A survey carried out by Auckland Primary Principals Association (APPA) in June found that of the 168 schools actively needing staff for Term 3, 65 per cent received five or fewer applicants and at least eight schools received no applicants for vacancies.
“It’s a really severe situation for schools when you consider that some of those applicants would be the same person applying for more than one position,” Association president Diane Manners told Radio New Zealand.
“There’s no way currently to incentivise to bring people into the Auckland market,” she said.
The primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa says the problem extends beyond Auckland.
President Louise Green says workforce planning in the education sector is urgently needed.
“We don’t have the information we need about areas of surplus and shortages,” she said.
“The root of the problem is the cost of housing, but even a raft of effective policies aren’t going to fix the issue overnight. The Ministry of Education needs to continue to work with the sector to find practical solutions quickly because this workforce problem is not going to fix itself.”
Lisa Rodgers, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement says the Ministry of Education is working with principals and sector groups across both primary and secondary schooling to respond to their concerns about teacher supply.
“We have been meeting regularly over the last few months with individual principals and groups, principals’ associations and sector bodies in a series of discussions to develop joint solutions. As a result, a range of potential solutions are being explored and some are being implemented.”
Rodgers says in the primary sector the Ministry is providing recruitment assistance to schools with hard-to-fill vacancies and working with the Tertiary Education Commission to influence the intake of students enrolling in initial teacher education so that they are a better match to school needs. They are also working to smooth the path for overseas teachers coming to work in New Zealand schools.