Rural campaigning pays off

Joan Lemaire
Senior Vice President

Dave Owen and Linda Hazell check out the Federation's new Rural handbook.

A range of strategies called for at Federation’s Rural Education Conference have been taken up in part by Education Minister Adrian Piccoli’s new blueprint for rural and remote education.

The conference called for promotion of rural and remote education, provision of additional incentives to attract and retain teachers, and more support for professional learning.

More than 150 teachers from diverse rural towns and cities including Burke, Wagga, Murwillumbah, Tooleybuc and Peak Hill attended the conference on November 2.

Teachers participated in workshops on work health and safety; staffing; professional learning; student access to learning and support services; Aboriginal education; homophobia; protecting rights and entitlements; and community campaigning.

The sessions provided the opportunity for rural and remote teachers to network, discuss ideas, develop recommendations and contribute to Federation campaigns and policy development.

Federation will use the ideas, recommendations and strategies developed in conference workshops to inform union campaigns and policy development for public education in rural and remote areas.

Rural handbook

The teachers also welcomed the launch of the Federation’s Rural handbook. The handbook provides advice and information for teachers and trainee teachers who are considering teaching in rural and remote schools or have been appointed to these schools.

It outlines entitlements such as locality allowances and transfers as well as information on a range of support services for rural and remote teachers.

Conference communiqué

•Acknowledged the central role rural and remote public schools and teachers play in supporting and developing educational, social and economic opportunities within their communities.

•Raised concern that too often rural and remote education is presented in deficit terms with no acknowledgement of the benefits for students, their communities and their teachers.

•Declared its commitment to campaign to ensure the Federal Government implements the full six years of the Gonski funding reforms which will provide significant opportunities and support in closing achievement gaps between students, schools and regions.

•Emphasised the role of small schools, in particular, as unifying hubs of community activity and support.

•Called for resources to strengthen and support the role of Aboriginal education.