Fact sheet

Fact Check: Mark Latham says 13,699 NSW teachers are not allowed to teach because of vaccine mandates. Is that correct?

Teacher retention Vaccine hesitancy COVID-19 Educational data Australia

As teachers in NSW speak out about "atrocious" staff shortages and increasing workloads, NSW MLC for One Nation and former federal Labor leader Mark Latham has suggested vaccine mandates are to blame.

"The latest data shows that 13,699 teachers on [the NSW Education Department] payroll system are not allowed to teach because of inadequate vaccination status," Mr Latham said on Twitter. "That's your NSW teacher shortage crisis right there."

According to a report Mr Latham suggested was the source of his claim, only 865 teachers on the NSW Department of Education payroll were confirmed, as of March 31, to be unvaccinated or partially vaccinated, or to have provided evidence of vaccination that was subsequently rejected.

A spokesman for the department told Fact Check just 208 permanent teaching staff and 381 teachers on temporary contracts had been dismissed for not complying with the vaccine mandate as of June 6.

The bulk of Mr Latham's figure was made up of inactive teachers who had not attested to their vaccination status. These teachers were not currently working and therefore not required to attest, nor were they necessarily seeking work.

The figure also captured active teachers who had not attested to their vaccination status, but who may not have been required to do so. These teachers may have been nominated to a school but not yet assigned a role, or may have been on extended leave.

Verdict: Fact Check found that claim to be misleading.

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