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Australia’s public school principals are prioritising fundraising as their schools fall short of basic resources, the latest State of Our Schools survey reveals.
The report, released by the Australian Education Union (AEU) last night, surveyed 1,428 principals and 7,513 teachers across Australia.
According to the responses received, 83% of schools are resorting to fundraising to boost their budgets, and 90% of principals who fundraise describe it as ‘important’ or ‘very important’.
Fundraising is being used for school essentials, with 50% of schools using it for computer hardware or software, 45% for sports equipment, 43% for library resources or textbooks and 26% of schools for basic maintenance on school infrastructure.
The report found that teachers were most likely to spend their own money on stationery (78%), classroom supplies (75%) and library resources (43%). Half of these teachers were shown to spend more than $500 of their own money each year on these basics.
However, some teachers (10%) were shown to spend up to $2,000 of their own money each year on basic school resources.
The report – which also examines teachers’ and principals’ working hours and workloads – found that more than half of full-time teachers work over 50 hours per week on school-related activities, while 29% work over 55 hours per week.
Worryingly, 75% of teachers believe their workload is increasing.
AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said reliance on fundraising and teacher contributions for essentials shows that Australia’s public schools are not getting the support they need.
“Teachers and principals should be spending all their time on the education of their students, not working out how many barbeques they need to organise and run to pay for a literacy and numeracy program,” Haythorpe said in a statement.
“Teachers are aware of the shortages of resources in their schools, and it is a major concern they feel that they need to pay for basic resources which should be available to all students as a matter of course.”