The AEU acknowledges the state government’s commitment to fulfilling its state election promises of providing an additional 250 teachers and 80 teacher assistants over six years.
AEU Tasmania President Helen Richardson said while the provision of 60 teachers in the first year announced today was welcomed, AEU members wanted the state government to fully understand that Tasmanian education was in crisis.
“More staffing resources need to be ‘front ended’ to ensure Tasmanian children can receive the support they need,” said Helen Richardson, AEU Tasmania President.
“It is disappointing that no additional professional support staff such as School Psychologists, Social Workers and Speech and Language Therapists have been budgeted despite Tasmanian teachers, principals and support staff overwhelmingly calling for it,” said Ms Richardson.
“Tasmanian students urgently need additional professional support staff in schools.
“Increasing numbers of students with high and complex needs are entering our schools, and there’s a critical shortage of professional support staff to meet their needs and there’s nothing in this budget to address this.
“We are disappointed that the government has only budgeted for a 2% wage increase because this does not allow for good faith bargaining and means Tasmanian teachers will continue to be the lowest paid in the country.
“The Hodgman Government states it wants Tasmania to lead the nation in education but is prepared to let our teachers and Principals be the lowest paid in the nation.
“The increased infrastructure spending will be welcomed by those school communities that stand to benefit but if we want to lift education outcomes we need additional staff to get the best learning outcomes for our kids.
“Tasmanian students need high quality educators to give them the individual attention and support they need, which will make a big difference to their educational outcomes.
“We need to value our Principals as educational leaders in our schools and communities, and address issues around health and wellbeing.
“Taking Principals off the staffing quota will allow for more time focussed on their core job of teaching and learning and managing the school.
“We applaud the government for removing the teaching component of 15 Principals. This will go some way in addressing the excessive workloads which are affecting their health and well-being. However, we would like to see all 90 Principals taken off the staffing quota in the immediate future.
“We welcome the announcement of the state government’s commitment to improving TasTAFE governance and welcome additional funding for TasTAFE as recognition that they are centres of excellence.”