It's about pay. It's about time.

Every day, thousands of students in the ACT go without a dedicated teacher.

Not paying teachers what they are worth and denying them the time to be the best teacher they can be is undermining the profession, and the quality of education our teachers strive to deliver every day.

If we are to address the worsening teacher shortage crisis and meet the needs of students, the ACT government must listen to the profession and the experts.

Resources for teachers

FAQ – Annual Teacher Transfer Round

Teacher Shortage Taskforce Recommendations

Teacher Shortage Taskforce Report

Teacher claim document

Enterprise agreement

Staff shortage survey report

Valuing the teaching profession – report of the Gallop inquiry

AEU submission to ACT legislative assembly teaching quality inquiry

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AEU latest news

AEU Legends!

AEU legends 2022! We’re celebrating these legendary sub-branches: Richardson Primary, Lanyon High School, Malkara School, Narrabundah College and Campbell High School.

Federal Women’s Conference 2022

It was great to send an ACT delegation to the AEU Federal Women’s Conference that reflected the diversity of our membership. Representatives from new educators, early childhood education, school psychologists, school leaders, CIT and our Aboriginal members joined women’s officer Tahlia Bruce and branch president Angela Burroughs at the conference. Early childhood and new educator, Chloe Gleeson reflects on her experience at the conference below.

AEUACT @ WIPCE

AEUACT @ WIPCE Bek and Zuzette attended the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education on behalf of the AEUACT

World-first study looks at 65,000 news articles about Australian teachers

If all people hear is that teachers are to “blame” for poor standards and they should be finding their demanding, complex jobs easy, this is hardly likely to encourage people into the profession. Nor does it give those already there the support and respect they need to stay.

It’s great education ministers agree the teacher shortage is a problem, but their new plan ignores the root causes

We know what causes teacher shortages: difficult working conditions and non-competitive pay.

Update: Teacher Shortage Roundtable

If you’ve been reading the local papers or watching the news, you will know that this week has finally seen some genuine action to address the teacher shortage crisis. More importantly, with federal education minister Jason Clare organising a roundtable to tackle the national shortage issue, teachers, school leaders and principals are finally being heard.

Growing numbers of unqualified teachers are being sent into classrooms – this is not the way to ‘fix’ the teacher shortage

Every few days there is another report about the teacher shortage across Australia. Last week, we learned one of Melbourne’s biggest schools is considering a return to home learning to cope with staff shortages.

What does equity in schools look like? And how is it tied to growing teacher shortages?

It is about matching teachers’ passion with the respect, time, resources and conditions that enable them to do what they signed up to do: make a difference in students’ lives.

ACT schools prepare for teacher shortages in Term 3 amid rising COVID cases

Educators are bracing for a difficult term ahead as the Education Directorate looks to reduce workloads by paring back reports and getting more final-year student teachers into schools as COVID cases are set to rise.

New taskforce aims to make ACT public schools safer

A new taskforce to review safety in public schools redoubles efforts to support staff and students despite the challenges of the pandemic, the ACT Government promises.

Teacher shortage risks stunting students in maths and science, researchers warn

Australia’s teacher shortage is stoking concerns that lack of specialist tuition is stunting students in key science and maths subjects.

Teachers and Principals say urgent action needed to address staff shortages

ACT public school staff have told their union that the teacher shortage in the ACT is worsening…

Frequently asked questions

The ACT is facing a critical shortage of teachers. The ACT population is growing and less people are choosing teaching as a career, due to non-competitive pay and difficult workloads.

Every day schools are unable to find enough relief teachers to cover staff absences, leading to a daily average shortage of 162 positions. This means that every day, thousands of students in the ACT go without a dedicated teacher, or are moved into oversized classes and expected to work independently under minimal supervision. Quality education can’t happen in these settings.

The AEU’s ask is simple: we need a teacher in every classroom, every day.  

A joint AEU-EDU taskforce has made major findings that show the impact of teacher shortages on ACT public schools. In Term 2 of 2022, every week there were 339 classes split (where students were moved to different classes), 210 classes combined (where one teacher supervised more than one class), and 272 classes moved to an online format for older students.

This means that every day, school leaders try to secure relief teachers and then face difficult decisions on how to meet the needs of their students when they cannot find the staff to cover absences.

This has an enormous impact on teacher workload, school morale, and student learning. According to a survey conducted by the AEU ACT Branch in 2021:

  • More than half of the principals surveyed are unable to fill ongoing or temporary positions at their school.
  • 97% of school staff said that students are disadvantaged and their learning outcomes compromised by split or modified classes.
  • Almost all teachers report working unpaid overtime every week. More than 40% of teachers report working and average of two days of unpaid overtime every week.
  • 70% of principals rate their workload as very or extremely difficult. More than one third of principals regularly work between 10-15 hours over time per week and a further third report working more than 20 additional hours per week.
  • More than half of the classroom teachers surveyed would not recommend teaching as a career to family members or friends.
  • 85% of respondents said they did not think that the Education Directorate was sufficiently resourced to meet the demands put upon schools.

The teacher shortage was a problem before the start of the pandemic and will continue to be a problem afterwards. 

The ACT Teacher Shortage Taskforce Report indicated that there were on average 60 teacher positions that could not be filled by relief teachers every day in 2019, indicating that a significant shortfall in staffing pre-dates the pandemic.

Nationally, Department of Education modelling indicates that demand for secondary teachers will exceed supply by around 4,100 between 2021 and 2025. 

 According to projections from the Rorris report, Impact of Enrolment Growth on Demand for Teachers, NSW public schools will require between 11,100 and 13,700 additional teachers above 2020 FTE teacher numbers by 2031.

This is a long-term shortage that needs long-term solutions. 

After the AEU ACT Branch released the results of its teacher shortage survey the ACT Government agreed to establish the Teacher Shortage Taskforce with a view to working with the AEU to find solutions. This collaborative approach is unique to the ACT. 

The Taskforce handed down its final report in August 2022 and made 20 recommendations that aim to get teachers back into the classroom in the short term, alleviate workload pressure, look after beginning teachers better, and develop smart and sustainable teacher recruitment plans for the ACT. 

This is only the beginning: we know that the most important thing we can do to raise the status of teaching as a profession and get more people into teaching is to pay teachers more. As we head into bargaining our next Enterprise Agreement, we look forward to the ACT Government coming to the table for our schools, teachers, and students. 

We need to show teachers that they are valued and demonstrate to prospective teachers that education is a worthwhile career. This means we must:

  • Address the unsustainable workloads that are causing burnout and leading to teachers leaving the profession.
  • Recognise the contribution that teachers make to our community with pay and conditions that are comparable to similar professions.
  • Listen to the expertise of education specialists, especially those who are still in the classroom, in developing further measures to support and value school staff.
  1. If you aren’t an AEU ACT Branch member yet, join now!
  2. Stay informed, involved and active by visiting this website and looking out for AEU ACT Branch updates. 
  3. Follow us on Facebook.
  4. Arrange a meeting of your school sub-branch to discuss the claims.
  5. Invite every potential AEU member to join our union and work to deliver better resourced schools for our staff, our students and our future.