Reorganisation of schools required

– it’s time to recognise all teacher work

Alex Leggett from QIEU reported in IE, distributed earlier in 2016, the findings of an OECD report into teaching: Education at a Glance.

The article indicated that longer hours of work, in Australia 879 hours per year face to face teaching, exceeded Germany, England and Luxembourg. The OECD average is 772 hours per year.

To accommodate the plethora of non classroom based teacher work “the role and function of a teacher requires scrutiny. Professional responsibilities to engage with colleagues regarding teaching and learning require acknowledgement”.

With an ageing workforce of teachers, the data echoes the need to attract the best and brightest to the profession. Teaching hours and the demands beyond the classroom such as non teaching duties and adequate preparation and correction time are big factors in attracting graduates to the profession on a global scale.

This data shows Australian teacher retention policies ultimately must address the increasing hours spent in the classroom.

The report suggests that more time spent teaching may also indicate less time spent assessing students and preparing lessons, leaving them to perform more tasks in their own time, and having an effect on teachers’ personal lives.

If Australia can improve its working conditions and salaries for teachers with less time spent in classes we will be able to retain better quality teachers, and ultimately, a better educated society.

IEU Assistant Secretary Mark Northam indicated that the direct teaching time of teachers must be diminished. The time made available, within existing structures, would then enable teachers to meet new demands.

To achieve the sharing of professional practice, preparing for lessons, reviewing student progress and observing other teachers, all of which are known to improve teacher effectiveness, reorganisation is an imperative.

Full a full copy of the report and more information on OECD, visit

Mark Northam
Assistant Secretary