Musical staff

Sharp rise in teaching vacancies in Queensland as non-teaching staff before classes remain open

More than 300 public schools in Queensland are filling critical teaching vacancies with out-of-school educators to keep schools going, as the number of vacancies rises 38% in a year.

There were 1,050 teaching vacancies in Queensland at the end of May this year, up from 760 in a similar period last year, revealed in an answer to the question about the notice in parliament of the State.

It came as the scale of the teacher shortage was revealed in a Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) survey, showing that 75 per cent of some 500 headteachers used non-teaching staff, such as teachers. principals and department heads, to teach classes and two-thirds of teachers worked outside their specialty.

Vacancies in the Queensland North Coast region increased from 15 in 2021 to 101 in 2022 at the end of May, an increase of 573%.

Meanwhile, in metropolitan areas, vacancies jumped 81%, from 92 to 167, and 59%, from 138 to 220 in central Queensland.

Region

2022

2021

Central Queensland

220

138

Darling Downs South West

86

81

Far North Queensland

161

209

Metropolitan

167

92

North Coast

101

15

North Queensland

240

183

South East

75

42

Total

1050

760

*Source: Review Question

Teacher survey reveals long-term staff shortage

Publishing some of the data in the QTU newspaper, union general secretary Kate Ruttiman said it was clear the education department had been unable to “fully staff a significant number of schools in recent years.

She said data showed ‘understaffing in schools has been increasing by at least 5% per year’.

The areas with the greatest shortages were technology, math, science, instrumental music, PSE, and the arts.

Abrupt labor shortage for teacher welfare

The shortages led to 476 head teachers indicating that the impact on their staff and their own well-being had been “high” or “significant”.

“Sixty-seven percent of teachers work outside their area of ​​specialization; 54% of school leaders have a teaching load and 46% of teaching staff do not have access to their NCT [non-contact time] and other working conditions each week.”

Opposition education spokesman Christian Rowan said the teacher shortage was having a negative effect on pupils and teachers.

“These figures reveal that the state government does not have a comprehensive teacher workforce plan for the Queensland school,” he said.

Dr Christian Rowan has called for a comprehensive plan to address labor shortages in Queensland.(Provided: Twitter)

“As we saw in the state budget this week, not a single educational outcome goal was met in reading, writing, and numeracy, in grades 3, 5, 7, and 9.

In response to the question on notice, Education Minister Grace Grace said the Department of Education continues to work with schools to meet current and emerging workforce needs.

Grace Grace speaks at a press conference in Brisbane.
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said the vacancy rate was around 2% of the 54,000 teachers. (AAP: Darren England)

“Teaching vacancies are an integral part of the workforce cycle and can arise for a variety of reasons, including planned and unplanned leaves; teachers successfully transferred to another school; promotion to a headmaster or in a leadership position in the department; teachers returning to institutes of higher education to continue their studies, resignations and retirement,” she said.

“The currently recorded teacher vacancy rate is around 2% of our teaching workforce of around 54,000 teachers.

University students teaching in schools during the first two years

One strategy used to fill shortages is the License to Teach (PTT) program, which uses university students and graduates who are not yet registered to teach in schools.

The Queensland College of Teachers granted 320 teachers PTT waivers in 2021, up from 211 in 202 and 178 in 2019.

QTU’s investigation revealed that a school had 9 PTT teachers on its books.

“While the majority of them were completing their fourth year of initial teacher education; worryingly, 24 PTTs are in their first two years of education studies,” Ms Ruttiman said in the journal article.

Education Minister Grace Grace’s office has been contacted for comment.