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Rural and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

Rural and Remote

Education Inquiry Briefing Paper

6. Staff in demand


Rural and remote

schools confront a number of problems related to the recruitment of ESL,

Maths science and IT teachers. Attracting these teachers is only part

of the problem. Satisfying staffing criteria to warrant a non-core-curriculum

teacher is another concern for school principals (Wudinna school meeting,

SA, 11 August 1999). This is particularly problematic for the smaller

schools where there is a lack of student numbers to satisfy the staffing

formulae. This means that smaller schools miss out on curriculum options.

Where there are teacher

shortages related to particular disciplines in metropolitan regions, the

problems are amplified in the regional and remote areas. Information technology

is an area of great shortage in non-metropolitan schools across Western

Australia (Kururrungku Catholic Education Centre meeting, Billiluna WA,

14 May 1999).

There are currently

few pre-service training incentives to encourage staff to take positions

in rural and remote Australian schools. When positions cannot be filled

in schools, or student numbers do not warrant an additional staff member,

Distance Education is substituting for face-to-face teaching.

Various education

stakeholders have suggested a range of pre-service incentives. Some of

these incentives include, teaching scholarships for remote school trainees,

access to subsidies such as Abstudy and Austudy, teaching practicums in

rural and remote schools, deferment or reductions of Higher Education

Contribution Scheme repayments and teacher training programs for Aboriginal

and Islander Education Workers.


to the Inquiry


rural schools have always had a problem with finding then keeping specialist

staff. A looming teacher shortage will exacerbate the problem; however,

a lack of Maths, Science and Information Technology teachers has had an

impact in our area already. Consequently in all rural schools you have

staff teaching out of their faculty areas. This cannot be for the overall

good of the student (Submission 11, Trangie Central School, NSW).

When you consider

that Lajamanu Community Education Centre has a large number of students

with high support needs, that the Special Education teacher's position

is only .5, and that the current Special Education teacher is not trained

in this field; then the lack of service to our students becomes an even

greater access and equity issue. The Department of Education is not

meeting its obligations to an inclusive school environment by the provision

of a range of consultancy and visiting teacher support (Lajumanu

Community Education Centre 1999).


updated 2 December 2001.