Home Hybrid Learning The $1.8m plan to ease the burden on Queensland’s teachers

The $1.8m plan to ease the burden on Queensland’s teachers


The $1.8m plan to ease the burden on Queensland’s teachers

In recent years, Queensland teachers have been struggling under increasingly heavy workloads and poor pay, with conditions worsening since the pandemic. Surveys have shown the state’s teachers spend more time teaching face-to-face than the national average – an extra week per year for high school teachers and two for primary teachers.

Conditions like these have led to high turnover rates, with a significant number of teachers leaving the profession early due to burnout and dissatisfaction. And this double whammy of worsening conditions and fewer teachers has led to a decline in student achievement, as evidenced by Queensland’s lagging NAPLAN scores.

The Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) partnered with researchers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on a project called Time-Use, Time Poverty and Teachers’ Work, which collected data from over 2,400 teachers and school leaders in the state’s state schools on a common working day.

The major stressors that teachers and school leaders reported were the amount of work to be covered in lessons, the frequency and difficulty communicating with parents/carers, lesson preparation and managing and responding to student needs and behaviours.

To address this, the Federal and Queensland Governments are co-funding a $1.88m pilot program to employ 11 specialist staff to support teachers and principals across 33 primary, secondary and special schools.

The new staff will manage workplace health, safety and wellbeing administrative workloads, taking the load of teachers and enhancing the delivery of this important work.

Commonwealth funding, under the Workload Reduction Fund, will be matched with equal co-investment from the Miles Government to implement the pilot. At the end of this year, participating schools will assess whether having dedicated staff in schools to undertake these tasks has reduced administrative burden.

QTU president, Cresta Richardson said these unprecedented changes to professional expectations have seen an “enormous” increase in workload of educators.

“The pressure for teachers and school leaders is being felt in a myriad of ways but significantly it has affected the health and wellbeing of those working in schools,” Richardson told The Educator. 

“The roles and responsibilities of our members should be considered through the lens of realistic expectations.” 

Richardson said reducing administrative demands and paperwork “compliance” tasks and increasing investment in school-based corporate and administrative resourcing is essential.

“The WHS pilot is a step in the right direction in addressing workload intensification to keep the teachers and school leaders we have,” she said.

“Specialist staff will manage workplace health, safety, and wellbeing administrative workloads, so teachers can teach, and school leaders can lead.”

Richardson said if the pilot delivers positive results for addressing our members’ workload, the Union would expect the initiative to be rapidly expanded and fully funded.

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