The ACT Government is not taking the teacher shortage seriously. In enterprise bargaining discussions, it has failed to come up with real solutions to the teacher shortage crisis. Even worse, the ACT Government’s pay offer to teachers was a real-terms pay cut.
Throughout the pandemic, we saw just how vital schools are in keeping our children learning and our communities running. Teachers were exposed to Covid-19 before many others in as they resumed work with some of the only people in our community who cannot be vaccinated. They worked dozens of hours of unpaid overtime to move schools from in-person learning, to remote learning and back again. But staff shortages in 2022 were so serious that students were being sent to remote learning or, perhaps worse, taught in unsafe combined classes of more than 60 students.
The ACT Government needs to show teachers that they are valued and send a message to the community that it is doing everything it can to make careers in public education attractive. Offering the most experienced and often hardest-working staff a pay cut sends a signal that teachers are not valued and that the ACT Government is in denial about the teacher shortage crisis.