Budget Estimates shows teacher shortage crisis deepening

Revelations of 80 Tasmanian teacher vacancies and a 35 per cent increase in resignations highlights a deepening teacher shortage and state education system in crisis.

The Rockliff Liberal Government this week confirmed Tasmania’s teacher shortage is worsening, while the Government also failed to deliver or identify a strategy to address this issue.

Australian Education Union Tasmania President David Genford said Tasmanian schools and colleges remained at breaking point with data showing the dire situation was only getting worse.

“The situation has escalated to the point where educators have had enough and they’re walking away while some schools are struggling to employ qualified staff,” he said.

“This is leaving existing educators feeling overworked and under-supported, and they too are burning out. It’s a vicious cycle which is in-turn denying our students the quality education they deserve.”

Budget Estimates hearings this week into the Rockliff Government’s handling of education heard 155 teachers resigned in the 12 months to March 2023, representing a 35 per cent increase in resignations on the previous year.

Estimates also heard there are 80 teacher vacancies in Tasmanian schools and colleges which need filling immediately.

Mr Genford said these numbers have worsened in recent years and the Rockliff Government has failed to act.

“We need a comprehensive strategy that looks at issues around training, recruitment, and retention of teachers,” he said.

“Tasmania cannot afford to lose any more talented educators from a system that is continuing to fail them.”

Mr Genford said the AEU presented a broad range of Lifting Learning solutions to the Rockliff Government two years ago in response to Tasmania’s depleted education system and rising teacher attrition rate. 

He said the union stood ready to work with the Government and other stakeholders to develop further solutions that will strengthen Tasmania’s education system. 

“Without a medium and long-term plan to retain and recruit teachers, developed alongside teachers, short-term fixes can actually make the problem worse,” said Mr Genford. 

“Moving people back into the classroom, out of roles that support teachers, leaves teachers with less support and adds to the downward spiral.

“We call on the Rockliff Government to take this crisis seriously and work with us to ensure that every student has access to a quality education in Tasmania. The future of our state depends on it.”