13 November 2014

New research shows over 80 per cent of Australian principals say that a lack of resources is hurting education at their school, the AEU said today.

The result, found in the Australian Council for Educational Research’s Report “Australian Teachers and the Learning Environment”, showed principals believe the biggest issue in their schools is inadequate schools budgets and resources.

AEU Deputy Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the result should remind the Abbott Government of the importance of committing to the full six years of Gonski funding, to ensure all schools meet minimum resource standards.

“Principals on the frontline know that the one thing which could make an immediate difference to their school is resources for extra staff or support programs to help students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Their main concern is trying to stretch their budgets to give their students the best education possible. They also cite workloads as a major concern, showing the lack of support they are currently receiving.

“The best way to improve our school system is to properly resource the public schools that educate the students with the greatest need. That means the full six years of needs-based Gonski funding.

The report also reveals concerns about teacher training, with almost 38 per cent of teachers saying their training did not address content of all the subjects they are now teaching.

Principals also raised concerns that a lack of properly qualified teachers was hindering school performance, including 37 per cent saying they had shortages of teachers trained in teaching students with special needs, and 27 per cent shortages of teachers in vocational education.

“Ensuring as many children as possible are taught by a properly-qualified teacher is important for the quality of their education,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We need better workforce planning, and to ensure all teaching degrees are a post-graduate two-year degree to give teachers the knowledge they need for the classroom.”

The report also raised concerns about the ageing teaching workforce in Australia, with 37.1 per cent of teachers aged 50 or over, ahead of the OECD average of 31.8 per cent.

“Our ageing workforce makes it even more important that we focus on giving the next generation of teachers the best training possible,” Ms Haythorpe said.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291