3. Targeted support

We're identifying high-performing public schools in NSW and working with them to share their effective practices with other schools across the state and beyond.

The NSW Teacher Supply Strategy complements and incorporates recommendations of the Rural and Remote Incentives review into a range of short, medium and longer-term initiatives.

These initiatives are designed to strengthen the supply of quality teachers in regional communities and provide targeted support for students in the places it is needed.

Rural and Remote Incentives Review

NSW offers the most comprehensive rural and remote incentives scheme for teachers in Australia. To ensure we continue to attract and retain high quality staff in rural and remote areas, the NSW Government began a review of the scheme in 2020.

The review recommended enhancements based on what works best. In response to these recommendations, the NSW Government has committed an additional $15m investment to implement a range of immediate initiatives, including:

  • Targeted recruitment bonuses of up to $20,000
  • Expanded eligibility so that temporary teachers can receive incentives such as the Rural Teacher Incentive (up to $30,000), the Retention Bonus (up to $5,000 per annum) and the Experienced Teacher Bonus (up to $10,000 per annum
  • Immediate action to meet housing demand, including over $5m in additional funding for building, repairs and maintenance, as well as immediate housing support for seven priority locations
  • Opportunities to partner with universities to increase teacher supply, preparation and experience in rural and remote areas.

Over the medium to long term, the review also identified further opportunities to strengthen the supply of quality teachers in regional communities, including:

  • The What Works Program, which will create a regular channel to hear ideas and innovation from rural and remote teachers, schools and communities
  • A review of the current transfer points allocation mechanism, using evidence-based indices, to ensure equity and alignment to the areas of greatest need. This review will involve extensive consultation with the teaching workforce and other stakeholders to establish a sustainable, long-term approach.

Increase teach.Rural scholarships

The Rural and Remote identified teacher scholarships as tools to strengthen teacher supply. This initiative will double the total placements offered under the successful teach. Rural scholarships to 120 per year to attract high quality teachers in rural and remote areas.

The teach.Rural scholarship provides financial support during teaching degrees, and a permanent teaching position in a rural or remote NSW public school following successful completion.

This scholarship already receives a significant number of high quality applications each year and a boost in scholarship numbers will allow the department to support more talented teachers to complete their studies ahead of teaching in our rural communities.

Expanded Rural Experience Program

Increased investment in the Rural Experience Program will enable it to fund up to 50 places per year from 2022. This program supports experienced metropolitan teachers to complete a trial placement in a rural school of up to 4 terms. Since the program launched in 2018, more than half of participating teachers have remained or later taken up positions in rural schools.

Grow Your Own

The department is also exploring ways that we can grow opportunities to support locally-based students and other community members with an interest in teaching, to complete a teaching qualification while retaining local connections.

Beginning with a pilot in 2022, the department will develop a program to identify and support high potential secondary students and community members from regional communities to become teachers.

Studies of medical graduates from the USA, Canada and Australia indicate that those from rural backgrounds are more likely to go on to practice in a rural setting than those from metropolitan backgrounds.

The program will provide opportunities for high potential secondary students to be employed as a School Learning Support Officer in a regional school for one year following completion of Year 12.

This will provide participants with valuable work experience and mentoring from teachers, ahead of being supported to apply for initial teacher education study and scholarships.

Support for Rural Beginners

This initiative is designed to boost the number of new teachers staying permanently in regional areas by helping and supporting them to settle into their new community. This will help minimise the risk of social isolation, which can contribute to attrition in rural areas.

A package of community induction support will be provided to help new teachers to develop social and professional ties. The pilot will build on learnings from schemes used in other sectors (e.g. mining).

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