Staff recruitment and retention within rural and remote communities throughout Victoria has been an area that has generated a great deal of interest for many years now. Many governments at a national and state level have introduced a number of initiatives aimed at addressing the issue, often with the development of short term, specific and isolated initiatives.
The Rural Professional Learning Framework was established by CEP in 2007 to support rural learning communities in the recruitment and retention of quality teaching staff.
The Framework has four key components:
- facilitating partnerships between rural education clusters and teacher training universities to enhance the learning provision of rural young people
- promoting the teaching opportunities that exist within rural Victoria
- supporting new graduates in rural teaching roles
- providing ongoing professional development for rural staff
In its initial years, the focus of the network has been to encourage universities and rural clusters to develop partnerships and to especially encourage final year pre services teachers to be involved in these partnership programs. Over the four years, there have been around 400 pre service teachers involved in a number of rural clusters with many of them taking up positions within a rural community once they graduated.
In 2010, the network has undertook an online research into the experiences of new graduates within rural communities. This research will be an annual activity and provides valuable information to assist in developing and providing support strategies for them into the future.
The network pilot the promotion of rural teaching positions in rural communities during 2010. As part of the network’s links with universities, it is promoting the link to final year pre service teachers. This has proved to be very popular amongst final year pre service teachers, with a number of them wanting more information on the positions advertised – the network is hoping this area will expand over the next couple of years.
In addition, CEPs Rural Professional Learning Framework continues to provide a range of professional development activities for rural education communities. In recent times these have focused on rural education leadership; 0-18 years learning; future rural education leaders; and an annual Rural Learning Summit.