Scrolling through IEU's social media channels

IEU’s Facebook page is an exciting hub of ideas and discussion, followed by over 4000 teachers and support staff. Here are some of the top stories they’re talking about this month. Like us at and join in the conversation.

Celebrating support staff

Equal Times has reported on Education International’s pledge to raise the global profile of support staff, or education support personnel (ESP). Education International – “a global federation of over 32 million teachers and support personnel in 173 countries” – has uncovered that ESPs around the world “often have low salaries and unfavourable working conditions.”

Education International held a conference in May this year which brought together “union leaders, education support personnel, researchers and representatives of international organisations from around the world.”

The privatisation of education is having a huge impact on support staff, leading to “precarious contracts, poor benefits and little job security”.

IEU members were quick to agree, Julie said in the comments, “I do a lot of the same staff training as teachers but do not get any accreditation or recognition.”

To follow developments use the hashtags: #ESPday #Notjust #Proudtobe

Older teachers in the UK leaving in record numbers

Last month, The Guardian featured an article in their Secret Teachers series headlined “The exodus of older teachers is draining schools of expertise.”

“The average age of teachers is falling. In 2013, the OECD teaching and learning international survey found that the average age of teachers in secondary schools in England was 39 – almost four years younger than the global average.”

Teaching is a profession which relies not only on formal training but often on the wisdom and expertise of more experienced colleagues.

Changes in the professions, decreased teacher autonomy, increased workloads, increased data entry, move towards rote learning curriculums, are responsible for this exodus.

The article struck a chord with IEU members.

Patricia commented: “Sadly, there’s a culture of ageism in the system in which I teach. Experience, while appreciated and valued by the younger teachers, is not valued by the hierarchy. Most senior teachers I know, while they love teaching, are talking about getting out. The students are the ones that will miss out.”

Australia has highest level of temporary workers in OECD

“Sydney primary school teacher Rebecca Sheerin, 32, has been working on fixed term contracts for about 10 years and is preparing to teach in Singapore because she has been unable to find a permanent job,” reported the Sydney Morning Herald in May.

Australia’s percentage of temporary employees is at 24.9%, more than double the OECD average of 11.4%.

An ACTU report “lists 108 recommendations to support greater job security, including through use of government procurement.”

Being on a temporary contract “means you can’t ever say no to being given extra work and you always feel you have to show you are available to the school so they keep giving you contracts. So life work balance has gone out the door because you need that next year’s work.’’

“Same for support staff,” wrote Carolyn in the comments. “Far too many on temporary contracts.”

Andrew Laming says teachers should work more, have shorter holidays

The IEU Facebook page comment section was alive with reactions to Queensland MP Andrew Laming’s comments on Twitter, earlier last month.

On his profile he wrote “are teachers back at work this week, or are they ‘lesson planning’ from home? Let me know exactly.”

His sarcasm and derision were met with an appropriate response from IEU members.

“Just another lazy weekend,” said Louise in the comments, “marking 70 assessments. I’d love to work a 38 hour week!”

Katherine commented, “pushing students out of the industrial model and pushing teachers back into it. Andrew Laming needs to consider flexible work spaces, innovative learning spaces for all those in education, not just students.”

Alex Menyhart
Online Journalist