Queens schools plug up teacher vacancies with non-classroom teachers

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Queens schools plug up teacher vacancies with non-classroom teachers

More than 300 Queensland state schools are plugging critical teacher vacancies with non-classroom based educators to keep schools operating, as the number of vacant positions soars by 38 per cent in a single year.

As of the end of May this year there were 1050 teacher vacancies in Queensland compared to 760 in a similar time frame last year, according to a question on Notice response in the state's parliament.

In a Queensland Teachers' Union survey, 75 per cent of about 500 school leaders use non-teaching staff, like principals and heads of department, to teach classes, and two thirds of teachers are outside their specialty, it came as the extent of teacher shortages was laid bare by the extent of teacher shortages.

As of the end of May, the number of vacancies in Queensland's North Coast region went from 15 in 2021 to 101 in 2022, a 573 per cent increase.

Vacancies in metropolitan areas jumped by 81 per cent from 92 to 167 and 59 per cent from 138 to 220 in Central Queensland.

The education department has not been able to fully staff a large number of schools over the past few years, according to the data released by the QTU's journal. The subject areas with the most significant shortages included technology, mathematics, science, instrumental music, HPE and the arts.

The shortages led 476 school principals to indicate the impact of their staff's work outside their areas of expertise, 54 per cent of teachers are taking on a teaching load, and 46 per cent of the teaching staff are not able to access their NCT non-contact time and other working conditions each week. Christian Rowan, a spokesman for the opposition, said teacher shortages had a negative effect on both students and teachers.

He said that the state government doesn't have a comprehensive teacher workforce plan for Queensland's school.

Through years 3, 5, 7, and 9, not a single educational outcome target was achieved across reading, writing and numeracy, as we saw in the state budget this week.

In response to the Question on Notice, Education Minister Grace Grace said the education department was working with schools to address current and emerging workforce needs.

Teacher vacancies are normal part of the workforce cycle and can occur for various reasons, including planned and unplanned leave, transferring to another school, promotion to a school leadership position or senior position in the department, returning to higher education institutes to pursue further study, resignations and retirement, she said.

In the first two years, a student in a school taught a subject to Uni students.

One strategy that fills up with shortages is the Permission to Teach PTT program, which uses university students and graduates who are yet to be registered to teach in schools.

The Queensland College of Teachers granted 320 teachers PTT waivers in 2021, up from 211 in 202 and 178 in 2019 for PTT waivers.

One school had 9 PTT teachers on its books, according to the QTU's survey.

The majority of these were completing their fourth year of initial teacher education, worryingly, 24 PTTs are in their first two years of education study, Ms Ruttiman said.

Education Minister Grace Grace's office has been contacted for comment.