Colin Barnett

Colin Barnett


    State's top teaching graduates to work in Government schools

    19/01/2001 10:00 AM

    Many of the State’s best new educators will be teaching in Government schools this year.

    Announcing an expanded excellence in teaching strategy, Education Minister Colin Barnett said the top prize-winning education graduates from Western Australian universities were being offered jobs in Education Department schools.

    Speaking at the Education Department’s Graduate Teacher Induction Day 2001 today, Mr Barnett said the initiative was one of a range of strategies to put the staffing of the State’s 770 schools on the best footing possible for the 2001 school year.

    “To ensure we’re getting the pick of the crop, we’re offering jobs leading to permanency to the most outstanding education graduates from each of the WA universities,” he said.

    “I’m very pleased to announce that nine of these new teachers have so far accepted jobs with us, including the best overall graduates from Edith Cowan, Murdoch and UWA.

    “This is one way we can attract the best staff and keep them in the State system.”

    Mr Barnett said other groups of outstanding graduates had also been offered jobs.

    “Graduates receiving Higher Education Contribution Scheme (HECS) scholarships, country practice teacher scholarships and internships have been offered jobs,” he said.

    “In addition, most of the graduates who applied for positions anywhere in the State by the end of September, have also been offered positions.”

    Mr Barnett said, in total, more than 450 graduates would be placed in jobs with the department during 2001.

    More than half of these had already been employed and offers would continue to be made over the coming weeks and months, as new vacancies arose.

    As part of the school staffing process for 2001, Education Department human resources staff would transfer or appoint some 4000 teachers altogether into vacant positions or into their first jobs with the Education Department.

    “Generally, staffing is looking very good for the year 2001,” Mr Barnett said.

    “Many schools knew their full teaching complement by mid-December, which is helpful with planning.

    “For those schools with places still open, the Education Department’s staffing consultants will continue their work throughout the Christmas holiday period filling the remaining vacancies to ensure that schools have as smooth a start to the year as possible.

    “It’s an enormous job filling the vacancies which arise in our teaching workforce of more than 17,700 teachers, but one department staff work extremely hard to achieve.”

    Mr Barnett said, while the staff shortages of 1999 were in the past, the challenge of filling positions for Technology and Enterprise, Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and Mathematics teachers, particularly in rural areas, would remain.

    “There is, unfortunately, a short supply of these teachers throughout the nation and in many other parts of the world,” he said.

    Mr Barnett said the Government was working on strategies to attract more staff to these subject areas and to country positions in general.

    These included:
    • the recruitment of ‘travelling advocates’ to talk to school leavers about a career in teaching in high-need areas;
    • attracting teaching graduates into country service through country scholarships and specific rural education courses to prepare them for working in the country;
    • attracting mature people with relevant skills to retrain as teachers in the high-need subject areas through scholarships and ‘training wages’; and -
    • attracting experienced overseas and interstate teachers to WA through advertising campaigns and an agreement with the Department of Immigration.

    “With initiatives like this, our needs in these areas will be met and quality people will continue to be attracted to the profession,” Mr Barnett said.

    The Minister said teachers received the first instalment of their four per cent pay rise on December 7. They would receive another pay rise of three per cent in August.

    “This is another incentive for teachers to work in Government schools,” he said.

    Mr Barnett said the Coalition Government was also committed to further enhancing the status of teachers by establishing a WA Council of Teaching.

    The council would license teachers, establish on-going professional development requirements and act as an advisory body and the voice of teaching.

    It would set professional and ethical standards for the teaching profession in WA.

    “The council will be an integral part of an education precinct to be established at the former Claremont Teachers’ College site,” Mr Barnett said.

    Media contact: Diana Callander, 9222 9699