Queensland’s teacher transfer system, which sees trainee teachers earning brownie points through hardship posts such as Mt Morgan and Mt Isa, is threatened by PM Julia Gillard’s school autonomy plan:
This is a positive development. It will make the teaching profession more attractive to talented senior secondary students, who may be put off a teaching career by the prospect of having to earn brownie points in remote Queensland towns.
If we’re going to send our young teachers to hardship posts, let’s be transparent about it and compensate them properly. The appropriate loading for a hardship post such as Mt Morgan will be revealed through market forces under the Gillard plan.
This market-determined loading will help us evaluate the true costs and benefits of providing schools in remote areas. Currently we are not accounting for the intangible costs of the hardship posts to young teachers, including the adverse effects on their wellbeing and enjoyment of the teaching profession. These intangible costs would be revealed by the market-determined loading, as teachers in remote areas will demand they are appropriately compensated for the associated hardship.
Ultimately, it might end up cheaper to subsidize children in some remote areas to attend boarding schools in Brisbane than to fund a school that is very costly for the Queensland community to maintain.