• Wyatt Creech

The Government today injected a further $14 million over two financial years into its campaign to provide more teachers in schools in 1997 and 1998.

New initiatives announced by Education Minister Wyatt Creech include:

  • A multi-media advertising campaign due to start shortly to stimulate interest in teaching as a career
  • Increased teacher training next year
  • Extra support for teachers recruited from the community pool (teachers not currently in the teaching workforce)
  • Bigger incentives to attract teachers to hard-to-staff areas
  • Further recruitment of teachers overseas.

"When I took over responsibility for the education portfolio one of my first priorities was to ensure we take the right steps to provide more teachers. Today's announcement is part of the ongoing work to achieve that goal," Mr Creech said.

"We need more teachers in our schools as we respond to rising school enrolments, improvements to teacher:pupil ratios and the decision to raise the school leaving age. The extra investment will help ensure our young people have the teachers they need next year and in 1998," Mr Creech said.

It is predicted about 580 primary teachers and 300 secondary teachers additional to those which current sources can be expected to supply will be needed next year.

"We are focusing on attracting more good teachers into our schools in 1997 - and laying the groundwork to provide more teachers for following years."

The total funding package of $23 million will increase the number of teachers available in 1997 and 1998. It comprises the additional $14 million announced today and money already within Vote Education and includes:

  • An extra $2.13 million to retrain teachers who have been out of the classroom for some time
  • A further $2.58 million to support the recruitment of overseas teachers - includes ability to recover up to $3,000 per teacher for relocation expenses to designated schools and $1,300 ‘finders fee'
  • $1.25 million for Boards of Trustees of specified hard-to-staff primary schools and secondary schools with hard-to-staff subject areas. Includes new $2,500 grant for Boards of Trustees to help the teacher take up the job. ( New Zealand teachers are also eligible for $3,000 relocation expenses to designated schools)
  • $500,000 to continue local relief teacher initiatives
  • $900,000 for communications and recruitment advertising campaign, including a specific focus on the recruitment of Maori medium teachers
  • 1500 Equivalent Fulltime Tertiary Student places will be set aside for new primary and existing secondary teacher graduate training courses in 1997 to prepare teachers to teach at the beginning of the 1998 academic year. The places will be paid for out of the additional money announced in this funding package and from "new growth" for tertiary education and training.
  • $2 million for teacher supply initiatives - previously announced in this year's budget

The Ministry of Education has already called for bids from providers for delivery of compressed courses for graduates to enter primary pre-service teacher education. Nine providers have already made bids for over 600 EFTS places for these courses for 1997.

"We have settled on initiatives which target both students as potential teachers and already-qualified teachers who may be working in other fields.

"They are flexible enough to respond to teacher supply needs as they develop and will be evaluated to ensure there is the right balance between supply and demand.

Mr Creech pointed out that the strategies were backed up by other steps to make teaching a more attractive profession.

"Increasing the salaries of secondary and primary teachers and making a commitment to developing a unified pay system will allow education to attract the calibre of teacher that New Zealand parents are entitled to expect."

The Government has also just invested more than half a billion dollars into the education system to create a good working environment.

"The Government is committed to meeting the demand for new schools, extra classrooms and support facilities and to modernising existing schools. In total $442 million has been set aside for such needs in 1996/97 - the biggest school property works programme for decades.

Mr Creech said today's teacher supply announcement was part of the Government's ongoing response to ensuring we meet the goal of giving every child in New Zealand a quality education.