Preparing and supporting Early Career teachers in rural schools remains a complex topic requiring significant government and education sector discussion, Country Education Partnership’s latest report on the subject has found.
CEP undertook an online survey earlier this year to better understand the challenges faced by early career teachers in rural Victorian schools. 86 early career teachers from across Victoria participated in the online survey, providing valuable information on their initial experiences or teaching within a rural or remote community.
For the purposes of the report, rural schools were classified as those schools generally located in communities of less than 10,000 population.
The Rural Early Careers Teachers report, released recently, details the findings from the online survey which covered respondents’ demographic information, university experience, current teaching experiences and needs for a successful future.
The survey was designed to gain an understanding of early career teachers’:
- Demographic background
- Preparedness, and effectiveness for working in diverse rural and remote school settings
- Previous rural experiences
- Impact of teacher education and rural teaching placements on employment trajectories
- Induction and mentoring support
- Professional development opportunities
- Early Career teacher network
The report identifies a number of key issues that will provide valuable information to assist us in recruiting, preparing and supporting teachers in taking up positions within rural and remote communities..
Some of the key findings highlighted in the report include:
- Many of the early career teachers within rural and remote communities grew up in a rural community;
- A large percentage of early career teachers believe that they could have been better prepared for teaching within a rural community
- The involvement in a rural practical experience as part of the university program (especially in the last years of their program) contributed to many pre-service teachers gaining employment within a rural community.
The report also explored how further support can be provided to early career teachers through mentoring, professional development opportunities, community immersion and teacher networks.
Since launching the survey, CEP has facilitated meetings with experts from the University of Canberra and the various education sectors, including staff from the STARR initiative, Victorian Institute of Teaching as well as numerous Early Career teachers. These meetings enabled discussion on the findings of the survey and exploration of future actions that would enhance the support provided to Early Career teachers within rural and remote Victoria.
CEP chief executive officer Phil Brown said the report would be used to continue conversations with key decision makers.
“We believe that this report will provide the basis for ongoing discussions with government, education sectors and universities about how we can better support our Early Career teachers, which will then ensure we can sustain quality education in our rural and remote communities,” he said.
“It especially provides information on how CEP can better advocate for initiatives and supports that prepare and support our early career teachers in having a long term involvement within our rural and remote schools.”
The report can be read in full here.