Despite facing critical staff and teacher shortages, it was revealed in Estimates Hearings today that the ACT Labor-Greens Government has broken a major election promise and was cutting 188 jobs in the Education Directorate in this year’s budget, said Shadow Minister for Education Jeremy Hanson.
“Last year the Education Minister promised 400 new teachers. This year the budget papers show 188 existing jobs are actually being cut,” Mr Hanson said.
“Among all these cuts, the education budget only includes 42 new positions, mostly support staff. The Minister was unable to say if a single new teacher was part of the 42 positions.
“The extent of the teacher shortage problem is overwhelming for our teachers. We have heard teachers say they are drowning, and they need support now. They are not getting it."
This budget blow comes immediately after a damning report by the Australian Education Union, who just conducted a massive survey of teachers in the ACT. It found, among other things, that:
- 91% of schools say they are negatively impacted by lack of staff,
- 95% believe those shortages are serious
- 85% believe the department does not have the resources necessary to meet demand,
- 97% believe students are being disadvantaged by split and modified classes.
- One third of all people in their first three years are considering leaving the system, and half would not recommend teaching as a profession in the ACT.
“Our most valuable resource in education is teachers, and this government and this budget leaves them behind. They promised 400 new staff, but actually delivered staff cuts.
“This is not good enough, and I will continue to campaign for our teachers, our schools and our students from now until the next election,” Mr Hanson concluded.