Rural and Remote
Education Inquiry Briefing Paper
3. Recruitment of staff
State and Territory
education departments have, to varying degrees, developed staff recruitment
strategies for rural and remote teaching positions. It is generally agreed,
however, that the current arrangements for teacher induction to rural
and remote schools are either inadequate or non-existent. According to
the Australian Education Union, most education departments have begun
discussions about the need for recruitment strategies and the need to
include information about rural and remote schools in teacher training
qualifications (Robert Laird, Australian Education Union (NT), Darwin
public hearing, 10 May 1999).
about the nature of teaching placements in rural and remote Australia
can assist in the employment of appropriate staff. Since the majority
of teaching staff in rural and remote schools are recent graduates with
few years of teaching experience, it is important that these staff members
know the nature of a rural or remote posting. For many the posting is
their first teaching appointment (Butorac 1998, page 6). The placement
in a remote community can be a culture shock. The first years of teaching
can be demanding and difficult without the compounding factor of a new
and unexpected living environment.
The Catholic Education
Office in Western Australia has worked to address this problem by compiling
a video and training program entitled 'Kimberley Calling' (Catholic Education
Office WA 1999). This resource provides a real picture of remote school
communities and outlines the attractions and the challenges of remote
school teaching. Kimberley teachers assist in an information session for
new recruits and participate in the selection process. Since the development
of 'Kimberley Calling' in 1998, 18 teachers have been recruited to the
Kimberley. After one year, 17 staff are still working in the region. This
has a positive and stabilising influence on the school communities and
the school curricula (Catholic Education Office 1999).
our school had a teacher vacancy and struggled to get any applicants.
Principals generally have to be proactive and seek out applicants to apply
by ringing around education facilities looking for applicants, or [ringing]
other similar schools in the cities who have recently advertised for teachers
to find out if there were any likely or prospective applicants among them
(Submission 36, St Mary's Primary School, Victoria).
Australia the Department for Education Training and Employment has had
a range of country incentives but they have not been very effective. The
current incentives reward the teachers who want to be in the country and
have had little impact on increasing the number of applicants for country
positions - both teaching and leadership. Incentives may need to include
free housing, access to a car, significant pay differences and access
to free tertiary study (Submission 23, Open Access College SA).
more staff. We need other teachers and also professional counsellors.
And we need teachers who want to be here. There needs to be incentives
provided for prospective staff so that the community and the students
get teachers in the school who choose to be here (Submission 5, Boggabilla
Central School, NSW).
seeing continuing problems in staff recruitment and the retention of staff,
with the exception of Aboriginal graduate teachers, who have, in many
schools, stabilised the staffing beyond what it was before (Peter
Toyne, NT Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Darwin public hearing,
10 May 1999).
Given that a teacher
shortage is predicted in the next 5 years (Robert Laird, Australian Education
Union (NT), Darwin public hearing, 10 May 1999), governments will have
to address the problem of teacher recruitment to isolated regions. It
appears that allowances are not enough to encourage teachers to take these
positions. A number of suggestions have been made to this Inquiry regarding
appropriate incentives for teachers. The Inquiry invites further information
and suggestions regarding this subject. Click here
for the Inquiry's contact details.
updated 2 December 2001.