In response to Education Review’s article Why overseas teachers will help but not solve New Zealand’s teacher shortage crisis.

The Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand has increased the number of staff who process overseas teacher applications. However, our role remains ensuring quality teachers are in front of learners.

The Teacher Education Refresh (TER) programme was designed to support New Zealand registered teachers, who no longer meet the current statutory requirements, renew their provisional practising certificate and continue to be employed as teachers (teachers who have not taught for six years or who have been unable to meet full certification requirements after six years).

The article refers to anecdotal evidence that suggests many returning or overseas teachers are finding it difficult to get registered or employed in New Zealand. The Council has reviewed its processes and ensured that we can assess an application quickly for those teachers who provide required information.

Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand numbers reveal that almost 800 overseas teachers have been registered so far this year. In the eight months to 31 August 2018, the Council received 988 applications from overseas trained teachers to register in New Zealand. Of these 796 applicants received their registration to teach in New Zealand schools. Just 36 applications were declined for not having the necessary qualifications.

In addition to the 800 overseas teachers, a total of 1129 New Zealand trained teachers have successfully completed the TER programme since July 2015. Currently 400 New Zealand teachers are enrolled in the programme. This means that 1129 teachers (with another 400 to follow) have been returned to the profession. In other words, 1500 teachers who were unable to meet the statutory requirements to renew their practising certificates now have, or will soon have, provisional certification and legally be able to work in centres or schools. This is the benefit of TER.

It is also now free for New Zealand and overseas trained teachers to enrol in the TER programme, following the Government’s 2018 budget announcement that it would fund the cost of TER enrolment for the next four years.

The curriculum content of the TER programme is contained in four modules. They are designed to ensure a teacher has the current knowledge and experience of the New Zealand Education system to be able to teach effectively. Content of the four modules can be found here


  1. I know someone who completed this course recently. They said it was basically 3 months of writing essays and a 4-week “lip service” practicum in a school. She got the impression that the staff at the school didn’t really want her there and that it was a hassle having yet another “trainee” teacher (she has actually taught in the private sector for 10+yrs) to keep an eye on. She doesn’t know if she wants to teach in a public school after that somewhat “negative” experience.

  2. Kary, I couldn’t say it better myself. I’m currently doing the TER Programme and it’s an academic box ticking exercise that is basically just another barrier to getting good teachers (back) into the profession. It’s an absolute waste of time.

  3. Am doing the course atm, and am glad to know I’m not the only one who questions the value of the essays / assignments! I think it would be far more value to give more weight to practical experience; namely, have more practicums or school visits.

  4. I have never felt so demoralised doing the TER course. I reflect on my experience as a teacher and ask myself why? I just want to be back in the classroom and instead I am at home completing another assignment. It is utterly pointless, repitative and a waste of the governments money. I have a wealth of experience I would love to share, yet I am being treated like a trainee teacher. I decided to break from teaching to have children and I feel I am being punished for it by having to retrain. Yes it is retraining. There is nothing refreshing about it.


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