Research finds teachers need extra resources to cope with rising workloads

11 May 2015

Rising workloads are the main reason teachers consider leaving the profession, new research from the AEU has found.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that school resourcing was falling behind the demands placed on teachers and that needs-based funding was required to ease pressure on teachers and improve outcomes for students,

“Last year’s Federal Budget stripped resources from schools by abandoning Gonski agreements, and tomorrow’s budget must deliver an increase in needs-based funding, especially for students with disability,” Ms Haythorpe said.

The AEU’s State of our Schools Survey for 2015, which surveyed over 2000 teachers, showed a rise in teacher workloads, with 42 per cent of teachers saying they worked more than 50 hours per week, and 23 per cent working over 55 hours per week.

While teachers were generally happy with their employment, high workloads were cited as the most significant consideration when thinking about leaving the profession. The survey found that 70 per cent of female teachers and 55 per cent of male teachers said workloads were the main issue that would lead them to leave teaching.

“What is most concerning is that 73 per cent of teachers surveyed said their workload had increased in the past year,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We know from international comparisons that Australian teachers are working longer hours than the OECD average, and are asked to perform more administrative and nonteaching work.

“Teachers generally report a high-level of satisfaction with their jobs, and see teaching as a long-term career, but the increasing workload is an issue that we need to address.

“School enrolments are predicted to boom over the next ten years and we can’t afford to lose good, experienced teachers because they are being overworked and are not getting the support they need.

“More and more is expected of teachers in public schools, and they are not getting the resources and support to back them up.

“For example there are 100,000 children with disability not getting any funded support in schools, which adds to the demands placed on classroom teachers.

“This urgent crisis needs to be addressed through funding which takes into account the real needs of students with disability.

“Needs-based Gonski funding is crucial for providing more support for teachers and better schools for students.

“Last year’s Budget confirmed that the Abbott Government would abandon the last two years of the needs-based Gonski funding agreements, stripping $3.7 billion out of schools.

“This funding is equivalent to 20,000 extra educators in public schools alone.

“This Budget needs to deliver the 5th and 6th years of Gonski funding as well as an immediate increase in funding for disability, through the disability loading which it promised in the lead-up to the 2013 election.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291