New Zealand aiming to attract more teachers

The New Zealand Government is ramping up efforts to attract over 850 additional teachers to meet an expected shortfall next year, with an emphasis on looking overseas.

New analysis by the Ministry of Education shows that 650 extra primary school and 200 extra secondary school teachers will be needed in 2019 to meet a rising level of demand, driven mainly by a forecast growth in the number of students in schools.

“We know that some schools and parents, particularly in the Auckland area but also in pockets around the country, are concerned that not enough teachers are coming into the system, and we are determined to pull out all the stops to meet next year’s projected shortfall,” said Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“We’re committing an extra NZ$10.5 million, on top of the NZ$29.5 million already announced since late last year, to ramp up teacher recruitment initiatives and increase funding for schools – bringing funding to NZ$40 million this year to fill vacancies.”

The new analysis created a much clearer picture of demand, Hipkins said.

“Our immediate focus is to get sufficient quality teachers in place for the next school year. But longer-term workforce planning is already underway, and the analysis being refined will support this work to address what is expected to be a need for even more of them in a few years’ time.”

The funding package announced today builds on initiatives that are already paying dividends. The new package includes the introduction of a new grant to encourage schools to employ more teaching graduates. At present only 80 per cent of graduates get a teaching job when they finish training.

“Increasing the employment of newly graduated teachers is important and the grant will support schools to mentor beginning teachers, before they take on their own classes. The grant means the Ministry can be more hands on to address location and subject shortage areas.

“We’ve also increased our overseas recruitment target for 2019 from 400 up to 900 and enlisted further recruitment agency support for schools. We’re continuing to focus on bringing New Zealand-trained teachers home, while also looking for others from countries with qualifications similar to ours,” Hipkins added.

Last week Immigration NZ, working alongside the Education Ministry, directly emailed 6,000 overseas teachers who’ve registered an interest in working in NZ – to encourage them to take the next step. A social media campaign targeting this groups is also underway and a campaign targeting New Zealand-trained teachers working overseas will follow soon.

There are currently around 70,000 teachers working in around 2,500 state or state-integrated schools.

Article published 17th October 2018