Ballarat teachers and principals are working long hours of unpaid overtime and facing increased stress levels according to a new survey released as local school staff join a campaign to renegotiate their wages and conditions.
Australian Education Union Victorian Branch deputy president Justin Mullaly said excessive workloads for principals, teachers and support staff had to be addressed in the new agreement.
"Ballarat government school teachers, principals and support staff are overworked and underpaid," Mr Mullaly said.
"Teachers in Ballarat public schools work an average of 14 hours of unpaid overtime every week. Principals are working up to 60 hours per week.
More than 270 educators from the central highlands region, including Ballarat, took part in the union's State of Our School survey.
Work-related stress and workload were the key concerns, with 89 per cent of staff saying their work-related stress had increased or increased a lot in the past 12 months, and almost three quarters indicating this was due to excessive workload.
Most teachers said their workload was never, seldom or sometimes manageable, and two in five admitted they were thinking about leaving teaching.
Almost 90 per cent said reducing workloads would help to keep teachers in the profession.
The Victorian Government Schools Agreement (VGSA) nominally expires today. Today we launch our campaign for a new VGSA that must address excessive workload for principals, teachers and support staff. #supportschoolstaff@AEUVictoria#springst@DanielAndrewsMP@JamesMerlinoMPpic.twitter.com/D6jf1wVknq— Erin Aulich (@erinaulich) April 30, 2021
"Despite their professionalism, exhausted teachers with excessive workloads and teaching large classes can't deliver the quality and support our children need and deserve," Mr Mullaly said while visiting teachers at Ballarat High School.
"Teachers must be provided with the time and professional trust they need to focus on their core work of teaching and learning.
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Principals reported heavy workloads, having to deal with too many competing interests or priorities, and concern about lack of funding.
"Principals burdened by excessive administration and compliance do not have a manageable workload and cannot easily provide the educational leadership needed to deliver the best education to their school communities," Mr Mullaly said.
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