By: Simon Collins
The Government has cut back a plan by former education minister Nikki Kaye to pay a bonus of up to $17,500 to all beginning teachers who work in any Auckland school for at least three years.
The centrepiece of a minimal $9.5 million package to tackle the teacher shortage, announced today, is extending the grant through the voluntary bonding scheme for beginning teachers to Auckland schools in deciles 2 and 3 only, but with the maximum cut to $10,500.
The bonus currently applies only in decile 1 and isolated schools. Kaye had planned to extend it to all Auckland schools, at a cost which Education Minister Chris Hipkins said would have been $37.5m a year.
He said that would have created a $37.5m “hole” in the education budget.
The one-off extension of the scheme will pay $10,500 to beginning teachers who start work in 2018 only in Auckland schools in deciles 2 and 3 and stay for at least three years.
It will also apply, again just $10,500 and for teachers starting in 2018 only, to all beginning teachers nationally in science, technology, maths and te reo Māori, and to all beginning teachers in Māori-language schools.
Hipkins said he was limiting the grant to $10,500 for teachers in the wider categories “to preserve the advantage the decile 1 schools currently have from the scheme”.
Principals in Auckland decile 1 schools have expressed concern that they would not be able to recruit teachers if they could not offer anything better than other schools.
The package also provides for
- 35 extra places on the Teach First scheme for secondary teachers to train on the job in low-decile schools in 2019. (The 2018 intake have already started their pre-employment training).
- Expanding the Auckland Beginner Teacher Project from 40 places to 60 for 2018. The scheme pays schools to employ beginning teachers before their rolls grow enough to justify an extra teacher, but only 18 schools so far have applied to use it next year.
- Paying the cost of refresher courses in the first half of 2018 only for teachers who have not obtained full registration six years after training. These courses cost $1490 on the job or $2490 in classrooms.
- A $1m fund that schools can apply to, in the remainder of this financial year only, to top up wages for non-registered teachers in specialised subjects such as trades and music.
- A $1m social media campaign to inform newly graduated teachers about the changes and to encourage teachers whose registrations have lapsed to return to teaching in 2018.