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Incentives and support for country teachers and leaders

Working in the country can be a life-changing opportunity for teachers and leaders. To help you take on this new experience, there are incentives and support programs available. These include allowances, job security and subsidised costs to help you integrate into a new country community.

If you’re looking for a teaching position, visit Edujobs careers in education. Vacancies in country locations are advertised as a priority and both contract and ongoing vacancies attract great benefits.

Incentive payments for working in the country

Incentives are offered to eligible teachers and leaders who gain employment in country locations. The incentives vary depending on the specific country location and whether the employment is permanent or temporary.

Zone allowance payments

If you’re appointed to permanent and contract positions in country zone 2 to 5 schools and preschools, you can receive zone allowance payments. These payments are made fortnightly for a maximum of 5 years and vary depending on the zone.

Incidentals payment

There’s also a one-off incidentals payment made to eligible teachers after appointment to their first permanent teaching position in country zone 2 to 5 schools and preschools. You don’t need to apply to receive this payment.

Locality allowance payment

If you live at or near country schools, you can receive the locality allowance to compensate for the:

  • adverse environment
  • abnormal depreciation of motor vehicles
  • increased cost of living
  • isolation
  • cost of travelling from distant schools to Adelaide for the vacation period.

To find out more about incentive payments or the zones of country schools, email People and Culture Operations at education.hr [at] sa.gov.au.

Department staff can visit country incentives (login required) on our intranet (EDi).

Subsidised costs for working in the country

Removals expenses

You can receive payment for the removals process to relocate to a country school if you:

  • are transferred to another school on promotion
  • request to transfer to another school after 3 years or more satisfactory service at 1 school
  • are already in a country teaching role, and while in that role move from a non-departmental residence to a departmental residence, or from 1 departmental residence to another
  • have been appointed to a country school as your first appointment
  • have to relocate more than 45 km.

You might also be eligible for additional relocation allowances such as overnight accommodation, packing, furniture depreciation and kilometre allowance

Email education.hr [at] sa.gov.au to find out if you’re eligible.

Department staff can visit relocating to rural or remote areas (login required) on our intranet (EDi).

Other incentives

You can claim reimbursement for medical and dental treatment for yourself, your spouse or your dependants. You’ll need to apply with your receipts to receive the reimbursement.

Employees in selected Aboriginal and all Anangu schools are entitled to 4 travel days per term totalling 16 per year.

To find out more about these incentives, email People and Culture Operations at education.hr [at] sa.gov.au

Department staff can visit country incentives (login required) on our intranet (EDi).

Government employee housing concessions

Permanent and temporary employees are eligible for government employee housing (GEH) concessions. Utility subsidies are also available depending on the country location. 

Refer to Department for Infrastructure and Transport’s government employee housing for more information.

Guaranteed return from the country

Permanent country teachers (not in their first year of permanency) who choose to return to Adelaide and surrounds are guaranteed return to a teaching position in the extended metropolitan area after completing:

  • 4 years’ service in country zone 4 or 5
  • 5 years’ service in country zone 2 or 3
  • 6 years’ service in country zone 1.

You can apply on the permanent teacher register (PTR) the year before you want to return.

Full-time temporary relief teaching positions

The Pathways to Employment program offers full-time temporary relief teaching positions in hard-to-staff country regions. Teachers work across a range of country schools or preschools, which is a great way to get to know the community and meet new people.

The program runs across the partnerships of Pirie, Port Augusta and Quorn, Port Lincoln, Whyalla, the Riverland and the South East.

In addition to job security, you’ll have access to relocation support, professional development and mentoring opportunities.

If you’re a qualified teacher (who is not in a permanent teaching role) looking for a change of scenery, visit Edujobs careers in education, where any current positions are advertised.

Specialist subject experts teaching in country schools

Through the Teach for Australia program, high-performing experts in specialist subjects can complete a Masters teaching qualification to take up teaching positions in hard-to-staff country areas. This gives graduates or professionals (who aren’t already teachers) an alternative opportunity to start a teaching career.

The program brings specialist skills, such as science, technology, engineering, maths (STEM) and music, to country schools, which gives students better access to curriculum specialists.

A pilot of the program started in 2021 and is being trialled in Roxby Downs Area School and Stuart High School in Whyalla.

Applications are now closed for the 2022 pilot. To find out more about the program, email Education.CareerDevelopment [at] sa.gov.au