VIOLENT student behaviour, harassment from parents and increasingly poor working conditions are being blamed for rookie Hunter teachers leaving the profession, with some quitting after just 12 months.
Information obtained by the Newcastle Herald under freedom of information legislation reveals that last year more than 50per cent of full-time teachers who resigned in the combined Hunter and Central Coast region had less than 10 years’ experience in the job.
Of these more than 30per cent had less than five years’ experience.
NSW Teachers Federation Hunter organiser Fred Dumbrell described the region’s burnout rate among new teachers as a ‘‘worrying trend’’ for public education.
Mr Dumbrell said alarm bells should be ringing, particularly when the number of Hunter teachers approaching retirement age was taken into consideration.
‘‘Some schools in the Hunter will lose more than half of their staff to retirement in the next three years,’’ he said.
‘‘This is a clear indication that we need to nurture our talented new teachers and stop them from leaving.’’
Last year the region lost 236 teachers to retirement and 63 resigned.
In the past five years 348 teachers have resigned, with more than one-third having less than five years’ experience and more than half less than 10 years.
Over the same period 1147 teachers retired.
A NSW Education and Training Department spokesman played down the resignation and retirement rate in the Hunter and Central Coast, describing them as being ‘‘very low’’.
He said the resignation rate was 1.3per cent in 2008 and 1per cent in 2009. NSW retention rates for teachers in their first year of service was 97per cent and almost 90per cent in the first five years.
‘‘There is a variety of reasons for a small number of teachers resigning in their early years of service, including personal reasons, travel and changed career directions,’’ he said.
Mr Dumbrell said teachers were being asked to do more with limited resources and their physical working environments were ‘‘terrible’’.
He said the aim should be to keep new teachers in the school workforce for at least 30 years.
‘‘We have been worried about this for quite a while, it is obvious these ... entry teachers are not getting the support they need,’’ he said.
The department spokesman said there were numerous programs in place to ensure a smooth transition to teaching, including professional development opportunities, mentoring and relief time for probationary teachers.