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New $5m scheme for teachers in remote communities

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THE HON PETER GARRETT MP Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth


20 June 2011

New $5m scheme for teachers in remote communities

The Gillard Government is investing $5 million in a new scheme to attract and retain high-quality teachers in remote areas of Australia, Minister for School Education Peter Garrett said today.

The „Teach Remote‟ program will be managed by the National Alliance for Remote Indigenous Schools (NARIS) and will focus on recruiting, training, supporting and rewarding teachers working in these communities.

“We‟re committed to closing the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and we know that one of the best ways to achieve this is to ensure that kids in these communities are getting the best education possible,” Mr Garrett said.

“To do this, we need to attract dedicated teachers, offering them the support and training they need to work in what are often challenging environments, dealing with issues such as isolation, language and cultural differences, and poor student attendance.

“It is critical that we encourage and support a more stable teaching environment, especially when you look at the alarming statistics around student attendance and teacher retention rates. The Teach Remote Scheme will provide vital funding to the NARIS network of schools to help them find, and keep, high calibre teachers.

“This will include a common induction program for all new NARIS teachers, an online course in teaching English as a second language, and scholarships for high performing teachers to help them undertake further study.”

Mr Garrett said the scheme was also focused on encouraging teachers to commit to a minimum of two years placement in remote communities.

“Teachers in remote schools usually have a much shorter length of service than teachers in urban and regional schools,” he said.

“For example, the current average length of service in very remote indigenous communities in the Northern Territory is eight months, with a 40 per cent annual teacher turnover rate.

“Teach Remote will help address this, resulting in a more stable teaching environment for school students and a greater investment in the local community from teachers.”

NARIS is a partnership between the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Queensland, South Australia and New South Wales governments, working with nearly 180 schools, and benefitting around 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Minister’s Media Contact: Lisa Miller 0419 124 717 DEEWR Media: Non-media queries: 1300 363 079