It is encouraging that the NSW Government has enhanced the incentives and benefits for teachers working in the most remote schools in the state.
Providing a faster track to permanency for loyal temporary teachers, the use of additional benefits where a position has been difficult to recruit, fast track appointment of acting executive staff permanently to those roles and the extension of the retention benefit from 5 years to 10 years are all positive developments.
Along with the ‘taste of rural teaching’ experience for qualified teachers to better understand the challenges of remote teaching, the enhanced incentives should assist the recruitment process.
So what still needs to be included?
Many teachers relocating to rural and remote schools take their families with them. In many cases, schools are not just recruiting a teacher, executive or principal. They are recruiting a family which has social and lifestyle needs.
Many other teachers dislocate from their existing family and support structures.
Similar to expatriate employees who relocate to overseas locations, the provision of social support and contact, access to essential community and health services, recreation facilities and continued connection to relatives and friends is crucial.
It is time to explore these aspects of working in remote locations to better understand how we may cater for the needs of all remote area teachers, leading to more effective recruitment experiences and the opportunity to attract more experienced teachers and school leaders.
For an overview of the strategy:
Rural and Remote Human Resources Strategy