Security and stability needed for all schools
Wilcannia Central School Fed Rep Emma Stewart said incentive transfers, guaranteed by the staffing agreement, ensure all students in NSW public schools are taught by qualified teachers. “Without incentive transfer benefits it would be very difficult to get teachers here,” she said.
Ms Stewart admits she would never have considered teaching at Wilcannia, a remote far-western NSW town, without the attraction of an incentive transfer. (As she works in an 8 transfer points school, she is entitled to an incentive transfer after working there for two years as a permanent teacher.)
As it turns out she loves her job.
“I am very passionate about Aboriginal education after a placement at Townsville in my third year of uni, where I worked with Indigenous kids,” she said.
“There’s such a reward at the end. You feel like you are making a difference.”
Ms Stewart said she actively sought an appointment in a higher-point school to provide her with more options for a transfer during her career.
She said experienced teachers also come to teach at the school because of executive role opportunities coupled with the incentive transfer benefit. The benefit to the school is the experience of these teachers.
Rooty Hill High School Fed Rep Kelly Anderson is grateful for the protection the staffing agreement offers to class sizes.
“Larger classes would not afford me the opportunity to cater so much to individual learning needs,” she said.
“In practical subjects, class sizes are a safety issue,” she added.
The staffing agreement is key to ensuring permanent appointments, which are a major recruiting and retention incentive for teachers.
Ms Anderson said permanent employment provides consistency for students in addition to the benefit for teachers.
She said a casual and temporary teacher on a short-term engagement often had to focus more on classroom management but the continuity enjoyed by a permanent teacher with regular classes enabled greater scope to develop programs and build engaging
A permanent position also enabled a teacher to build relationships with colleagues, feel part of a school community and access professional learning.
Ms Anderson is in support of service transfers, afforded by the staffing agreement.
She said being able to move schools during a career builds capacity as a teacher.
“You come across different learning needs and widen the network of colleagues you can learn from,” she said.
Lake Cargelligo Fed Rep Mark Simmons and his wife are both teachers.
“The staffing agreement is especially important for us as a family,” he said.
He explained the transfer points they have earned while working in 6-point schools would provide them with more opportunities to teach in another town of their choice down the track.
“The transfer points really are a big incentive for teachers,” he said.
Mr Simmons said he has no doubt the extra transfer points offered to teachers who work in 8,6 and 4 point school acts an incentive for some teachers to work in a remote area.
“Without that process in place it would make it harder to get teachers to work in these schools,” he said.
Lake Cargelligo Central School is a 6-point incentive school, which means teachers working there (and in other 4,6 and 8-point incentive schools) are eligible for additional training and development days and personal leave days.