Budget 2017: $5.2m to fund more teachers in priority subjects

  • Nikki Kaye

Education Minister Nikki Kaye has announced that Budget 2017 will commit $5.2 million of operating funding over the next four years to expand the innovative teacher training programme, Teach First NZ, to provide places for a further 90 participants.

“This funding is part of the Government’s drive to strengthen the teaching profession,” says Ms Kaye.

“Ensuring we have high quality teachers across all subjects is hugely important to us. Teach First NZ is great for recruiting high quality graduates in subjects that at the moment are harder to staff, such as maths, science and technology.”

Teach First NZ is the country’s only schooling sector, employment-based initial teacher education (ITE) programme and has been operating as a pilot since 2013.

“In 2016 we committed more than $9 million to a package of initiatives which included lifting the number of science, technology and maths teachers and reducing the loss of beginning teachers.

“Budget 2017 will allocate $5.2 million over the next four years of reprioritised funding from Vote Tertiary Education to expand Teach First NZ and recruit the very best new teachers.”

To date, 42 per cent of Teach First NZ graduates teach maths, science or technology, and all of them teach in schools with some of the biggest achievement challenges. They have directly served 14,000 New Zealand students, including 4,000 Māori and Pasifika.

The funding will provide two further cohorts of 45 participants each, starting in 2018. The emphasis continues to be on STM subjects, and graduates will be trained to teach in schools with a high proportion of Māori and Pasifika students, and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

“Teach First NZ graduates have proved hugely influential on the students they teach during their training, making a real difference to young people in subjects that can be challenging,” says Ms Kaye.

“This Government is continuing to invest heavily in our children’s futures and we have proven our commitment to transforming the education system to make it more responsive to the needs of learners, to raise educational achievement, and to improve life outcomes and employment options.

“Today’s announcement comes alongside the creation of a new induction and mentoring programme to support provisionally registered teachers to become fully registered before their certificate expires, and the lifting of a freeze on new teacher education programmes from 2018.

Notes to Editors:

Under employment-based ITE, teacher trainees are employed by schools as teachers while undertaking their teaching qualification.

Instead of being based in universities, with some in-school experience, students participating in employment-based ITE have their study moulded around time spent in the classroom. This increases the within-school experiences and responsibilities of participants compared to other ITE programmes.

The 2018 programme is conditional on successful approval of the qualification by the new provider, The Mind Lab by Unitec. Submission of the new qualification to NZQA and the Education Council will occur this month.