Public school teachers are being offered $4,000 cash payments and $7,000 pay rises, in a bid to encourage more expert teaching roles.
The NSW government will offer the payment to teachers who gain Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher (HALF) accreditation. Despite being introduced more than a decade ago, there are currently just 310 teachers in NSW that have been accredited under the program.
Teachers will also receive an immediate $7,000 pay rise once they have finished their HALT accreditation, the government said. Previously, teachers had to wait up to two years before they received the pay boost.
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said accreditation recognised “highly effective, innovative and exemplary teaching practice” and also allowed teachers to access salaries of up to $120,000.
“These new incentives will attract even more teachers to put their hand up and gain recognition for their work,” Mitchell said.
The government is hoping to increase the number of HALT-accredited teachers to at least 2,500 by 2025, and said almost 600 new teachers had signed up for the program since last year.
How to receive the $4,000 bonus
The incentives will be available if the Coalition is re-elected in March.
Public teachers can receive a $2,000 one-off payment upon their successful completion of HALT module 1 and an additional $2,000 upon their completion of HALT module 2.
Highly Accomplished teacher accreditation currently costs $605, while Lead Teacher accreditation costs $715.
It comes as NSW public schools face a “classroom crisis”, with new figures revealing the state has the worst student-teacher ratio in Australia. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, NSW had more than 14 students per teacher in 2022, more than every other state and territory.
“Failing to act on unsustainable workloads and uncompetitive salaries has led to an exodus of teachers from the profession, with resignations now overtaking retirements,” NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said.
“Without urgent action, the situation is only going to get worse.”