Tasmanian teachers will soon refuse to record student attendance, decline annual school reviews, leave work on time, and forgo responding to emails outside of work hours.

Roz Madsen, AEU (Australian Education Union) Tasmania Branch State Manager has described the measures as “reluctant” but says the Hodgman government gives them “little choice but to escalate actions.”

“Will Hodgman’s Government has so far failed to offer any measures to tackle crippling educator workloads or negotiate in good faith over salary and is instead determined to have Tasmania’s experienced school teachers lowest paid in the country,” said Ms Madsen.

The union and state government have been butting heads over staffing requirements, pay rates, and workload.

Putting children at risk?

Acting Minister for Education and Training, Elise Archer has condemned the disruptions saying they will leave parents in the dark about their children’s education.

“Parents around the State will be confused about why the Union is punishing families and students when the Government has put a pay rise offer of 6 per cent over three years on the table,” she said.

The Tasmanian Association of State Schools Organization President, Nigel Jones has declared the union actions irresponsible.

“I cannot understand why they are targeting primary schools because we have little kids there. If their attendance isn’t ticked off and a fire alarm goes off during a day it can become pretty messy and it can put a child’s life at risk,” he said. “I really hope that the union have a really good look at this and reverse the decision.”

Mr Jones hopes the union and government can re-enter discussions to stop further industrial action.

“For quite some time we have worked really hard with improving the conduct of parents towards teachers in schools and all the union is doing now is sticking a firecracker in there,” Jones says. “Parents can becoming very emotional and very fiery when it comes to their children’s education and I don’t think this is helping.”

However, the AEU claims they have been experiencing “overwhelming support” from parents.

Teacher’s are standing by their choice and have clarified exactly what this action means for children and parents

One teacher explained, “All schools are taking attendance, every day.

“What they have implemented a ban on is to not enter that information into the DoE’s central data point. That is it”, he added.

Continuing to explain the action he said, “Instead, primary schools only are taking the hardcopy and keeping it at the office. This should not be a surprise because a Teachers Statement of Duties does not include attendance follow ups and data entry. If the DoE values this work they will resource schools to do it.

“The only person affected by the attendance ban on entering it centrally is the govt who love data and pitting school against school to push performances up at the cost of people’s workload and health and well-being.

“In terms of reporting, all that is occurring is that no general summary comment is being placed on end of year reports. This has never been a requirement for teachers to do this from the DoE but has been done through the goodwill of teachers for many decades.

“The govt is not rewarding nor recognising their goodwill gestures, so they are stopping it. Many students/families may find that they get positive summary feedback in other ways but the DoE wont have it recorded in their SARIS system.

“Teachers have students at the heart of these bans, because they want solutions to the tasks that take them away from being the best teachers they can be.

“Support Staff and principals similarly want to focus on putting the kids first, not data entry, not data analysis and not doing good will gestures that aren’t recognised and come at the cost of their own families and health.

“The solution is easy, recognise our educators and by being valued they’ll go above and beyond – like they always do.”

You can show your support by signing up to the Friends of Public Education campaign HERE.

Share your comments below

  • I really think Australia needs to shift it’s development of teachers. Universities need to raise the marks required to get into teaching to encourage motivated and competitive students. We want teachers who want to be there and we need to really value the teaching profession. Pay teachers a higher wage, give teachers more respect, cultivate more competent teachers with selection criteria and you will see an educational revolution!


  • Sounds like the government is blowing it out of proportion to justify their actions. 6% over a three year period is laughable. Pay our teachers what they’re worth, they’re literally moulding the minds of the future and a are worth so much more. Paying them a pittance whilst expecting loads of unpaid overtime and tasks outside of their job description is wrong and shameful.


  • I feel like teachers complain the most about their conditions. They know what they are in for when they start training for the role. I didn’t get a payrise in my current role for 4 years due to disputes between the agreement/union and employer. I am happy to just have a job as there are plenty of people that don’t

    • Mom7108, you do realise that if the wage is really low and working conditions poor, young people will not take up teaching and we may well find our selves with NO teachers and teaching is up there with one of the most important things for the future of our human race.


  • Some teachers put in loads of works and hours whilst others put in minimum and they both get the same pay.


  • don’t know if the lack of comments are a bad thing, our teachers write one thing then tell me something completely different at the parent teacher interviews


  • It is very difficult to arrange an appointment to speak to a teacher / principal about a school related matter regarding your child now. I know parents who asked for an appt. when the noticed a problem during the 2nd week of a school term. They were told to wait until the parent/teacher meeting which was still 6 weeks away…….Another 6 weeks before a parent can ask for advice on how to help their child with a problem. They didn’t expect the teacher to do it alone. They really had run out of ideas themselves and were looking for alternatives. It was a learning issue. Reports taken home containing assessments from some schools are confusing to say the least when the teacher writes very good results descriptions but gives a low grade ( a b c d etc)


  • The Hodgeman government has capped public servant wages at 2% increase per year. It was supposed to be discussed at a later date to remove the cap and let wages increase with the cost of living. Hodgeman then decided he didn’t way to discuss it anymore and said it will remain at 2%. The unions issue us Hodgeman has false facts to support his cap and also that he refuses to discuss it further. Politicians have no issues with their annual pay increases, they aren’t stopped or capped, and tgeir increases cost a whole bag load more then lowly public servants


  • Teachers get the most amount of holidays and they also have bugger all work hours. Yes, education needs to be addressed, but why are the kids the ones that suffer. At my job, i get paid a salary and am expected to work overtime with no extra pay. So why cant they.

    • mom297125 Just who do you think looks after children at school before lessons/school starts? Just who do you think puts children on busses after school/lessons end? When do you think they prepare lessons, mark books/work or write reports, prepare class rooms???? These are just a few of the things teachers do out of school hours. And NO I am not a school teacher.


  • Teachers should be recognized and valued indeed ! they should always be able to leave home on time and do not do anything work related after work hours, without getting paid for it.


  • Balance needs to be found so children in public schools aren’t disadvantaged.


  • Negotiations are always complicated and there is always complicated levels of detail. It is difficult to comment without knowing the full details of the proposal.


  • Teachers deserve more they have the most important job which is to educate the new generation and some of them put up with too much they deserve medals


  • I know a couple teachers and they are on good wages. Funny how they are the lowest earners in the country!

    • I’m not sure I understand how this is funny….


  • Maybe the Hodgeman government should sit down with unions etc and discuss things, instead of just deciding and ignoring what the people want

    • The union/s and government (all parties) need to enter negotiations again and work towards an agreed outcome.


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