Final year teaching student Brianna Corbyn already has her first job lined up. Picture: AAP/John Gass
Final year teaching student Brianna Corbyn already has her first job lined up. Picture: AAP/John Gass

Last resort used to staff classrooms

UNIVERSITY students are being granted special waivers to teach Queensland kids as the shortage of qualified teachers in parts of the state turns critical.

Education Queensland has confirmed 60 university students on initial teacher education courses have this year been handed early approval to teach so understaffed schools do not go without teachers.

In other parts of the state, particularly in regional and rural areas, skilled teachers are being shared across multiple schools in what's being dubbed the "cluster teaching" model.

Sharing teachers and putting university students in front of classes are some of the so-called "creative ways" principals are being forced to use to manage serious staffing challenges detailed in a new Department of Education report, Queensland: A State of Learning.

"Management of human and financial resources, and workforce planning to attract and retain quality teachers, presented a challenge for school leaders, parents and community members in some review schools," the report noted.

Education Queensland confirmed "Permission to Teach" may be granted in some circumstances to university students to take the place of a registered classroom teacher.

"This year, the department has granted some 60 approvals with more than half of these for a period less than six months," a department spokesman said.

Schools are also actively seeking to recruit talented university teaching students by offering them early employment contracts immediately following their graduation.

The Department of Education's strategies come as a new Australian Education Union survey of 670 principals nationally reveals Queensland is still among the worst offenders for requiring teachers to teach subjects they are not qualified for.

Across the country, the survey results show 45 per cent of principals say teachers are teaching out of field in their schools, but this figure jumps to an alarming 68 per cent among the more than 100 Queensland principals surveyed.

Maths and technology were found to be the two subjects most likely to be taught by a teacher unqualified in that particular discipline.

Final year teaching student Brianna Corbyn has already got a job next year teaching Prep at a Catholic primary school.

Ms Corbyn, who had her job interview in September, is among the high-achieving university teaching students being snapped up by schools.

"I guess I have been really fortunate to find out early on what I will be doing next year," the 21-year-old said.

"If you work hard you reap the rewards, and since I was a little girl I've always wanted to be a teacher," she said.