The establishment of a “Rural Educators Agency”; the formation of a holistic government policy on preparation, recruitment, ongoing growth and retention; encouraging rural education settings to work together to recruit and engage educators; and the establishment of a flexible and comprehensive suite of intrinsic incentives were all proposed as key recommendations from the Country Education Partnerships Rural Learning Summit held in late 2019.
The Country Education Partnership (CEP) held its Biennial Rural Learning Summit in late 2019 focusing on the key challenge of “recruitment and retention of educators and education leaders within rural communities”.
Over 70 participants from Government and Catholic education sectors; a range of key stakeholders; rural education communities; and universities participated within this in-depth discussion focused on recruiting and retaining educators and education leaders in rural communities.
In addition to the provision of a pre-Summit Discussion Paper highlighting research and current approaches focused on the topic, participants heard presentations from:
- The North West Rise Network, which supports educators who are spread far and wide across the North West of America and Alaska focusing on small rural and remote education communities.
- Rebecca McKenzie, a recent graduate, who outlined her early teaching experiences within a rural education setting identifying the importance of support, collaboration and trust, alongside the positive opportunities for early career growth and responsibility.
- Sameerah Arif, from Rural Workforce Agency Victoria, (RWAV) who provided a rural health perspective to recruitment and retention.
- Dr Philip Roberts, from University of Canberra, a long-time researcher into rural and remote educational issues, focused on the specific and different nature of “rurality”.
The 2019 Summit turbocharged a major focus area of CEP’s mission: bringing together the best minds and experience in designing creative and workable solutions in ensuring students in rural and remote schools and early childhood settings have the same opportunities as their city counterparts.
The Learning Summit participants were then involved in a wide range of discussions exploring, and proposing initiatives that could be developed to address the growing challenge of recruiting high quality educators to rural and remote communities.
Key Points from the Summit
Delegates highlighted, and reinforced, the desire to have a holistic and innovative approach with all sectors playing their part and trusting each other to achieve better outcomes.
The Learning Summit agreed on a number of ideas and approaches that they believe would improving the recruitment and retention of quality educators within rural and remote communities. In summary, they included:
- Development of a comprehensive and holistic rural recruitment and retention policy and framework, which is co-designed with rural communities.
- Offer intrinsic incentives to graduates accepting rural positions.
- Establish a “Rural Educators Agency”, based on the model in the Health Sector to support rural recruitment and retention.
- Rural education settings and universities to work in partnership more effectively, especially in supporting the preparation of educators.
- Encouraging greater collaboration between rural schools to collaboratively attract and retain teachers in their local area.
For more detail of the Rural Learning Summit, and the proposals developed, click on the following link:
The Country Education Partnership will utilise the outcomes from the Rural Learning Summit in their discussion with State Government and Education sectors to ensure that rural and remote communities are provided with quality educators and education leaders.