Boosting WA's regional teacher supply


Wednesday, 16 November, 2022

Boosting WA's regional teacher supply

A new temporary initiative has been launched by the WA Government to retain and attract quality teachers in remote schools.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery announced that the attraction and retention initiative would be implemented for the 2023 school year, to provide incentives to teachers and school leaders to work in locations where demand for staff is the greatest.

“While Western Australia has done a fantastic job of ensuring there is a teacher in front of every classroom to date, the numbers are getting tighter and these 48 schools are those most likely to be impacted by any teacher shortfall in 2023,” Ellery said.

“Our $12.4 million investment will help those remote and regional schools finding it most challenging to attract and retain teachers for 2023 to ensure they start the school year with a teacher in front of every class, and there is continuity of teaching and learning programs.”

The Department of Education has developed a Regional Incentive Framework to identify schools with the greatest need for teachers in 2023, where a one-off payment will be offered to both new and existing teachers and school leaders.

Payments will vary from $5000 to $17,000, depending on location, with a percentage paid upon commencement of employment and the remainder paid to those staff who remain at the school throughout 2023.

Teachers who are eligible for the payments will be able to receive them on top of existing incentives for teachers working in rural and remote areas, meaning they could receive up to $30,000 in addition to their salary for working in the identified schools in 2023.

While these new immediate measures target WA’s hardest-to-staff schools, the state government continues to work with the Commonwealth to address the national teacher shortage. This includes development of a National Teacher Workforce Action Plan with education ministers from around the country and an extra $328 million in funding announced by the federal government for associated actions aimed at attracting, training and retaining educators.

The new payments also build on a range of state government strategies that are already being implemented to increase and maintain the number of suitably qualified teachers in the state’s public schools.

These existing initiatives to boost teacher supply include:

  • Teach in WA program featuring online marketing, career expos, events and presentations, and a dedicated contact for teachers considering applying for teaching appointments;
  • Leap program that re-trains teachers in specialised secondary subjects;
  • Remote Teaching Service (RTS) induction supporting teachers into RTS schools;
  • Remote Connection Program which allows staff to experience teaching in remote schools;
  • An international promotional campaign and employment-based programs to increase teacher supply and engage with teaching students earlier;
  • Country Teaching Program that attracts qualified teaching and school leadership staff to schools that experience ongoing recruitment challenges.
     

While these programs have helped to successfully meet existing teacher supply requirements, further investment is required to support Western Australian schools in 2023, when all states and territories will be seeking to fill teacher vacancies exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Image credit: iStock.com/JohnnyGreig

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