NSW classroom support staff will secure a permanent teaching job once they finish their training under a new program, the state’s government has announced.
The Grow Your Own Teacher Training program will initially support up to 100 School Learning Support Officers (SLSOs) to upskill and study teaching degrees while working in local schools.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said the program recognises the outstanding contribution SLSOs make in classrooms across the State and helps remove barriers to a teaching career.
“We have generous financial incentives, including housing, to encourage teachers to work in our regional schools, but we're also committed to fostering local talent,” Toole said.
“Our regional SLSOs have strong ties to their local community and are already doing fantastic work in our schools. We want to do all we can to support them to upskill and progress their careers without having to travel away from home.”
NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said the Grow Your Own Teacher Training program is complemented by another Grow Your Own stream that will encourage year 12 students and community members living in rural and regional areas to explore a career in teaching.
“The Grow Your Own Community Entry Pathway is about supporting school leavers who are interested in becoming teachers to stay at their local school and gain handson experience as SLSOs or classroom teacher support officers,” Mitchell said.
“Through both Grow Your Own streams we are building new pathways to teaching careers that encourage and support young people into this rewarding profession.”
The NSW Department of Education has partnered with Charles Sturt University and Western Sydney University to deliver the Grow Your Own Teacher Training pilot program.
Participants will commence their studies in early 2023 and remain employed as an SLSO in their current school while studying. They receive $10,000 training allowance per year (up to $30,000 for the degree) and can work part-time as an educational paraprofessional in their final four semesters of study.
Applications opened this week, with a focus on rural, regional schools and highdemand metropolitan areas.
To support schools to introduce a Community Entry Pathway model, an online toolkit is rolling out to provide resources and information on how to identify and recruit year 12 students and community members.
The original version of this article was published as a media release by the NSW Education Department.