Support for Rural Beginners Program - FAQs

Find answers to the questions most frequently asked about the Support for Rural Beginners Program.

Eligibility

To be eligible, you must be:

  • an early career teacher within your first 5 years of teaching;
  • new to an eligible regional, rural or remote school (started within the last 6 months);
  • on a permanent or temporary contract (minimum contract length of 12 months of the current year) and;
  • employed full-time or part-time.

School executive members are also eligible to apply to the program if they meet the above eligibility criteria.

Program details

Participants in the Support for Rural Beginners Program will receive:

  • A one-off $600 financial incentive paid one term after commencing in the program to be used toward building social connections
  • Connections to peers in the program in neighbouring or nearby schools, where possible
  • Access to a private online community page on Microsoft Teams that will be updated with upcoming events, professional learning opportunities and bi-annual webinars
  • An orientation buddy from your school or a nearby school to help you settle into the community
  • Links to existing networks 

The Support for Rural Beginners pilot will commence in Term 1, 2023.

The Principal Networks included in the program are: 
  • Far West
  • Mitchell
  • West Wyalong
  • Western Plains
  • Barwon
  • Mooki
  • select Connected Communities networks 

Please visit the schools list page to check which schools are participating in the program. It is anticipated that the program will expand and new eligible locations will be added from 2023.

If you are relocating to another regional location that is within scope of the program you should notify the Support for Rural Beginners Program team via email and let them know your new location.

You will continue to receive support through the program.

If you are relocating to a metropolitan location or location that is out of scope of the program you should notify the Support for Rural Beginners Program team via email.

You will not be asked to pay back any incentive payment you may have received for participation in the program. However, you will not be eligible to receive any further support or funding from this program.

The Support for Rural Beginners Program will be launched as a pilot in 2023. It is anticipated that additional locations will be added in the future. 

Whilst the department recommends that participants partake in all available mentoring and buddy/networking opportunities, there are no minimum participation requirements.

The department will inform you of any local social networks, virtual staff rooms, training and development opportunities.

Schools can choose to nominate teachers to participate in the buddy program (maximum one hour per week or as agreed between the new teacher and their buddy). The process of identifying participants will require knowledge of the staff and their interests. Resources and support will be available to assist schools in this process.

Financial support

Confirmed participants will receive a one-off payment of $600 one term after they commence in the program.

The payment will be made as an addition within a pay cycle and will be subject to marginal tax.

The department advises teachers to seek independent financial advice to determine the exact tax implications of the payment. 

No, this incentive payment cannot be salary packaged.

However, some activities may be tax deductible, for example an art teacher taking an art class. Teachers should seek independent financial advice about claiming tax deductions.

The incentive payment may be used on social connection activities including but not limited to:

  • formal memberships at local community organisations (such as social netball registration);
  • cultural events;
  • creative activities (such as art classes and cooking classes);
  • sports or sporting equipment (such as tennis club, tennis racket); and
  • tours of local areas and community events (such as bike tours, air show).

The incentive payment is not to be used for the following, or similar:

  • purchasing drugs and alcohol;
  • personal debts;
  • gambling; and/or
  • illegal activities.

No, you are not required to provide evidence of what you have spent the payment on. You will be asked to sign a funding agreement, this will be your agreement to use the funding for its intended purpose.

More information

If you have any other questions, please contact supportforruralbeginners@det.nsw.edu.au.

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