New plan to address teacher shortage

  • Hon Chris Hipkins
  • Extra $10.5 million in funding
  • Up to 230 grants of $10,000 for schools to get more graduate teachers into classrooms
  • Over 6,000 overseas-based teachers targeted in new campaign
  • $5 million more available for overseas relocation grants and finder’s fees
  • Easier access to up to $3,000 per teacher finder’s fee to help schools offset recruitment costs

The Coalition Government is ramping up efforts to attract over 850 additional teachers to meet an expected shortfall next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.  

New analysis by the Ministry of Education shows that 650 extra primary teachers and 200 extra secondary teachers will be needed in 2019 to meet a rising level of demand, driven mainly by a forecast growth in the number of students in schools.

“We know that some schools and parents, particularly in the Auckland area but also in pockets around the country, are concerned that not enough teachers are coming into the system, and we are determined to pull out all the stops to meet next year’s projected shortfall,” Chris Hipkins said.

“We’re committing an extra $10.5 million, on top of the $29.5 million already announced since late last year, to ramp up teacher recruitment initiatives and increase funding for schools - bringing funding to $40 million this year to fill vacancies.”

The new analysis created a much clearer picture of demand, Chris Hipkins said.

“We can now work with schools with much greater certainty. Our immediate focus is to get sufficient quality teachers in place for the next school year. But longer-term workforce planning is already underway, and the analysis being refined will support this work to address what is expected to be a need for even more teachers in a few years’ time.”

The funding package announced today builds on initiatives that are already paying dividends. The new package includes the introduction of a new grant to encourage schools to employ more teaching graduates. At present only 80 per cent of graduates get a teaching job when they finish training. 

“Increasing the employment of newly graduated teachers is important and the grant will support schools to mentor beginning teachers, before they take on their own classes. The grant means the Ministry can be more hands on to address location and subject shortage areas.  

“We’ve also increased our overseas recruitment target for 2019 from 400 up to 900 and enlisted further recruitment agency support for schools. We’re continuing to focus on bringing New Zealand-trained teachers home, while also looking for other teachers from countries with qualifications similar to ours,” Chris Hipkins said.

“Last week Immigration NZ, working with the Education Ministry, directly emailed 6000 overseas teachers who’ve registered an interest in working here - to encourage them to take the next step. A social media campaign targeting this groups is also underway and a campaign targeting New Zealand-trained teachers working overseas will follow soon.

“The Education Ministry is working with the Teaching Council to improve the support available to overseas-trained teachers, including a focus on induction that builds the culturally responsive practices needed to work in New Zealand.  

“The package also includes improvements to existing initiatives to make it easier for schools to recruit teaching staff locally, and to attract former teachers back to the profession. The Ministry will be actively promoting both the new and existing initiatives to principals, and Ministry-contracted recruiters will be doing the same,” Chris Hipkins said. 

There are currently around 70,000 teachers working in around 2,500 state or state-integrated schools.

Other key changes:

  • Increasing the number of Overseas Relocation Grants to match the increased recruitment drive and more availability of an up to $3,000 per teacher finder’s fee to help schools offset recruitment costs.
  • Expanding the Teacher Education Refresh (TER) subsidy so it can be accessed by overseas teachers to meet certification requirements with the Teaching Council. Further support will also be provided to teachers required to repeat or re-sit aspects of the TER programme, at no further cost.
  • Changes to the criteria to enable more schools to access the 3R national fund - making it easier to recruit for staff in shortage subject and isolated areas. 
  • Additional funding for agencies to process more overseas teacher applications.

Questions and Answers

How accurate are the estimated teacher numbers for next year?

It’s the best estimate the Ministry has produced, particularly for demand in the short term. The tool is however a work in progress. The Ministry will continue to work with the sector to refine and improve the tool’s planning assumptions for out years. The assumptions include student population and net migration forecasts teacher exit rates and expected new and returning teachers.The initiatives announced today, together with others already well underway that will also deliver additional teachers, aim to increase teacher numbers by up to 1400 next year.  We’re taking this approach to create a buffer in case demand is higher than expected and/or some of the initiatives don’t deliver the desired impact.  

What does the planning show in terms demand and supply after 2019?

The Ministry will release more information about the modelling in the near future, once sector groups have been fully briefed. We’re releasing next year’s planning assumptions now, because we want to get on with promoting the new and expanded recruitment initiatives so that schools and prospective teachers can get on with it.

Do you have a regional breakdown of the numbers?

The Ministry has a regional breakdown for Auckland as that is where we anticipated the most pressure. This shows that 260 extra primary teachers and 130 extra secondary teachers will be needed to meet demand in Auckland.  Further regional supply breakdowns are being considered. The Ministry needs to be sure the model produces reliable results for areas with small numbers of teachers. It is being told of demand pressures in other areas, for example: Southland, Queenstown/Wanaka are facing pressure for primary teachers and Northland and Tauranga for secondary teachers. 

Where will the overseas teachers come from?

We’re continuing to focus on bringing NZ-trained teachers home. Our second focus is overseas-trained teachers who come from countries with teaching qualifications that are similar to ours.  This means these teachers will mostly have their qualifications pre-approved, which speeds up things up. Those countries are: the UK, Ireland Canada, South Africa, Australia and Fiji.

What support will be provided for overseas-trained teachers to understand the New Zealand context?

The Ministry is working with the Teaching Council to improve the support available to overseas-trained teachers, including a focus on induction that builds the culturally responsive practices needed to work in New Zealand.  

 Why didn’t the Ministry already have a robust planninng process to anticipate the teacher demand and supply outlook.

The teacher education, recruitment and appointment systems are not integrated and do not provide good central information yet. This is not simple, but we are working to improve the demand and supply planning system.   

How many beginner teachers will graduate this year?

We’re expecting 860 secondary and 1,520 primary teacher graduates this year.  There has been a decline in the number of graduates in recent years, but indicative data from April 2018 records of enrolment show that more people are starting ITE qualifications than the same time last year.

The Government is also looking at options to strengthen the Initial Teacher Education (ITE) sector, including looking at ways to make teacher training more flexible so we can support a wider range of people with different sets of skills into the profession. 

How successful have the existing teacher supply initiatives been?

The Ministry has made a good start and, working with the sector, we are picking up the pace.  Here’s the uptake so far:

Teacher Education Refresh - 1,250 enrolments since the subsidy opened on 1 February 2018

Overseas Relocation Grant - 245 ORG applications, of which 192 have been approved since the beginning of 2018 - including 58 for NZ-trained teachers coming home. 70 finder’s fee applications of which 47 have been approved. Note: initial funding was for a maximum of 100 ORGs and finder’s fee applications per financial year and this funding has now been increased. 

Teach First NZ Expansion – 54 people placed so far for the 2019 cohort

3R National Fund – 5 applications approved

Voluntary Bonding Expanded Scheme (VBS) – grant applications for teachers who started in the job this year will first be received in 2021

PCT Project (formerly called the Auckland Beginning Teacher Project)  schools are now progressing with the recruitment of their provisionally certificated teachers so numbers will be firmed up soon. We’re expecting over 60 new teachers from this project for next year.