Western Teacher : Volume 43.9 November 2014
STAFF IN AUST SURVEY Primary school leaders reported working about 56 hours per week, while their secondary counterparts worked an average 59 hours per week. AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said these figures supported previous research that Australian teachers worked longer hours than the OECD average. “These workloads should be a concern for administrators,” he added. “W hile the survey shows the majority of teachers are happy in the profession, those considering leaving give high workloads as their main reason.” Heavy workloads and insufficient workload time or reward were the two biggest reasons teachers surveyed gave for leaving teaching, with one in three unsure about their future in the profession. Despite this, over 85 per cent of teachers said they were ‘satisfied’ or ‘ very satisfied’ with their job, listing reasons such as working relationships with colleagues and classroom achievements with students. Teachers were dissatisfied with factors such as work/life balance and the level of administrative and clerical work required. Teachers listed training in student disability support, effective use of ICT and student behaviour management as the most needed. Up to 22 per cent of teachers responding to the survey were made up of early career teachers (in the first five years of their career). Mr Gavrielatos said young teachers were reporting that their training was not adequately preparing them for the modern classroom. “We believe that all teaching degrees should be two-year post-graduate degrees to ensure that teachers are properly-trained before they enter the classroom,” he said. The average age for teachers in the survey was 44.5 years, while the average age for school leaders was 51.5 years. Up to 20 per cent teachers surveyed were born overseas, compared to 27 per cent of Australians born overseas. Less than one per cent of teachers and leaders are of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin. The report surveyed more than 15,500 teachers and about 1600 school leaders across Australia in 2013 to provide a snapshot of teaching conditions in our nation’s schools. Respondents provided data on areas such as class sizes, hours worked, professional learning, career satisfaction and future intentions. Alarmingly for WA students, our state’s teachers reported the highest class sizes in the nation with an average of 25.6 students per class. The national average was 24.5 students per class, with Queensland coming in with 25.3 students per class, followed by South Australia (25.1) and New South Wales (24.8). The Northern Territory had the lowest average class size of 22.0 students per class. SSTUWA president Pat Byrne said the bigger class size would mean less individual attention per student and would affect the quality of programs provided. “We are particularly concerned about the impact of class sizes on disadvantaged students and those with learning disabilities, who may not get the one-on- one attention they need,” she said. “I t is clear to us that the government needs to reassess its spending priorities and start investing more in our children’s education.” The survey also revealed the hours teachers were spending on work had increased to nearly 48 hours a week at both primary and secondary levels, up from about 46 hours per week in 2010. THE FULL SURVEY CAN BE ACCESSED AT: HTTPS://DOCS.EDUCATION.GOV.AU/ NODE/36279 WESTERN TEACHER 15 Large class sizes, increased workloads and low levels of recognition are among the issues troubling teachers, according to the latest Staff in Australia’s Schools Report.
Volume 44.1 January 2015
Volume 43.8 October 2014