Student teachers are being ticked off early to fill the gap of registered teachers in the state. Picture: File
Student teachers are being ticked off early to fill the gap of registered teachers in the state. Picture: File

Why unregistered teachers are working in Qld schools

AN INCREASING number of Queensland university ­students are being approved to teach before they have ­officially graduated, as the state is gripped by a shortage of educators.

The Courier-Mail can reveal that last year, 99 students in education courses were granted Permission to Teach (PTT) waivers by Education Queensland to help fill the gap in schools without enough teachers - 39 more early approvals than in 2018.

But a Department of Education spokeswoman said the number of teachers on PTT represented "only a fraction of all new teachers hired" and they taught in schools for an average of one semester.

Nearly 100 university students were ticked off early to teach Queensland kids as the state’s education system is gripped by a shortage of teachers. Picture: File
Nearly 100 university students were ticked off early to teach Queensland kids as the state’s education system is gripped by a shortage of teachers. Picture: File

The spokeswoman said that the approvals issued included those for students who had finished their courses, but were yet to graduate and be registered as teachers.

The main criteria for a PTT, which is assessed by the Queensland College of Teachers, includes evidence that no "appropriate" registered teacher is already available for that position, and evidence that the applicant has the skills and ability relevant to the job, and is "suitable to teach".

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said the process should be used only as a last resort and he was concerned the number issued was increasing.

Mr Bates said that a concerning number of teachers were already forced to teach outside of their specialty, and this could place increasing pressure on new teachers employed under PTTs.

"It can complicate things enormously … in remote and rural areas you usually have to teach something you're not trained in, and that involves an enormous amount of additional work," he said.

"A teacher in a western school who is trained as a junior primary school teacher is teaching a secondary art and a math class simply because there aren't enough teachers.

"PTT should be a last resort only and should not be seen as an easy option for HR systems to fill a gap. We need to have a long-term view to make sure teachers are available to teach every class."

Mr Bates said those teachers needed more support.

"If they're coming in on PTT, the standard induction and support of the Beginning to Teach program is simply not enough."

During 2019, the department employed more than 1400 new teachers, and 500 new teachers have already ­accepted appointments to start in 2020, an Education spokeswoman said.


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