Teachers have welcomed the Government’s move to address the teacher shortage problem, but say it’s not enough.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins today announced an immediate $9.5 million teacher supply package to support more teachers into classrooms in 2018.

“Principals have been telling the Government for many months they are desperately trying to plug a major shortage of teachers in locations such as Auckland and in subjects including science, te reo Māori, technology and maths,” said Hipkins.

“The funding, which is approved by Cabinet, will support more graduates into permanent teaching positions, support experienced teachers back into the profession and recruit new graduates into teaching.”

The package includes changes to the Voluntary Bonding Scheme. It will be expanded nationally to new teachers of science, technology, maths and te reo Māori as well as to beginning teachers who start in decile two and three schools in Auckland next year.

The package will also expand the Auckland Beginner Teacher Project to increase the employment of beginning teachers in permanent or fixed-term roles in Auckland primary schools and to support them to become fully certificated teachers.

It will also cover the cost of Teacher Education Refresher courses to attract experienced teachers back to the classroom, and make it easier for overseas teachers from the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and Fiji to come and work in New Zealand.

Secondary teachers’ union PPTA president Jack Boyle says the investment will make a difference in the short-term, but says more is needed.

“The extent of the problem is so large that we believe it will take a lot more than this package to make sure there are the right number of secondary teachers with the appropriate subject specialties in front of New Zealand children every day.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart agreed, saying the “modest package” was useful but not sufficient to solve the crisis in Auckland and elsewhere.

An NZEI principal survey released this week showed that one in five Auckland schools expect to be at least one teacher short next year and another 27 per cent still don’t know whether they will have enough teachers.

Stuart also noted the package did not address the shortage of ECE teachers.

New Zealand Principals’ Federation president Whetu Cormick said long term solutions are what are needed.

“The Government taking performance measures, like national standards, off the agenda sends a strong message that it is moving in the right direction,” he said.
“Long term, we want to see a lift in the status of the profession, produce more high quality graduates in teaching and then reward and support teachers appropriately.”

Hipkins said the teacher supply package was the first part of a “comprehensive programme to alleviate teacher shortages and build a strong and engaged workforce”.

More information on the teacher supply package is available at: http://www.education.govt.nz/teacher-supply

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