December 06, 2017

Finley’s public schools have welcomed a new state government incentive scheme to help attract teachers to the area.

NSW Minister for Education Rob Stokes visited Finley Public School last Tuesday to announce the new incentives, which include eligible teacher graduates having their HECS debt paid off if they are willing to relocate to certain remote locations. The scheme also includes bonuses, retention benefits and moving allowance.

Finley High School principal Helen McRae said the announcement was great news for the region.

‘‘I hope these incentives help us not only attract but also retain quality teachers.

‘‘This will not only make staffing the school much easier, but bring new staff with ideas and opportunities to share and fresh ways of teaching to improve the learning outcomes for our kids.

‘‘New staff with fresh ideas is always a positive for a school like Finley High.’’

Mrs McRae said Finley High struggles to attract teachers.

‘‘It’s not uncommon for the department to offer positions to many teachers from across the state before they find one who is willing to travel this far away from the coast.

‘‘I usually have to readvertise for head teacher positions several times before I get even one candidate suitable for interview.’’

The new incentive scheme will fully fund the university degrees of 60 new teachers per year by paying their HECS debt if they accept a posting at one of more than 150 eligible rural and remote public schools in NSW.

Eligible school locations in the local region include Finley, Berrigan, Jerilderie, Blighty, Oaklands and Mayrung.

Other incentives as part of the scheme include a stipend of $7500 per year to assist teaching students with their studies and a $6000 ‘sign-on’ bonus to help with the cost of relocation when they start their new job.

Mr Stokes also announced a raft of new incentives to entice senior and experienced staff out of the cities and regional centres to rural and remote locations.

‘‘We want to attract the brightest young minds, but it is also important that they are supported by experienced mentors who will ensure the best educational outcomes are achieved for their students.’’

Finley Public School principal Derek Noffke said it was important for rural schools to retain their teachers.

‘‘It’s vital the teacher can live here for more than 12 months.

‘‘Finley Public School employs a lot of local people, but for those staff members who move here we help them integrate into the community.

‘‘There are many outlets we use to ensure the staff can remain here, such as getting them involved with local sport,’’ Mr Noffke said.

The scheme also includes:

● Teachers who move to an eligible school will earn up to $30,000 per annum on top of their base salary depending on the school and their level of seniority.

● $10,000 ‘sign-on’ recruitment bonus for eligible positions.

● $5000 ‘retention benefit’ paid annually up to $50,000 (10 years).

● Earn up to eight transfer points per year to assist with future career locations (teachers earn one transfer point per year in Sydney metro schools).

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