17 August 2023
In reply to the Hon. R.A. SIMMS (27 June 2023):
My questions to the minister are:
1. Is the minister concerned about the impacts of teacher shortages on development in the regions, and educational opportunities for regional people?
2. What actions has the minister taken to address the problem?
3. Has she made representations to the Minister for Education in relation to the matter?
Response by the Hon. C.M. SCRIVEN MLC:
The Minister for Education, Training and Skills has advised:
1. A teacher supply shortage is being experienced across Australia, with teacher supply and retention being a focus for all jurisdictions. The Malinauskas Labor government is acutely aware of this issue and has been taking action since coming to government to address teacher shortages in country South Australia.
2. The Malinauskas Labor government made important election commitments to tackle teacher shortages, particularly in the country. We are delivering on our election commitment to make the country incentive zone allowance ongoing for all teachers who are eligible to receive it in the 2024 school year, rather than it cease after 5 or 8 years. This will help attract teachers to work in the country, and support teacher retention in regional areas.
To build the teacher pipeline for country schools and preschools the Department for Education has also developed two new initiatives aimed at pre-service teachers.
Firstly, they are being supported to undertake funded professional experience placements in country sites to increase their visibility of career opportunities and the lifestyle of these locations. This initiative aims to remove a major barrier for pre-service teachers to participate in country professional experiences by providing financial support recognising the need to relocate for a period.
Secondly, the department has developed an employment program to support pre-service teachers who move to country locations in their first teaching appointment. This initiative is designed to support their transition from study to employment, and to support their induction into the local community and teaching.
To support these initiatives we have developed a country campaign to profile what it looks like to live and teach in regional South Australia
This campaign includes the inspiring personal stories of teachers from across the state
The government is also delivering the Country Education Strategy, which aims to provide quality leadership and expert teaching in every country school and preschool; better access to digital infrastructure, student support services and business administration systems for country schools and preschools; and access to quality learning and career, study and training opportunities for country children and young people. A key intent of this strategy is to make our country schools more attractive for staff to work in.
Alongside specific actions targeting country teachers, the Malinauskas Labor government has joined with other jurisdictions in developing the National Teacher Workforce Plan, which sets 27 priority actions the commonwealth, state and territory government are taking to improve teacher supply and keep teachers in the profession.
Our government will continue to make the important investments needed to address teacher shortages, including in the country.
3. I am in frequent discussion with my cabinet colleagues about regional issues.