Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3956 ..
Mr Hanson: I have a point of order. The question outlined the fact that the question was taken was taken on notice and did not actually answer the question. Mrs Kikkert is asking what is the FTE teacher shortfall in the ACT right now, because the answer was not provided when Ms Berry provided the answer on notice.
MADAM SPEAKER: Ms Berry, please go to that point of the question—the EFT shortfall in teachers in the ACT.
MS BERRY: I think the question was responded to during estimates. I recall that, at the time of the question, there were currently 12 teacher vacancies in the ACT.
MRS KIKKERT: Minister, of the 42.5 FTE equivalent, how many will be qualified classroom teachers, given that the budget line is for special needs teachers only? Please answer directly.
MS BERRY: I will take that question on notice.
MR HANSON: I have a supplementary question. How much funding for the 400 promised teachers that you advised about at the last election has been rolled out thus far in the budget?
MS BERRY: I can inform, again, the spokesperson for education in the opposition, that there were 90 full-time equivalent positions funded in the ACT government’s budget. I remind him that, yes, of course the ACT government has committed to fund 400 teachers in the ACT once the schools are built. We have employed and will engage the 90 positions for schools that are being built or are starting next year. As schools come on line—like Throsby, the new school in Kenny and the expansion of Margaret Hendry School—those teacher will be employed once the schools are built and they have places to work. I think that makes sense, doesn’t it?
MS LAWDER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs. The Australian Education Union report highlights the issues of split classes in ACT schools and states:
… Often up to four classes per day were split, resulting in 'classes' over 40+ students, which contributed directly to … occupational violence - particularly as students with special needs were forced to work with teachers (and students) they did not know well.’
Minister, how often are classes split in ACT schools?
MS BERRY: I understand Ms Lawder is referring to the teachers survey that was conducted by the Australian Education Union and released around August this year. In August this year the ACT government committed to work in partnership with the Australian Education Union setting up a task force to understand some of the issues identified in that survey, including the issues raised by Ms Lawder around split classes and teacher shortages, retention and workload more generally.