No job security for Hume region teachers

TEACHERS in Victoria’s Hume region say they lack job security and half those surveyed by the Australian Education Union don’t see themselves lasting more than 10 years in the job.

The union’s yearly Beginning Teachers’ Survey found almost 58 per cent had contracts for the first five years.

The union’s Victorian president Meredith Peace said the fact teachers were unlikely to stick with teaching would make it harder for regional schools.

She said the union wanted the major parties to value teachers more and have fewer of them on contracts.

“The number of contract teachers is increasing,” she said.

Ms Peace said principals were obliged to offer contracts because the state did not offer enough funding certainty for them to employ people long term.

But Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon disputed the union’s statistics while visiting the Border yesterday to open Wodonga Senior Secondary Coll-ege’s new campus.

He said the survey was a “narrow-focused” questionnaire by union members to teachers on short-term contracts.

He was “amused” by the claim there wasn’t enough job certainty.

“In this government’s budgets, we have actually increased education spending,” he said.

Mr Dixon said teachers were hired on contract to cover for those on long service leave, extended sick leave, leave without pay or family leave.

“You can only replace them with teachers who are on contracts,” he said.

Mr Dixon said he was not surprised many young teachers saw themselves as short-term teachers.

“I don’t think any young person sees themselves staying in the same job,” he said.

The survey also found 65 per cent of contracted teachers found re-applying for their job was a burden on their teaching, 97 per cent paid for work-related materials; and 36 per cent teach outside qualifications.

Mr Dixon said hiring teachers on contract gave principals the flexibility to hire people with specific qualifications.

“And, as a teacher and a principal, I have put my hand in my pocket to buy a few things,” he said.

“It’s certainly not demanded.”