A report released days before a new teacher staffing agreement was to be announced, has revealed that at NSW public schools up 20 per cent of teachers are stuck in temporary positions and feel they need to compete with colleagues for work.
The survey of NSW Teachers Federation members was released as a joint venture from UNSW, University of Sydney, University of Technology Sydney, and Curtin University.
It concluded that more men are in permanent positions than women, and only 27 per cent of those in temporary jobs indicated that they were there by choice.
NSW Riverina casual teacher Greg Adamson, based in Griffith, is among the minority, having chosen the temporary career path for the benefits it provides his life.
"I never went into teaching to do it full-time," Mr Adamson said.
"With the seasonality in agricultural work, I thought casual teaching would be a complimentary career."
"They feel they have to jump through extra hoops or take on extra work just to have their contracts renewed or to be considered for a permanent position."
While temporary work provides the necessary leeway for Mr Adamson to continue his agricultural pursuits, he recognises that for the vast majority of workers, the lack of job security is less than ideal.
"It works for me, but I would hate for it to be the norm," he said.
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Lead author in the study, Dr Meghan Stacey of the UNSW School of Education said there is also a perceived lack of equity between teachers, which can push temporary teachers beyond reasonable limits.
There's an unspoken pressure on temporary teachers to 'do more' to increase their chance of getting more work," Dr Stacey said.
Last week, the NSW Department of Education announced it had reached an agreement with the NSW Teachers Federation, covering the staffing of 2,200 public schools.
"NSW public schools will continue to be allocated a permanent staffing entitlement based on student enrolment and the Agreement specifically addresses the requirement for all teaching positions to be filled on a permanent basis by appropriately qualified teachers," a spokesperson for the department said.
"The new agreement will provide an opportunity for a new group of more than 1,000 schools to appoint an eligible temporary teacher to a full-time permanent teaching role this year."
Over the past five years in NSW, 5000 permanent and temporary positions have been added to the teaching profession with 900 of these placed in regional areas.
When asked by Australian Community Media the spokesperson for the department said the new agreement represented that "permanent teachers employed by the department continue to enjoy job security".
The new agreement will also give priority service for transfer to hard-to-staff locations, which is intended to create an incentive for permanency.
"The department will be making earlier offers of permanent employment to high performing graduate teachers, strengthening our position as an employer of choice for graduating teachers," the spokesperson said.