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.
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.
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.