Berlin’s state parents’ committee does not want to stand idly by when the schools continue to thin out staff for the coming school year. With two resolutions over the weekend, he showed ways of alleviating the emergency situation that is arising from the worsening shortage of teachers and other educational staff.

The starting point is the statement by the education administration that the gap in teachers has increased to around 1000 full-time staff – there are neither lateral entrants nor other forces in sight that could compensate for this shortfall. Schools should now decide for themselves where to save. The – difficult – selection includes support and profile hours as well as discounted hours, with which older colleagues or teachers who are entrusted with additional tasks are relieved.

In addition, some school administrations and coalition politicians raise the question of whether regular lessons should be canceled. In view of this complicated situation, the State Parents’ Committee is demanding that the education administration convene a “teacher shortage management round table” to clarify the question of how the upcoming shortage of teachers in connection with independent schools can be dealt with. All relevant associations, trade unions, interest groups and bodies at state level should be involved.

The second requirement also revolves around the shortage – namely the shortage that arises when educators, teaching assistants or social workers fall ill. In contrast to the teachers, the schools do not have a budget for these other educational staff with which they could pay substitute staff. The education authority likes to point out that a flat rate replacement fee is already included in the personnel allocation. However, this lump sum is apparently so small that it is not enough in view of the high workload and sick leave.

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Especially since it is the educators who have to help out when teachers fall ill: Because there is a replacement budget for the teachers. But it only works for long-term illnesses. In addition, due to the shortage of teachers that has been rampant for ten years, many substitutes have long been scheduled in the schools and are therefore no longer available spontaneously.

In the future, the representation situation will be even more explosive. Because of the shortage of special needs teachers, some of them will be replaced by so-called pedagogical teaching aids starting in the summer when looking after students with intellectual disabilities and autism. But for them – just like for the educators – there is no substitute budget from which the schools or the independent providers could pay temporary workers. In addition, the State Parents’ Committee points out that replacing sick educators, helpers and social workers is not a “nice to have” but a mandatory task, since “every elementary school in Berlin is an all-day school”.