Steph Cooke MP sits with Junee High School students on a large concrete bench.
Steph Cooke MP with Junee High School students. Please note this image was taken prior to current social distancing measures.

A trial to provide public schools across the Cootamundra electorate with more casual teachers will begin in Term 1, 2021.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said that the trials were using two pilot programs to explore ways of boosting the number of casual teachers in regional NSW.

“I am so pleased the Department is seeking to employ two casuals based in Gundagai who would be available to schools across the region. These trials will offer would-be casual teachers with permanent positions at a school while providing casual support to a number of other schools in the area,” Ms Cooke said.

“It’s so important we support our school communities, we create opportunities for professionals to have quality full time employment in regional areas, and most importantly that we ensure our kids are taught by the best teachers.”

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the trials, using two pilot programs, aim to bring more teachers to regional NSW.

“It can be difficult to attract and retain teachers in rural and remote areas for a number of reasons,” Ms Mitchell said.

“I want to see more people living and loving regional NSW.”

“The hub and spoke pilot provides two teachers, employed in a ‘hub’ school, who can also address the needs of nearby ‘spoke’ schools.

The program targets schools with the greatest reported shortages and grouping them in travel distance clusters to reduce average commuting times to less than an hour.

The in-built relief model first piloted in 2019, will be extended in Term 4.

“One temporary teacher will be embedded in each school to provide relief when permanent teachers are unavailable due to professional development or illness.”

The trials will improve the proposition of working in rural or remote schools by:

  • reducing commuting time; and,
  • offering longer engagements,
  • offering temporary or permanent appointments that include leave and other benefits,
  • providing employment certainty,
  • investing in professional development and learning for these teachers.