Skip to main content

Rural and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

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).

Accurate information

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).


to the Inquiry


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).

In South

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).

We need

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.