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Minyip Primary School urgently needs more teachers.

Principal holds fort amid teacher shortage

A primary school in country Victoria is set to start 2024 with no year three to six teacher despite multiple efforts to fill the vacancy.

Located in a small tourist town approximately 300 km west of Melbourne, Minyip Primary School has only 38 students and one incredibly passionate principal.

Minyip’s principal, Julie Powell, has said the school will not shut down despite circulating rumours that the school won’t open in the new year. 

Ms Powell has conducted five rounds of advertising to fill two positions but hasn't received any applications for the positions so far; she is currently teaching 20 grade three to six  students herself.

Over 735  primary teaching positions are currently open across Victoria; however, most teachers gravitate to urban areas, making it challenging to staff regional schools like Minyip.

The Victorian government has announced upcoming incentives to recruit teachers to regional schools, including funding to attract more teachers to ‘hard-to-staff’ positions in government schools.

The targeted initiative to attract more teachers would pay $50,000 for qualified teachers to relocate to eligible schools.

The Job Opportunities Pool is an Education Department-led Teacher Recruitment Initiative (TRI) launched on September 4 to improve the application process for teaching roles at Victorian schools.

Teachers and prospective teachers register for the jobs pool, and applicants will then be auto-matched to job opportunities based on their preferences and qualifications.

The TRI aims to reduce the time it takes to fill vacancies by up to 70 per cent, according to a spokesperson from the Vic government.

The support can't come fast enough for Minyip primary school; the casual teacher filling the vacancy in term two is now unavailable and there are no other casual teaching staff to draw on.

Only five year's away from retirement, Ms Powell is “not ready to quit”, but the pressure of maintaining an understaffed school is challenging.

“We’ve got awesome kids, and the parents are terrific. And I love coming to work each day,” she said. 

“I don’t love coming to work and doing two jobs. And going home and being so wired that I can’t sleep because I’m thinking about all the things that are priorities.”

The dedicated principal made a public submission to a parliamentary inquiry into the state education system in August but is yet to receive a response.

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