them a year’s paid experience in a school before supporting them through university with scholarships.

“There’s a lot of elements to it, and that’s for a reason,” said Education Minister Sarah Mitchell. “There’s a number of issues and complexities in terms of how we manage staffing in our schools, and the challenges are nuanced.

“I’ve been having regular round tables with teachers from all over the state. What has come through is the joy - how much they enjoy their job, how much they feel connected and responsible for the students. They talk about students as if they are their own.”

The department said it used workforce modelling, analysis of teacher supply and demand, and tactics that worked elsewhere to develop the strategy, which it expects will deliver 3700 teachers over 10 years, including 1600 in the first five years.

However, past attempts to boost teacher pipelines show mixed results from strategies such as incentives, scholarships and mid-career pathways. Over 10 years, Victoria’s Teach for Australia program, which fast-tracks people from other professions into teaching, produced just 619 teachers.

Regional incentive schemes have existed for years, and have been tweaked many times, but teacher numbers in the bush are still dropping. There are teacher shortages overseas and interstate, which could also make poaching teachers difficult.

One internal department document also said it was unclear whether there was much demand for teaching assistants to become fully qualified.

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Angelo Gavrielatos, said the shortage was a direct result of non-competitive salaries and unsustainable workloads. “If we don’t pay teachers what they are worth, we won’t get the teachers we need,” he said.

However, Ms Mitchell said NSW teachers were paid well compared with those interstate and overseas. “There are opportunities for career progression, there are opportunities to teach in rural and regional schools, and it’s also about creating more opportunities,” she said.


Australian government buys 15k doses of Covid drug that cured Donald Trump

The drug used to treat former US President Donald Trump for Covid-19 will soon be available in Australia after the government inked a contract for 15,000 doses of the antibody-based treatment Ronapreve.

Ronapreve, one of two new treatments Australia has ordered, along with an antiviral drug still under development by Pfizer, has been shown to reduce the risk of hospitalisation and death by up to 70 per cent in patients diagnosed with Covid-19.

The drug is made up of a combination of two antibodies which together block the SARS-CoV-2 virus from spreading. It can be given intravenously in a doctor’s surgery, and is expected to be mainly used to stop unvaccinated people becoming seriously ill.

The first doses will arrive before the end of October and added to the National Medical Stockpile.

The government has also reached an agreement with Pfizer for 500,000 doses of the company’s new antiviral drug, which is still in clinical trials. It is hoped the treatment, which is to be taken by mouth every 12 hours for five days, will stop people who have been exposed to the virus from becoming sick.

It works by blocking an enzyme the virus needs to grow.


New Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina docks in locked-down Hobart

image from

It was not quite the celebratory fanfare planned but Australia's new icebreaker RSV Nuyina has finally arrived in Hobart.

The state-of-the art ship slipped quietly into Hobart after celebrations to welcome it were put on ice because of a snap COVID-19 lockdown.

The $528 million ship has taken 10 years to design and build and is bigger, faster and capable of staying at sea longer than its predecessor, the Aurora Australis.

It paused briefly in the middle of the Derwent and showed off its 360 degree-turning capabilities, spinning several times and blasting its horn.

While residents with a view of the River Derwent were able to watch it arrive, people were no longer permitted to greet the ship on the river or on the docks.

The Nuyina began its 24,000-kilometre journey from the Netherlands to Australia six weeks ago.

Australian Antarctic Division chief scientist Nicole Webster said the ship had exciting capabilities for scientists. "We've been describing her as Disneyland for scientists," she told ABC Radio Hobart.

"She comes absolutely bristling with sensors that are really going to act like eyes and ears and they can collect mountains of data in real-time, so things like echo sounders that help us locate fish populations and krill swarms.

"It has hydrophones that can listen in on marine mammals and whales and seals it has underwater cameras that allow us to see into areas of the Southern Ocean that we've never been able to see before."

She said the ship will collect oceanographic and atmospheric data.

"It enables us to do things like artificial intelligence, we can track individual whales and then use some of those data streams to predict where those whale populations might be, so it's really going to transform our future science capabilities," Professor Webster said.

The AAD's Mark Horstman has been on board for the delivery voyage and said it had been a "very comfortable ride". "I think we've been on board nearly 50 days," Mr Horstman said. "We were all amazed at how well the ship handled and put it down to the anti-rolling ballast water system … the sea was heaving but people on board weren't heaving."

He was also excited by the scientific capabilities.

"I was pretty thrilled to see the moon pool, the fact that a ship can have a doorway straight down into the ocean so even if you're surrounded by sea ice you can put all kinds of equipment down," Mr Horstman said.

"We got to jump into it to celebrate crossing the equator."

The ship's name, pronounced noy-yee-nah, means southern lights in palawa kani, the language of Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

The name was suggested by school students after a national competition in 2017 and was given formal approval by Tasmania's Indigenous community.

The Nuyina will undertake two years of testing, including ice trials in Antarctica.

Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said it would be much more than a supply ship for Australia's Antarctic bases.

"She's got some pretty incredible laboratories and ability and capability so don't just think about this vessel as transporting our expeditioners south and bringing the gear there and back, she's a floating laboratory, 20 laboratories in fact," she said.




No comments: