Teacher workforce and careers

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Teacher workload, Working hours, Primary school teachers, Secondary school teachers, Principals, Principal role, Teacher aides, Online surveys, Teacher stress, Knowledge base for teaching, Professional development


This study was commissioned by the Queensland Teachers’ Union. ACER gratefully acknowledges the assistance and support of the Union in conducting the study, in particular Leah Mertens and Madonna Cullinan, and the Union representatives and members: teachers, principals and heads of program who completed the survey.


The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) conducted an online survey of members on behalf of the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU). The survey was open to teachers, school leaders (principals and assistant principals) and heads of program working in Queensland government schools. It was based on one conducted for the Victorian branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU) in 2016 and the AEU – Tasmanian Branch in 2017. The survey of the work of union members in Queensland government schools focussed on the hours of work by school staff, staff perceptions of their work, and the relationship between work practices and the quality of teaching. More than 12 000 teachers, school leaders and heads of program completed the survey, representing 31% of QTU members. Full-time teachers responding to the survey worked an average of 44 hours in a typical week. Principals work approximately 62 hours per week during a typical week, but worked an average of 82 hours per week during Term 3. Close to one-third (32%) of teachers in secondary schools were teaching in at least one learning area for which they are not trained. 24% of teachers in primary schools, 15% of teachers in secondary schools and 18% of teachers in special schools work part-time. Only a small percentage of teachers – 16% of primary teachers and 15% of secondary teachers – are able to keep up with professional reading.

Place of Publication

Milton, Australia


Queensland Teachers’ Union

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