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Principals, teachers, staff protest against workforce shortages



Principals, teachers and school staff have gathered on the steps of state parliament in Melbourne to protest a chronic teacher shortage.

The Australian Education Union Branch President Meredith Price said job vacancies were at an all-time high at schools across the state, with as many as 2600 jobs yet to be filled.

"Our kids are being let down," Price said.

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Staff are taking on more responsibilities as class sizes continue to grow, teacher Simon Cole said.

"Teachers that are in schools are shouldering exhausting and unsustainable workloads to try to fill the gap," he said.

The Australian Education Union have penned an open letter to Premier Daniel Andrews, calling for retention payments to keep staff and financial support for those studying teaching.

"The staff in our schools are being let down and we are here to say it's not good enough," Price said.

"We believe we have the solutions, but we need the Andrews government to step up to make the investment."

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The Victorian premier today said he was proud of the progress made in addressing the teacher shortage.

"We have recruited 5000 teachers since 2020 at double the rate of any other state across our nation," Andrews said.

"There's absolutely a challenge and people are free to protest. I don't think protesting is the answer and I think hard work is the answer."

An Australian Education Union survey of 430 Victorian teachers found over a third of schools are being forced to increase class sizes to manage shortages.

Almost 40 per cent said they were using principals and assistant principals to help fill gaps in the classroom.

"Victoria is supposed to be the education state," Price said.

"They are not going to be able to deliver on that if we don't have staff to educate our kids."

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