Workload burden and how to fix it highlighted to federal MPs

Members’ concerns about excessive workload have been conveyed to a federal inquiry into the status of the teaching profession.

The Australian Education Union’s submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training Inquiry into the status of the teaching profession, details results of Federation’s 2018 workload survey, including that the average full-time teacher works 55 hours per week during term time, with 43 hours per week at school on average and a further 11 hours per week at home.

Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said: “Our members commonly tell us that not only are they being expected to work too many hours, but the increased work that is asked of them makes little or no contribution to student learning. It’s a case of not only too much work but the wrong work.”

Ms Haythorpe said a reduction in excessive workload would require extra resources for more staff and a reduction in unnecessary bureaucratic requirements. Increased funding and systemic support from education departments could enable teachers to manage escalating workloads and enhance their focus on teaching and learning, she also said.

“Addressing excessive workload is fundamental to the appreciation of teaching as a profession and the attraction and retention of teachers in that profession, whether as teachers or educational leaders,” she said.

The Australian Education Union’s submission also covers teacher remuneration, initial teacher education, better career and leadership structures, teacher autonomy in the classroom, professional development and increasing the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers. Click here to access submissions to the inquiry.

Federation has been raising the problems of excessive workload with the NSW Department of Education and the NSW Government since the release of the Understanding Work in Schools — the Foundation for Teaching and Learning report (based on the survey of 18,000 NSW public school teachers) last year. Issues raised in the report are included in Federation’s campaigning priorities for the state and federal elections.