Supporting teachers to teach and improving education outcomes should be the state government’s focus – not spending a fortune on pen pushers in government departments, Member for South West Coast Roma Britnell says.
Mrs Britnell’s comments come after analysis found that the number of public servants hired in the education department exploded by 18% in a year, adding 411 full-time staff at a minimum cost of $38 million.
At the same time, the Andrews Labor government employed just 370 extra principals and teachers – an increase of less than 1 per cent – despite the fact Victoria’s population is growing by nearly 150,000 people every year.
Mrs Britnell said support is needed in classrooms, not in skyscrapers in the city.
“Our teachers and principals do important and fabulous work – but they are under extreme pressure,” Mrs Britnell said.
“They are being swamped with process and their job is made difficult because of an increase in bureaucratic processes.”
“We’ve hired all these bureaucrats, but we haven’t seen any improvement in education outcomes, so you have to ask what the justification is? What is this explosion in the public service achieving?”
Mrs Britnell said the State Government should be funding greater supports for teachers in classrooms and backing tried and tested programs that help keep kids engaged in education.
“At Heywood the Standing Tall Program is achieving great results, kids’ lives are being turned around, they are staying at school and taking on leadership roles,” she said.
“Teachers tell me this program has turned their work from dealing with crisis and just getting these kids through the day to actually educating engaged young people.
“I’ve heard similar report from Warrnambool where the program also runs.
“These are the types of things money should be spent on, not another bureaucrat, creating processes and red tape to try and justify their job.”