The real ‘state’ of Tasmanian education revealed

As Premier Rockliff looks to make rosy Tasmania’s depleted public education system during Tuesday’s State of the State address, the true facts about Tasmania’s education ‘progress’ paint a strikingly different picture.

Developed by educators, the Australian Education Union’s report on the real state of education, released today, lays bare the realities of an over-stretched sector in need of serious investment.

The paper, which outlines Tasmania’s high teacher attrition rate and dwindling student performance, shows the Rockliff Government can no longer sugar-coat the state’s exhausted education system.

AEU State Manager Brian Wightman said the Rockliff Government’s refusal to take urgent action on staffing and teacher workloads meant students were missing out and educators were burning out.

“Statistics show schools are at breaking point and student learning is suffering as more educators leave the profession – we can’t afford another 271 burnout-related teacher resignations in 2023,” said Mr Wightman.

“The wait times of 140 days for students to access a school psychologist and 108 days to see a speech and language therapist are completely unacceptable,” he said.

“Disadvantage is increasing in the public system with every school underfunded while private school funding continues to outstrip public school investment.”

“What is urgently needed is for the Premier Rockliff to deliver more in class support and workload relief for teachers and principals.”

Other key data in the report:

  • Public school students in Tasmania are funded $2,080 below the minimum Schooling Resources Standard.
  • Per student funding for public schools grew 13.4 per cent over the eight years to 2021, while State Government private school investment grew 31.4 per cent over the same period.
  • Proportionally, public schools have over twice as many students from low Socio-Economic Advantage (SEA) than private schools.
  • The TasTAFE teacher headcount dropped by 27 to 460 over the 12 months to October 2022.
  • Year 12 Attainment rate in 2021 was 57.6 per cent, well below the 78.4 per cent national average.

Teachers detailed the solutions needed for Tasmanian schools in the AEU’s Lifting Learning campaign, launched last year but Premier Rockliff has refused to deliver on essential workload relief and in-class support.

“What is needed is urgent commitments from Premier Rockliff, not more sugar-coated words, and if he continues to deny teachers essential support, they will feel they have no other option than to take further industrial action,” said Mr Wightman.