• Wyatt Creech

The Government now has twenty initiatives running to ensure it meets the challenge of having a trained and qualified teacher in every New Zealand classroom in 1997.

More than $16 million has been allocated for these initiatives, which include retraining, relocation allowances, relief teacher schemes, more training places, advertising campaigns and teacher recruitment overseas.

It is clear there are both local and overseas teachers who want to fill the jobs in our schools. Good progress is being made towards achieving our goal of having a qualified teacher in every classroom by February 1997, Education Minister Wyatt Creech said today.

I am pleased with the positive and continuing response to the teacher supply initiatives. Further initiatives are at the advanced planning stage.

It is imperative for schools to advertise their vacancies and recruit now for the new school year.

A major concern is the late advertising and interviewing undertaken by some schools and a possible reluctance to recruit overseas teachers, he said.

One of the key areas is Auckland. A teacher vacancy survey in November indicated that for 1997 in Auckland and Northland there were 564 vacancies.

Auckland is getting special attention. For example we flew three dozen college of education graduates from Dunedin and Christchurch to Auckland on Monday to meet Auckland principals. Agents with overseas teachers ready to shift to New Zealand were also at this recruitment fair.

About 1900 responses to the 0800TeachNZ advertising campaign had been received by 2 December 1996. Every caller is receiving an information pack and a follow-up phone call.

One of the ten agents recruiting overseas has more than a thousand CVs from trained and qualified people, from countries such as Canada, Australia, England and South Africa, wanting to teach in New Zealand.

More than 330 previous teachers have completed retraining already. Additional programmes are being set up in Waikato, Wellington and Dunedin.

The number of places available for people to train as teachers has increased from 6811 in 1995 to 7499 in 1996 and will be 7767 in 1997.

In addition, Mr Creech said, $1.5 million had been paid out by the end of November to reimburse teachers who had relocated to priority staffing schools, and to 340 schools setting up local relief teacher initiatives.

The Government, the Education Ministry, school principals and Boards of Trustees need to remain constantly active to meet the teacher supply challenge, Mr Creech said.

The situation is being monitored on a daily basis so that everything possible is done between now and the start of school next year to ensure our children all have trained and qualified teachers.