Education departments across Australia double-up as travel agents in the push to attract teachers to remote and regional schools

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

“Looking for adventure? A teaching career could take you to rural and remote Queensland…”

As more than 300 Queensland state schools struggle to keep schools operating by plugging critical teacher vacancies with non-classroom-based educators, the State Government’s Teach Queensland website looks increasingly like the online home of a tourism board.

Encouraging education sector professionals – from new teaching graduates to more experienced teachers and veteran principals – to take the leap of faith and make the move to regional Queensland has inspired some slick marketing, with videos, articles and a podcast that aims to showcase small towns across the state as the ideal places to enhance your professional career and enjoy the laid-back lifestyle benefits on offer.

For Shontelle Lewis, a principal who features in one of the travelogue-style marketing promotions, enjoying walks along the river, fishing and coffee dates at the local cafe have all added to her move. Making genuinely personal connections with students and families in what she describes as the welcoming community of Cunnamulla has been another.

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Graduate teacher Mikayla Mason stepped outside the comfort zone of her coastal hometown of Hervey Bay, to complete a professional experience placement at Isis District State High School in the north coast town of Childers and an internship at Roma State College  in the Darling Downs South West region.

Her story on the site is accompanied by promises of “a country welcome”, a reminder of the financial incentives to teach remotely or in rural locations, and a photo of happy children peeping out from behind eucalypts, with the open air expanse around them providing a tempting lure to stressed-out city folk keen for a tree-change.

In the section featuring Charters Towers – a 90-minute inland drive from Townsville – the copy is just as appealing, with a blurb reminding teachers with itchy feet that the town is known as the most authentic country town in Australia, with affordable housing, smiling locals and “plenty of social and sporting activities for you and your family to be involved in”.

With more state governments across Australia investing in designing enticing marketing promotions to address the teacher shortages affecting schools across the country, it will be interesting to see if more vacancies are filled, as both first-time and more experienced educators decide to make the move to a new school community.

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All Souls St Gabriels School children marching on Anzac Day in Charters Towers, Queensland, Australia Charters Towers, Australia - April 25, 2018

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]