With the year now well underway, AEU members will be back in the groove in your schools, amid some significant challenges across the state. This is set to be a big year of campaigning for the AEU – to continue improving the working lives of members and to advocate for public education. Implementing the VGSA 2022, pushing for better school funding, and supporting the Voice to Parliament campaign is all central to that work.
Many schools have had a tumultuous start, with hundreds of staff vacancies still to be filled. The department has been providing some support for those schools, particularly in Melbourne’s growth corridors – however, the reality is, there aren’t enough fully qualified teachers available. The shortages are also creating significant workload and program challenges for staff and schools, as they find ways to paper over the gaps.
The AEU has been pushing the Andrews government to invest in attraction and retention strategies, as outlined in the AEU’s Ten-Year Plan for Staffing in Public Education. The government can no longer ignore the shortages. They must act, with funded short- and medium-term initiatives, or risk the right of every child to a fully qualified and appropriately resourced teacher in front of their classroom.
The strength of our union is built on our tens of thousands of members. When we stand together, we can drive change for the benefit of members and our students.
At the end of 2022, education ministers decided to extend the current National Schools Resource Agreement (NSRA), which sets out the state and federal funding for public schools. Continuing the existing, unfair arrangements for a further 12 months to the end of 2024 denies students in public schools the funding they need, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
The recently released Report on Government Services (RoGS) highlights the need for urgent action to address the growing inequity in our education system. In Victoria, over the past 10 years, real recurrent funding (state and Commonwealth) only grew by 27% for government schools whilst increasing by 37% for non-government schools.
Both the federal and Victorian Labor governments have pledged to ensure public schools reach a minimum of 100% of the schooling resource standard. We’ve had enough of these empty, drawn-out promises. Governments must act now to ensure students don’t miss out on vital resources now and into the future.
With our focus firmly on working with members to implement the new VGSA and its important workload relief – along with our campaigns for fairer school funding and the Voice to Parliament – this is an important time to build your sub-branch.
The strength of our union is built on our tens of thousands of members. When we stand together, we can drive change for the benefit of members and our students. Make sure you ask any new teachers, principals and ES in your school to join the AEU and take part in our actions throughout the year to build a better public education system with a well-resourced and supported workforce.