AEU launches campaign to address excessive workloads and improved pay and conditions

Victorian public school teachers, principals and support staff are launching their campaign for a new Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA), which nominally expires today.

Excessive workloads for principals, teachers and support staff must be addressed by the government in a new agreement through the employment of additional staff in our public schools.

“Victorian government school teachers, principals and support staff are overworked and underpaid,” said Australian Education Union Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace.

“Teachers in our public schools work an average of 15 hours of unpaid overtime every week. Principals are working almost 60 hours per week.

“Each year, every government school student in Victoria receives $1,384 less funding compared to public school students in all other states and territories.

“It is teachers who have to make up for the funding gap,” Ms Peace said.

 “This is leading to stress and burnout, as shown in our latest State of our Schools survey.”

More than 10,000 teachers, principals, and support staff responded to the survey.

The data shows that over 40 per cent of teachers are regularly thinking of leaving the classroom, with 92 per cent of teachers reporting that reducing workloads would help the most to retain teachers in the profession.

“We want every Victorian child to have the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. That’s why school staff go the extra mile for their students” Ms Peace said.

“Despite their professionalism, exhausted teachers with excessive workloads and teaching large classes can’t deliver the quality and support our children need and deserve.

“Teachers must be provided with the time and professional trust they need to focus on their core work of teaching and learning.

“Principals burdened by excessive administration and compliance do not have a manageable workload and cannot easily provide the educational leadership needed to deliver the best education to their school communities.

“We need more funding for more teachers and more trained support staff, so that principals, teachers and support staff have the time and support they require during their working week to support every student’s needs,” Ms Peace said.

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Key findings

10,843 teachers, principals and education support staff responded

All staff

Working hours per week: an average of 53 hours

  • Teaching staff               52.8 hours (15 hours of unpaid overtime)
  • Principals                       58.3 hours
  • Education support staff  43.3 hours

Work related stress

  • 89 per cent of staff said their work related stress had increased or increased a lot in the last 12 months.
  • 72 per cent of staff indicated that this had occurred due to excessive workloads.



  • 86 per cent state their workload is never, seldom or sometimes manageable.
  • 48 per cent state they never or seldom have a good balance between home and work.
  • 41.5 per cent of teachers are often, nearly always, or always thinking about finding work outside schools.
  • 92 per cent of teachers report that reducing workloads would help the most to retain teachers in the profession.


Main concerns

  • Principal workload - 84 per cent
  • 73.5 per cent state there are too many competing initiatives/priorities
  • Principal stress - 60 per cent
  • Lack of funding for school or DET programs – 57.5 per cent

48 per cent state it has become much harder or harder to suitably fill vacancies.

68 per cent believe their school is significantly under resourced or under resourced when it comes to delivering the education and welfare programs that students need.

Education Support

60 per cent state the hours they spend on work-related activities have increased in the last year.

63 per cent of classroom based ES disagree or strongly disagree that they have an appropriate amount of time to prepare and collaborate to support the students they work with during paid hours.