Inquiry into the Status of the Teaching Profession
Queensland Teachers' Journal, Vol 124 No 1, 15 February 2019, page no. 8
On Thursday 15 November, the federal parliament’s Standing Committee on Employment, Education, and Training adopted an inquiry into the status of the teaching profession.
Interested organisations were invited to prepare submissions to the Standing Committee, which is chaired by Andrew Laming MP with Susan Lamb MP as deputy chair. They are both Queenslanders, as are four of the remaining eight committee members. The QTU prepared a submission, as did the federal body of our union, the Australian Education Union (AEU). The QTU submission focused on issues that are particularly significant for Queensland, such as teacher numbers and the challenges of staffing schools in all parts of the state via the transfer and relocations processes.
The inquiry has four terms of reference.
- Increasing the attractiveness of the profession for teachers and principals, including workplace conditions, and career and leadership structures.
- Provision of appropriate support platforms for teachers, including human and IT resources.
- Identifying ways in which the burden of out-of-hours, at-home work can be reduced.
- Investigating ways to increase retention rates for the teaching profession and avoid “burn out” among early-career teachers.
Our submission addressed each of these. In compiling our submission, we sought feedback from our members (via some of the QTU’s standing committees), QTU policy and educational research. The inquiry’s deadline was 21 December, and the QTU thanks all members who were able to provide input for this submission at short notice and at such a busy time of year. Member feedback adds authenticity to our submissions and establishes the QTU as an organisation that understands teachers, principals, and the profession.
We made 28 recommendations to the inquiry and drew its attention to some up-to-date research that was due for imminent release. Some of the key recommendations include:
- ensuring that every public school is funded to 100 per cent of the schooling resource standard by 2023
- addressing the negative perceptions of the teaching profession
- ensuring pay and working conditions serve to incentivise teachers
- teacher representation on the AITSL board
- appropriate IT and HR support
- the need to manage workload
- specific measures for beginning teachers, including mentoring and induction
- support before commencing teaching via internships, preservice practicum placements and financial incentives, to attract potential teachers to the profession.
The submission is available on the QTU website.