The Expo will be held at Eden Park’s Level 5 lounge on Thursday 24 August from 2-7pm, with 40 primary principals from across the Auckland region attending. It is estimated that those principals preside over schools that already have 120-160 vacancies for the 2018 year.

The University’s Dean of Education and Social Work, Professor Graeme Aitken, says schools have been feeling the pinch for a while now with vacancies that urgently need filling.

“We have some wonderful graduates who would relish the opportunity to get in front of principals. The expo gives them a great chance of getting a job and helping fill the vacancy gaps.”

The University is assisting students who want to attend the expo by setting up a temporary crèche at Eden Park and giving petrol vouchers.

Expo organiser, Auckland Primary Principals’ Association president Kevin Bush, has been a principal for 24 years, the last 14 at Te Hihi School in South Auckland.

He has already seen schools suffer with a lack of teachers about 20 years ago. But back then an influx of teachers from the UK, Australia and Canada helped the situation.

But this time the situation is worsened by the number of teachers leaving Auckland because of the rising cost of living.

“There are schools that are advertising four or five times and there are schools that have five or six vacancies in them.

“We’ve heard of schools where they have three classes split across two teachers and a teacher aid in there to support them because they can’t find a third teacher.”

“I know that there are principals beginning to experience this and are tearing their hair out.”

Mr Bush doesn’t believe the Government has been slow to react to the crisis, rather he thinks that they’ve only recently become aware of the scale of the problem.

“I don’t think that they’re reluctant, I don’t think they’ve realised the severity of the situation until just recently and they’re scrambling for ideas.”

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