Where teacher numbers will hit crisis point


REGIONAL Queensland's teacher shortage is predicted to worsen from next year, as high schools across the state are hit with an extra influx of students.

A new KPMG report for the Regional Universities Network predicts secondary teacher shortages will reach acute levels in some parts of Queensland in 2020, after the original half-cohort of Prep students graduates this year.

It marks the end of a period where secondary schools carried five-and-a-half cohorts of students, with six full year levels in high schools next year for the first time - an increase of about 17,000 students.

University of Southern Queensland School of Education's Tania Leach said it was "really difficult" to attract teachers to rural and regional areas, something she had witnessed firsthand during her many years teaching.

She said the influx of extra students, along with other factors including fewer people commencing teaching degrees and large numbers of teachers retiring, would hit rural schools hard, with graduates now having more options to stay in the cities.

"When I went through teacher training in the '90s, there was an expectation you would do rural service," she said.

"Where once upon a time pre-service teachers had to prove to schools why they were a good candidate, now schools are selling why they should come and choose to teach at their schools."

Ms Leach said schools were not only struggling to secure permanent teachers, but also dealing with high levels of staff turnover and finding supply teachers.

"But on the other hand the benefits of living and teaching in those areas are fantastic, in terms of your own professional development and early career advancement, and there are also certain financial benefits," she said.

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