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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 11 November 2021) . . Page.. 3335 ..

Teachers have said:

‘Teachers are drowning. We need support.’

‘Please do something soon.’

Minister, what is happening this year to reduce the overwork burden on ACT teachers?

MS BERRY: I thank Mr Hanson for his interest and the time he has taken to look at the AEU survey. I have already said in this place, as well as during the estimates hearings and elsewhere, that the ACT Education Directorate immediately set up a task force with the Education Union to undertake this important work. There have already been a number of meetings.

MR HANSON: Minister, why are “nearly all” teachers in ACT schools working more than their maximum weekly hours?

MS BERRY: Our teaching professionals here in the ACT are absolutely dedicated to the teaching and learning of young people in our ACT public schools and also within our non-government and Catholic schools as well. I would say from the survey results that teachers are very dedicated, but so much more is being asked of them—particularly over the last couple of years, when we have asked them to completely change the way they deliver education to our young people.

Mr Hanson: It is you that has caused this?

MS BERRY: Yes, that is right; I caused part of it, Mr Hanson! That is right; it was all me!

We have asked so much of them, and they have delivered and gone over and above to continue to deliver a great education to our young people.

There is no doubt that our teachers have been working more than they ever would have over the last couple of years. I absolutely thank them for their tireless work and for their commitment to doing more than just being teachers and doing education and learning, but actually really caring deeply about the welfare of the young people in their charge.

I acknowledge that our teaching professionals, like other public servants over the last couple of years, have worked incredibly hard, seven days a week, late into the night, because of the unusual circumstances that our community and the world are going through with this health pandemic.

MRS JONES: A supplementary question. Minister, why have you allowed the situation to develop where teachers feel that they are drowning and are really asking for help?

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