FED UP parents have expressed their concern over the Department of Education's 'inaction' on the critical teacher shortage at Narrabri High School.
Data from the department reveals already in 2021 there were 73 cases of minimal supervision - when students are not actively taught due to a teacher's absence and instead supervised - and 195 class mergers at the school.
Concerned Narrabri mother Elizabeth Murphy said the minimal supervision rates have "escalated through the roof" and the impact on children is "immeasurable".
"Narrabri High School is a really good school, and the teaching staff are awesome and have served the community for many, many years," she said.
"But over the past 12 to 18 months - and it's not COVID related, that's just a handy coincidence - the minimal supervision rates have soared.
"Minimal supervision where the children are having to be supervised in a hall or a quadrangle, for instance and teaching is done, it's more just to have eyes on the students from a safety point of view."
Ms Murphy said hundreds of hours of learning potential are being lost, and so far no real action has been taken despite numerous members of the community escalating the issue through the appropriate channels.
The local Primary Care nurse last week attended a meeting with Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell, where the community put several suggestions forward around incentive reviews.
"We're in the downhill slide to Christmas now, so pretty much everything will shut up shop and then they'll be right back to square one or worse if the Department of Education doesn't get definitive action and a time-frame," Ms Murphy said.
Dennis Harvey, a local agronomist and parent of three children at Narrabri High, questioned why the local school wasn't thriving when Narrabri's economy was "booming".
"We are lucky to have very few of the social issues that unfortunately affect other towns," he said.
"Narrabri is a centre of agriculture, and since the drought broke, the farms and the many business that support the industry are booming.
"Add to this the mining industry and the inland rail and as a result our sporting clubs are thriving and the future is bright.
"My point is - although we are only a town of 7500 people we are hardly a struggling little town where no-one wants to live - so our local high school should also be thriving."
A Department of Education spokesperson said a Teacher Supply Strategy will be released later this year with a number of new initiatives to address shortages.
"COVID-19 has meant a strain on the supply of casual teachers state wide. It is not a matter exclusive to Narrabri High School," they said.
"Narrabri High School currently only has two permanent vacancies, which are both actively being recruited for.
"The Department of Education has filled almost 4,000 teaching positions for 2021."
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