Teachers and principals have spoken of enormous workloads and classroom expectations during four days of evidence-giving at an independent inquiry in Sydney.
Headed by former WA Premier Dr Geoff Gallop, the inquiry is seeking to determine the true value of classroom teachers in a changing work environment.
On the first day of hearings, vice president of the NSW Teachers Federation Henry Rajendra fronted the inquiry to speak of often insurmountable time pressures placed on regular teachers in managing complex disabilities.
"What's important to point out is that over the past two decades, the [NSW Department of Education] estimates there has been a 300 per cent increase in identified disabilities in need of additional funding," Mr Rajendra said.
"Since 2002 there has been a 500 per cent increase in students with disabilities in mainstream classes.
"But since 2002 the vast majority of classes have not changed sizes. We want the best for all the kids in our classes and having a class of 30 is hard especially if there are students with specific needs."
Speaking to The Daily Advertiser on Monday, Mr Rajendra spoke of the problem become far more pronounced "the further you move away from metropolitan areas".
"It's harder to get specialty teachers in remote and regional areas," he said.
"We need to be funding permanent teachers in all our schools and increasing the staffing levels."
If teachers are given greater respite from the classroom, Mr Rajendra argues, they will have more time to plan individual, tailored lesson plans to ensure "all kids are involved with the curriculum".
"We need to make sure front and centre of learning is that every child is catered for," Mr Rajendra said.
Riverina organiser of the NSW Teachers Federation, John Pratt, further told The Daily Advertiser that the lack of time for classroom preparation was among the most common complaints from the members he deals with.
"It's essential with disability that students are given special schooling," Mr Pratt said.
"If they are in the mainstream classrooms, it should come with an extra time allocation for the teachers to prepare class plans. But that time rarely comes into reality.
"We all make accommodations for students with needs, and that can be as simple as printing work on [coloured] paper, seating them closer to the front, or providing extra bathroom breaks. Converting that to individual programs is time consuming."
Additionally, Mr Rajendra spoke of the difficulty in diagnosing learning issues outside of major cities.
It is a problem, he said, that compounds with existing classroom stressors to make teacher retention in the country particularly difficult.
"Early intervention is particularly difficult in rural areas," he said.
To manage the problem, Mr Rajendra recommended additional funding for public presechools.
"In NSW we are the second worse in the country when it comes to the provision of public preschools. It's nothing to be proud of," he said.
"We need to get in early with preschooling for three and four year olds. That is what they deserve and that is what is needed."
The inquiry hearings will continue from November 9 until November 12.