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Teacher incentives program: information for teachers and principals

Information about the incentives program aimed at attracting and retaining teachers in hard-to-staff positions.

Increasing the supply of high-quality teachers in schools will make sure every student, no matter where they live, has access to a great local school, excellent teachers and a quality education.

The teacher incentives program will:

  • boost the number of quality teachers in government schools
  • make positions in rural and regional schools, disadvantaged schools and certain subject areas more attractive.

Hard-to-staff positions

The program includes financial and non-financial incentives to attract and retain teachers in hard-to-staff positions. Evidence shows that a combination of incentives is most effective at encouraging teachers to move where they're needed most.

Incentives will vary depending on recruitment difficulty, including:

  • location
  • level of disadvantage
  • subject area.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) positions will attract a higher share of incentives due to ongoing challenges in recruiting teachers in this subject area.

The value of the financial incentives is based on similar schemes in other jurisdictions and will be tailored to address Victorian-specific challenges.

The number of financial incentives will increase over time as we expect a continued teacher shortage, particularly in secondary schools.

The incentives aim to support students in rural and regional areas and address the gap between regional and metropolitan schools.

Support for teachers and principals

Support will be available to help teachers settle into their new school community.

  • Teachers will get a welcome hamper before they start their new roles. We're working with regions and schools to make sure they're tailored to the individual school, community and role of the teacher.

    Hampers will include:

    • maps and guides of the town and region
    • a list of local services and amenities
    • sporting organisations and teams
    • community events and festivals
    • arts and culture
    • shopping and markets
    • wineries, cafés and restaurants
    • hotels and motels
    • local real estate agents.
  • New start teachers will be invited to conferences in regional areas at the end of Term 1 or early Term 2. Funding will be provided for accommodation, travel and teacher replacement costs.

    The conference may include:

    • principal/mentor reviews of available resources, such as online toolkits
    • a panel session with local executive directors, regional staff and prominent community members
    • sessions about teaching in remote/rural areas, curriculum, building professional practice with literacy as a foundation (Literacy and Numeracy Toolkits) and resources such as high impact teaching strategies
    • an introduction about forming a strong professional identity
    • personal wellbeing support including the Employee Assistance ProgramExternal Link
    • opportunities for teachers to collaborate and form links and connections with area-based colleagues.
  • Local coordinators will be appointed to support teachers who are new to the local community.

    Their role will involve giving information and support about:

    • housing
    • healthcare
    • childcare
    • education
    • sport
    • recreation
    • cultural organisations
    • social and emotional support

    Local coordinators will be available for one-on-one meetings.

  • Grants will be provided to:

    • promote professional and social networks
    • integrate teachers into the school community
    • connect new teachers to other teachers in the area.

    This includes:

    • cross collaboration between schools and teachers
    • facilitating local area meetings
    • organising professional development
    • supporting the welcome conferences in terms 1 and 2.

    The networks will focus on the retention of teachers. For example, networks or clusters of schools in rural areas are important for sharing services, resources and ideas, as well as limiting the sense of professional isolation that can be felt by some teachers.

    The grants allow schools to use bespoke solutions designed to boost teacher retention, with different solutions for rural and metropolitan locations.

    Teacher professional development grants

    To support job satisfaction and career development, teachers receiving a financial incentive payment receive funding up to $5,560 per year for two years with five days' time release to undertake professional development.

    This may include the equivalent of one university subject per year or other appropriate programs.

    Guidelines will be provided soon.

  • An online toolkit for teachers and principals in rural, regional and hard-to-staff schools will be launched in early 2020.

    The toolkit will include:

    • tools, resources, case studies and current research relevant to rural, regional and hard-to-staff schools
    • information, news and upcoming events for principals and school leaders
    • opportunities to collaborate and take part in discussions with other teachers
    • online professional development (this is particularly helpful for remote communities and encourages cross-collaboration)
    • curriculum support and resources relevant to rural and regional schools
    • information about regional area network meetings and conferences.
  • Each semester principals will get an e-newsletter with updates, upcoming events and information about the program.

