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15 January, 2022

Grow your own to target local students

High performing country students will be targeted through a new program encouraging people to consider a teaching career within their own regional community.

By Emily Middleton

Teacher’s strike in Dubbo on December 7. Photo supplied.

The new ‘grow your own’ program is aimed at strengthening the quality of teachers in regional communities.

“Research tells us that people who grew up in the bush are more likely to go on to practice their careers in a regional setting than those from metropolitan backgrounds,” said deputy premier Paul Toole.

“I strongly believe that encouraging our future teachers to build their careers in the bush will ensure our students are taught by quality teachers who are passionate about and proud of their regional background.”

Gilgandra High School’s teachers federation representative, Bree Patton, sees this initiative as a reaction, rather than a well thought out plan.

“The recent media release regarding the ‘grow your own’ program seems a largely reactive response to the pressure being placed on them by principals unable to staff their schools adequately, and the union’s recent strike,” said Miss Patton.

“Having known about these issues for some time now, the department needs to be held accountable. Any released details of this new initiative have been vague in nature and it’s not good enough.”

Minister for education and early childhood learning, Sarah Mitchell, said the initiative is part of the recently released teacher supply strategy.

“Our new ‘grow your own’ program will target senior students who, after year 12, will have the opportunity to be employed initially as a school learning support officer in a regional school for a year to gain valuable work experience and mentoring,” said Ms Mitchell.

“After this year, students will be supported by the NSW Government to apply for an initial teacher education degree, with the expectation that they would pursue their career back in their local community or in another regional, rural or remote town.”

The program is set to be piloted in 2022 in several regional schools,

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