Page 837 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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MR HANSON: Thank you, Mr Acting Speaker. These are the facts. When you see the tables, facts, figures and budgets as laid out by the Productivity Commission today and over a number of years, you see where the rubber hits the road and what that means for teachers, children and parents. The stories that we have heard coming out are disturbing. A report was put out by the Australian Education Union, titled Under-staffed, under-resourced, under-appreciated: The teacher shortage and its impact on our schools-. This was put out some time ago. The title was Under-staffed, under-resourced, under-appreciated, but who are they under-appreciated by?—this government, obviously. We saw that today.

The report laid out what was going wrong and the intense frustration that parents, teachers and their union are feeling with the government. Let me quote from that report:

Our members, who are in classrooms every day, overwhelmingly identify under-resourcing that appears systemic.

This is not some isolated incident. This is not some passing issue. As I said, this is a report that says that under-resourcing appears systemic. The overwhelming view expressed by 85 per cent of respondents—and these are teachers—is that the ACT government Education Directorate lacks the necessary resources to meet the demands of the public school system. Almost all—that is 98 per cent—of our school leaders who responded to the survey believe staff absences are undermining teachers’ capacity to consistently deliver high-quality education. Classroom teachers feel that their students are being disadvantaged and that learning outcomes are being compromised by split or modified classes.

The staffing shortage also has a direct consequence for work safety in schools. We certainly heard about that in this morning’s debate. Almost one in five respondents have experienced violence in the classroom. The minister is saying that this is an isolated incident that happened at Calwell, but the union is saying that one in five have experienced violence in the classroom. How can that be true? Someone is not telling the truth; is it the teachers or is it the minister? I think we know what the answer is.

Given what we saw a year ago at Calwell—which the minister has not responded to—there is a problem at that school; but, as I said, it is systemic. I refer to an article titled “Teachers are leaving the system in droves, but no one is listening”. There was a lot of attention and comment online and in focus groups. This is a comment from a teacher. It says:

What they need is a system which gives them the resources, time and conditions which allows them to do what they love the most…teach. Since they are smart enough to know that is not happening, brilliant teachers are leaving their classroom behind.

It is a very sad phenomenon that so many teachers are leaving the system. There is another article titled “Demands are dwindling the passion: Canberra faces teacher crisis”. The article states, amongst other things, that one ACT school cannot fill

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