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WA schools go on big interstate recruitment drive amid shortage before Term 1 start date

WA public schools are scrambling to recruit teachers from other States to plug staffing gaps for the start of Term 1 next year.

The Education Department confirmed it was seeking experienced high school teachers from around Australia to cover vacancies in all core subjects — maths, science, English, and humanities and social sciences. Shortages also exist in design and technology.

School sources said when concerns were raised about the impact the requirement for compulsory COVID-19 jabs for teachers would have on staffing levels, they were told the department was seeking more than 150 teachers from interstate.

The education workforce is not immune to this

An advertisement aimed at enticing NSW teachers to WA next year offers help with relocation costs and spruiks the “great opportunities” available “no matter your experience level”.

“You may be a graduate looking to start off your career in a full-time role, or an experienced teacher looking to broaden your experiences and make an impact, or you may just be looking to move to WA for the lifestyle and career opportunities that exist there!” it said.

State School Teachers Union president Pat Byrne said there would be “hot spots” in regional areas that would struggle to put a teacher in front of every class for the start of the year.

Schools in WA have battled a scarcity of relief teachers this year, with fewer graduates going into teaching and no access to overseas recruits.

“They were already anticipating a shortage, and that was even including (plans to recruit) UK and New Zealand teachers, so (COVID) has just made it much worse,” Ms Byrne said.

The department’s deputy director-general, Jim Bell, said recruitment strategies had to deal with increasing student numbers.

“We are working with an external recruitment agency — which we have also done in the past — to identify suitable secondary teachers who will teach in specific learning areas of need in our regional and remote schools,” he said.

“In addition to this, we will be seeking experienced secondary teachers from anywhere in Australia who are interested in working in WA public schools.”

Education Minister Sue Ellery said the pandemic had put pressure on workforces across the country.

“The education workforce is not immune to this, but I am really confident we have measures in place to ensure teaching in WA is not disrupted,” she said.

“We regularly recruit teachers from outside WA to fill specific needs and will continue to do so.”

WA teacher salaries range from $72,137 for new graduates to $118,626 for the highest-paid role, compared with $72,263-$114,720 in NSW, which is also facing a teacher shortage.

Queensland, South Australia, the ACT and the Northern Territory pay more than WA at the top end of the scale.

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