AEU Victoria's Ten Year Plan for Staffing in Public Education, distributed in September 2022, sets out our recommendations for further action by the state government to ensure public education is appropriately funded and staffed.
Every person has the right to access high-quality, properly and fairly funded public education, including being taught by a fully qualified teacher, assisted by properly trained support staff, and led by principals and other educational leaders with the resources they need.
Ensuring student access to high-quality teaching and learning, and welfare supports, centres on fully qualified and well-supported educators who are respected for the important work they do.
But right now, we risk a crisis in which kindergartens, schools and TAFEs cannot employ enough staff to meet even the most basic needs of students.
We are calling on Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan to immediately fund the following:
- Retention payments for all existing staff
- Reduced workloads for staff by providing funding to increase the number of support staff; reducing the administrative and compliance burden; reducing, delaying and abandoning new initiatives where necessary; implementing policies allowing staff to ‘disconnect’ after hours; and only allocating work within the terms of industrial agreements
- Expanded support and funding for a further reduction in face-to-face teaching time for all early career teachers and providing the funding required for mentors to support them
- Offers of ongoing employment in public schools to final year initial teacher education students and providing financial incentives to those willing to teach in rural and remote areas
- Translating existing fixed term contract staff to ongoing employees
- Funded ‘studentships’ to provide cost of living support during teaching degrees and providing ongoing employment in rural, regional and hard to staff public schools at the completion of study
- Redeployment of staff in excess to suitable vacancies in schools.
The pandemic has highlighted the longstanding inequities in public education. This, and the associated overwork and burnout of staff, has contributed to a critical shortage of teachers, support staff, and allied health professionals.
There is no more important time than now for investment in the workforce, which is, in turn, a direct investment in students, especially those with additional needs. A failure to act, both in the short and longer term, will make it difficult for Victoria to deliver the promise we make to our students.
12 October 2023