The Armidale Teachers' Association's president says the suggested strategies in the Rural and Remote Incentives Review that were announced this week will not address the severe teacher shortages in rural public schools.
On Sunday, the Liberals and Nationals Government announced it was looking to introduce more incentives to attract quality teachers to live and work in regional NSW, but both Michael Sciffer and NSW Teachers' Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos say this is just scratching the surface of a much bigger issue.
"With unfilled permanent classroom positions becoming a problem in metropolitan Sydney, it has become clear teaching as a profession has become unattractive," said Mr Sciffer.
"Substantial reforms are needed to attract more people to the teaching profession, such as those outlined in the Gallop Review, especially in light of the predicted 25 percent increase in student enrolments over the next two decades."
Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the Rural and Remote Incentives Review is part of the new Rural and Remote Education Strategy, to attract and retain the best and brightest teachers for regional NSW.
"Teachers in regional NSW play a crucial role in determining our students' future, so it is imperative that we have the best of the best in the bush," Mr Barilaro said.
"The NSW Nationals are building a safer and stronger regional NSW, turning country towns into thriving metropolitan hubs. By providing better incentives for teachers to move to the regions, we are bringing valuable jobs to these communities while giving our students the best possible start in life.
"Currently, teachers working in 155 rural and remote schools across the State receive incentives, with the NSW Government investing more in regional teacher incentives than ever before, with funding increasing from $1.5 million in 2017 to $29.7 million in 2020."
NSW Teachers' Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos said the government has 'finally realised that we have a serious problem on our hands', and while the review was welcome - it was not enough.
"The teacher shortage is well and truly at our doorstep and getting worse," Mr Gavrielatos said.
"Schools across the state and certainly in rural settings continue to report major challenges with teacher shortages.
Last year the minister said this problem keeps her up at night yet earlier this year she said it was a beat up
"Well it's not a beat up and what we need is fundamental change and a reset to ensure the policy settings are in place so that we attract and retain teachers in the numbers required to ensure every child is taught by a qualified teacher.
"We need a fundamental reset that will deliver teachers the time and support they need to do their work and also a competitive salary when compared to other professionals."
Mr Sciffer said the abolition of the centralised staffing system by the current state government from 2012 has shifted the burden of filling teacher positions from the government to individual schools.
"Where once the Department of Education placed graduate teachers into classroom vacancies across NSW, now school principals compete for a shrinking pool of teachers," he said.
"A number of rural schools have gone more than three years unable to fill maths and science teacher vacancies."
Ms Mitchell said the NSW Government is revolutionising regional education by reviewing incentives to attract more of the best teachers to the bush.
"The incentives scheme hasn't been properly reviewed since the early 1900s. Regional NSW is evolving and modernising, and so must our policies," Ms Mitchell said.
"I want every student to enjoy the same educational opportunities no matter where they live and that means attracting and keeping great teachers at our regional and remote schools."
"NSW already has the most comprehensive incentives scheme in Australia. I believe there is an opportunity through this incentives review to see how we can better align our incentives with the local community and context," Ms Mitchell said.
Ms Mitchell said schools are at the centre of regional communities, and she wants to see how improving incentives can help build regional communities.
"I want to explore options like encouraging school leavers to take a gap year in regional and remote schools, supporting partners of teachers to find a job in the same area, assisting families in buying a property to start a home and also looking at what we can do to encourage those already living and working in the regions to consider teaching as a career."
But Mr Sciffer said it is disheartening to see the NSW National Party oversee the decline of learning opportunities for children and young people in rural communities.
"If the NSW government truly intends on filling teacher vacancies in rural NSW, it needs to restore the centralised appointment and transfer of teachers across NSW," he said.
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