  • Regional offices will provide access to a range of experts and advice to support new appointees and their families. They'll also connect the Department’s program areas with 17 Learning Places AreasExternal Link and education services across Victoria.

Advice for teachers

Planning for your move and settling in

Your principal will give you an induction to the school context. They'll also introduce you to your new colleagues.

To help prepare for living and teaching in a rural or regional school, you should find out more information about the area and learn from the people around you.

Some things you can do to prepare to include:

  • learning about the culture and values of the school as well as its curriculum offerings and student needs and interests. You can find information like this on the school’s website and newsletters
  • taking part in local activities such as sporting and cultural events. This can be an informal and relaxing way to meet and get to know community members
  • using resources to support your induction and ongoing professional learning.

Your wellbeing

When you have relocated away from family and friends it's important to be mindful of your emotional wellbeing and relationships with colleagues and the broader community.

People experience emotions, uncertainty and vulnerability in different ways.

When relocating to a new school or region you may have different emotional reactions than other teachers. For example, one teacher may feel excited, while another might feel anxious but reluctant to ask for help.

You might like to organise a regular time to meet your mentor, principal or a trusted colleague to talk about any issues or needs you may have. This may include support adjusting to your new role, school and community.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)

You can speak to your mentors, colleagues or school leaders if you're facing issues related to your mental health and wellbeing.

For urgent or complex issues related to your mental health and wellbeing, call the EAP on 1300 361 008.

The EAP is a short-term, solution-focused and strictly confidential counselling service. It's available 24/7 for Department employees and their families to discuss personal or work-related issues.

Visit the Employee Health, Safety and Wellbeing ServicesExternal Link page for more information.

Advice for principals and school leaders

Attracting and retaining suitable teachers in hard-to-staff schools

You play a vital role in attracting and retaining suitable teachers. New teachers are likely to feel more satisfied with their jobs and remain committed to their school and community when they are:

  • made to feel welcome
  • given well-planned inductions
  • supported by mentors
  • provided with access to professional and social networks.

Retention of graduate teachers can improve by up to 85 per cent when they have a positive and engaging experience in induction processes and are working with well-trained mentors.

‘We want to attract people to our town, not pull them there. We want them to stay longer term and be part of our community’ - participant, Expert Panel Rural and Regional

Providing school context

A central function of induction is the introduction to the school context.

Resources and a verbal briefing should be given to new teachers. This will help broaden their understanding of the school.

As the teacher learns about the local community they can better contribute to strengthening student learning outcomes.

Supporting new teachers

When new teachers relocate away from family and friends it’s important to support their emotional wellbeing and relationships with colleagues and the broader community.

Scheduling a regular time to meet and discuss issues or needs helps new teachers talk about support adjusting to their learning, new school and community.

Effective leaders contribute to a school culture where learning can flourish through:

  • quality communication
  • high expectations
  • collaboration
  • challenge
  • trust-building
  • support.

You can support new teachers by:

  • supporting their relocation, including finding appropriate housing
  • making sure they're well informed and prepared to adapt to changes in living and working circumstances
  • highlighting the advantages of living and working in the area
  • supporting their integration into the local community
  • in collaboration with the local community, providing strong induction and welcome programs, including programs for partners/family members
  • providing structured support and links to professional networks
  • providing access to high quality, ongoing professional learning and development and support, such as mentoring and coaching, which is especially important for early-career teachers, who are overrepresented in hard-to-staff schools
  • providing opportunities for career progression.

Local solutions

Schools and students in hard-to-staff locations face different challenges.

While rural areas and regional centres experience barriers relating to their characteristics, challenges also differ in each location, rural town and regional centre. Community size, proximity to major population centres, demographics and local economies are factors.

Policy and program design to improve learning outcomes for students must consider the local context.

More information

Information for graduate teachers

Reviewed 01 April 2022

Department of Education and Training

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