AAP FactCheck

Restoring confidence in public statements by independently testing and verifying the facts

Did the number of teachers in NSW schools more than double under Labor compared to the increase under the Liberal government?

By Louise Evans, James Lane & Tiffanie Turnbull

The Statement

“Labor increased the number of school teachers by 23 per cent during its time in office. The Liberal and Nationals have only increased teacher numbers by just 11 per cent over the last eight years.”

NSW shadow education minister Jihad Dib claims Labor has a stronger history of supporting teachers. March 11, 2019.

The Analysis

The Labor opposition has promised to employ an additional 5065 teachers for NSW public schools if it wins the March 23 election. [1]

AAP FactCheck examined Mr Dib’s claims the number of school teachers increased by 23 per cent during Labor’s 1995-2011 term, while the increase in teacher numbers under the Liberal-National coalition was “just 11 per cent over the last eight years”.

AAP FactCheck found Mr Dib’s claims were ambiguous.

AAP FactCheck requested the Labor opposition provide the source of the figures used to support Mr Dib’s claims. Labor sent AAP FactCheck a table which a Labor spokesperson said came from a NSW Parliament research report and was based on figures compiled from NSW Department of Education annual reports dated 1995, 2013 and 2017.

The supplied table showed 49,697 full-time equivalent (FTE) teachers were employed in NSW government schools in 1995 when the previous Labor government was elected. By the time Labor was voted out in 2011, the number of teachers had increased by 23.6 per cent to 61,144.

The supplied table also showed that under the coalition from 2011 to 2017, the number of teachers in government schools grew by 7.5 per cent - from 61,144 to 65,714. According to the supplied table the 2018 figure had not been published.

The 23 per cent increase in the number of teachers under Labor quoted by Mr Dib is correct, according to the supplied table. The 11 per cent coalition figure is incorrect, and puts the government in a more favourable light, because, according to the supplied table, the true figure is 7.5 per cent.

Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures however tell a different story regarding the increases in teacher numbers under Labor and Liberal in government schools since 1995.

According to the ABS, there were 48,839.1 teachers in NSW government schools in 1995 [2]. The total grew to 52,802 by the time Labor left office in 2011, representing an 8.1 per cent increase [3].

In 2011 when the coalition was elected, there were 52,802 teachers in NSW government schools. The number rose to 56,743.7 in 2018 - a 7.47 per cent increase [3].

AAP FactCheck concludes that only one of Mr Dib’s claims regarding Labor’s 23 per cent increase could be verified, and only by data supplied by Labor.

ABS data showed the rise under Labor was 8.1 per cent (compared to Labor's claim of 23 per cent) and the rise under the Liberals has been 7.47 per cent.

The Verdict

  • Ambiguous - It is not possible to determine the veracity of the statement, or it has an equal weighting of true and false elements.

The References

1: ‘Labor leader Michael Daley vows to hire thousands of new teachers’, by Edward Boyd. The Daily Telegraph. March 11, 2019: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/nswelection2019/labor-leader-michael-daley-vows-to-hire-thousands-of-new-teachers/news-story/9ab9a8cc126d425d364aa9f4ad121724

2: ‘4221.0 Schools Australia (Table 51a In-school staff number (FTE) 1993-2008 and Table 51a In-School staff number’. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006-2018: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4221.02018?OpenDocument

3: ‘4221.0 Schools Australia, Table 51a In-school Staff (FTE)’. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 2006-2018: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/4221.02018?OpenDocument

Revision History

  • First published March 12, 2019 15:38 AEDT