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SA teachers offered extra $20k to move to country schools

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Teachers are being offered up to $20,000 upfront on top of usual incentives to move to South Australian country schools that are struggling to recruit staff.

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The Department for Education announced the once-off “hard to fill” payment in a job advertisement posted earlier this month.

According to the advertisement, teachers would be handed up to $10,000 upfront each year over two years, in addition to usual country incentives and locality allowances, if they accepted a two-year contract teaching position in a country preschool, primary or secondary school.

A spokesperson for the department told InDaily that there were currently 50 vacancies in country schools across the state, with many of those being in the Eyre Peninsula, Riverland and Far North.

The spokesperson said the $20,000 payment would be funded from the department’s existing country incentives pool.

“Where required the department offers additional incentives to educators to accept hard to fill or specialised vacancies,” they said.

“Recruiting quality teachers in our schools and preschools is critical to achieving world class education in South Australia.”

The department already offers teachers incentives to work in the country depending on where their school is located and whether their employment is permanent or temporary.

Teachers are also eligible to receive a “locality allowance” that compensates for the increased cost of living, isolation, cost of travelling to Adelaide for holidays and depreciation of cars.

Details about the payments amounts are not made public on the department’s website.

Recruiting teachers to fill country positions has been a long-running issue for the Department, with the surge in COVID-19 cases expected to make it even harder for schools to keep operating if teachers need to isolate.

SA Primary Principals Association president Angela Falkenberg told InDaily last week that some schools in country areas had been struggling to recruit staff for years.

“We are concerned about what some cases of COVID might mean for the ongoing capacity of those schools to deliver the learning,” she said.

To apply for the incentive and two-year contracts, teachers must not already have an ongoing or contract role with the Education Department for this year.

They must also be willing to relocate from metropolitan Adelaide to a country area, or from one country location to another.

Teachers have until January 21 to apply for the positions.

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