Rockliff Government a failure on tackling school violence

Tasmania is the only state or territory to record an increase in principal distress, an independent survey of principal health and welfare found. 

All jurisdictions have seen a decrease in principals registering a worrying “Red Flag” in the annual survey, with the exception of Tasmania which has seen an increase from 37.7% in 2022 to 39.7% in 2023. 

And more than half, or 53.45%, of Tasmanian school leaders responded in the survey that they were “seriously considering” quitting their jobs, amidst rising violence and other workload issues. 

“These statistics are unacceptable and show that the Rockliff government has failed to address violence in schools or properly support our school leaders,” said David Genford, AEU Tasmanian Branch President. 

“The fact than more than half of our principals are seriously considering quitting because of violence and workload should ring alarm bells for any government that cares about delivering quality public education,” he said. 

The Australian Catholic University’s (ACU) annual national principal safety survey found that the threat of violence against principals and actual physical violence were both at an all-time high. 

“In Tasmania, all we’ve seen from the Rockliff Government is a failed PR campaign and the promise of a phone App for staff to record violent incidences,” said Mr Genford. 

“The Government hasn’t provided data from the App, despite our frequent requests, and there hasn’t been the required increase in on-the-ground support that schools need to manage growing behavioural issues,” he said. 

“We need a state government that will take violence against educators seriously and urgently provide better support and systems for schools to manage violent behaviour from students and parents. 

“Violence is school is one of the issues driving teachers, principals and support staff out of the profession and addressing this must be a priority for the next state government.” 

Nationally, 53.9% of Principals reported threats of violence and 48.2% reported physical violence – the highest since the ACU survey began in 2011.