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Sharp increase in Queensland teacher vacancies as non-teaching staff front classes to stay open

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 one year.

There were 1050 teacher vacancies in Queensland as of the end of May this year, compared with 760 in a similar time frame last year, revealed in a Question on Notice response in the state’s parliament.

It came as the extent of teacher shortages had been laid bare in a Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) survey, showing 75 per cent of about 500 school leaders were using non-teaching staff, like principals and heads of department, to teach classes and two thirds of teachers were working outside their specialty.

Vacancies in Queensland’s North Coast region spiked from 15 in 2021 to 101 in 2022 as of the end of May, a 573 per cent increase.

Meanwhile in metropolitan areas, vacancies jumped 81 per cent from 92 to 167, and 59 per cent from 138 to 220 in Central Queensland.

Region

2022

2021

Central Queensland

220

138

Darling Downs South West

86

81

Far North Queensland

161

209

Metropolitan

167

92

North Coast

101

fifteen

North Queensland

240

183

South East

75

42

Total

1050

760

*Source: Question on Notice

Teacher survey reveals long-term understaffing

In publishing some of the data in the QTU’s journal, the union’s general secretary Kate Ruttiman said it was clear the education department had been unable to “fully staff a significant number of schools over the past few years.”

She said the data showed “the understaffing of schools has been increasing by at least 5 per cent per year.”

The subject areas with the most significant shortages were technologies, mathematics, science, instrumental music, HPE and the arts.

Workforce shortages brutal on teacher wellbeing

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