A recent ACER survey commissioned by the AEU Tasmania Branch found that Tasmanian public school principals are working 60 hour weeks and excessive workloads are affecting principals’ health.

This data confirms issues raised in the recently released national Principal Health & Wellbeing Survey, by Associate Professor Phil Riley.

“Our survey matches key findings by Professor Phil Riley’s research on principals’ health nationally, and shows that excessive workload is taking a huge toll on Tasmanian principals,” said Helen Richardson, AEU President.

“Principals are working 60 hours a week and have spent on average 28 hours per week working during school holidays. They are working these long hours just to keep up with growing administrative tasks.

“Our Quality Education campaign calls for additional staff in schools and taking principals off the school staffing quota, which is desperately needed to alleviate principals’ workloads.

“Our schools are chronically under-resourced and are relying on principals to compensate by increasing their workloads. Only 20 per cent of principals felt that their workload was manageable.

“Taking principals off the staffing quota will allow for more time focussed on their core job of teaching and learning and managing the school.

“The ACER survey found that over 80% of principals say they need additional staffing to meet the needs of all their students, with the need for more professional staff being an urgent priority.

“High workloads and under-resourcing are leading to higher stress levels for principals, with nearly a third of principals indicating that their workload adversely affects their health the survey found.

“The ACER survey found that more than half of principals spend the majority of their school day on administration, taking them away from their essential leadership duties.

“Internal administrative tasks take the biggest portion of work time of principals, with principals spending 27% of their time on admin tasks.

“This could be time spent on mentoring and leading teaching staff or spending time on pastoral care of students and building relationships with parents and the school community. Only 26% of primary and 16% of secondary principals have enough time to provide necessary professional support to colleagues.

“Critically, principals need to be relieved of the administrative burdens and sheer volume of work that has been blocking their ability to work beside and lead their staff and school communities.

“Our Quality Education campaign calls on all political parties to deliver on their policy promises. We need the extra staff in our schools to provide Quality Education for All Tasmanian students.

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Helen Richardson, AEU President