Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Huge demand for schools and teachers

 A new report says demand for teachers and classrooms will rise every year until at least 2025 as the babies born after 2008 come into secondary schools.

New South Wales will need about 385 new classes each year until 2020, Queensland will need 443 and Western Australia 351.

Victoria will experience the most demand for primary classes, tipped at an additional 448 each year.

That will result in more schools likely being built to cope with demand in outer-metro growth areas, the Australian Council for Educational Research's report released today said.

The council said some Catholic and independent schools may struggle under the pressure of more students, leading to an overflow onto the public sector.

Council chief executive Geoff Masters says universities and schools will need to work together to ensure more quality teachers.

"The Teacher Workforce in Australia report assists school and system leaders to understand how many new teachers we will need to prepare and retain in the workforce in order to meet the growing student population, and that attention needs to be paid to particular locations and particular specialist subjects," Masters said in a statement.

"Supply generally has outstripped demand, particularly for generalist primary teachers, and in some secondary subjects, but this report indicates that the demand for teachers is currently strong and is forecast to remain high in most states for at least the next 10 years."

The report projects demand for teachers will rise, but a shortage of secondary physics, computing, maths and chemistry teachers will eventuate as more resort to teaching out of their field. About 20 per cent of mathematics and physics teachers are currently teaching out-of-field, with out-of-field teaching in some subjects likely to become more acute over the next 10 years if the projected rising demand is not addressed.

"We need to recruit high-quality candidates into rigorous teacher education programs simply to maintain the quality of Australia’s school system. This report shows that higher education providers, school systems and schools need to work together to ensure the supply and retention of high-quality teachers, which is essential if we are to achieve strong student outcomes,"  Masters added.

Meredith Peace, Australian Education Union Victorian branch president said the report quantifies what the union and its members have been campaigning about for some time.

“The report predicts Victoria will need 448 primary school classrooms every year, until 2020. Primary school numbers have already started to grow, putting pressure on the current primary system, but also indicating the growth in demand in the secondary sector in the years to come.

“We’ve been calling for proper forward-planning for the sector for years. The data is available, but what we need now is action to ensure Victorian children have their educational needs met," she said.

Original story from AAP and the Age

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