Teachers and parents joined forces today at Clarendon Vale Primary to launch the Quality Education for All campaign.
The campaign centres on gaining commitments from all Tasmanian political parties to deliver additional staff into schools and TasTAFE and to cutting the administrative load on educators so they can focus on teaching and learning.
“Years of cuts and underfunding of the public system, followed recently by the Hodgman Government sabotaging Tasmania’s Gonski Agreement, has meant there are simply not enough teachers and other professionals and specialists in schools or TAFE,” said AEU Tasmania President Helen Richardson.
“The high and complex needs of an increasing number of students in public schools cannot be met with the current under resourcing and, at the other end of the spectrum, some high achieving students are missing out on the extension programs,” said Ms Richardson.
“A lack of Teacher Assistants and growing administration burdens means teachers have less and less time to focus on their core work of teaching and learning.
“The level of need in Tasmanian schools was highlighted by the Gonski Review that, had it been fully implemented, would have delivered an additional $85 million to Tasmanian public schools in the next two years alone – that’s the equivalent of about 425 teachers.”
“We are calling for all parties to commit to, as a minimum, an additional 250 teachers as well as more Teachers Assistants and additional literacy and numeracy specialists and more professional supports like school psychologist and speech and language therapists.
Meanwhile, it was revealed today by independent policy analyst Martyn Goddard that the State Government has been siphoning education specific GST money away from public schools to the tune of $51 million.
“The Hodgman Government cannot cry poor over funding because it is sitting on a bucket of GST money that should be going into our public schools and it’s choosing to spend it elsewhere,” said Ms Richardson.
A dedicated Quality Education for All campaign website has been set-up where teachers, principals and support staff will be sharing their stories of what’s needed for quality education at their school or workplace. An online pledge has also been launched for parents, educators, politicians and the community to sign-up and support the campaign.
The state-wide campaign will ramp up ahead of the state election and include paid advertising, doorknocking and a range of workplace and community activities.
AEU Tasmania President Helen Richardson