Growing teachers for Auckland

Issue: Volume 95, Number 18

Posted: 10 October 2016
Reference #: 1H9d4g

A new project aims to support beginning teachers for the future of our education system.

A partnership between the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association (APPA) and the Ministry of Education, the Auckland Beginning Teacher Project is one component of a $9 million package to boost the number of teachers in high-demand subjects and locations. The project identifies primary schools in the Auckland region that will commit to employing a beginning teacher through to full certification, addressing an issue that is closely linked to the loss of new teachers early in their careers.

This two-year project will support 40 beginning or provisionally registered primary teachers (PRTs) to gain valuable skills needed to teach junior classes, particularly new entrant classes.

These teachers will work in year 0-4 classes from the beginning of Term 1, 2017, ‘shadowing’ an expert teacher for up to six months. This relationship will have a strong mentoring/tuakana-teina element.

As roll growth allows, the teacher will take responsibility for their own class later in the year.

The Beginning Teacher Project will support these teachers to achieve full certification, help to ease supply pressures for the schools involved, and improve knowledge about the factors that support retention early in a teaching career.

The lessons learned from this project will benefit primary schools in other parts of New Zealand.

Engaged with schools

Diane Manners, president of APPA and principal of Kohimarama School, says the project was driven by concern about teacher supply in Auckland.

“The APPA discussed a range of concerning issues with Ministry of Education, including high roll growth in Auckland, the difficulty of attracting new teachers into the region, and the fact that as the year progresses, these issues compound as rolls expand,” she says.

Diane notes many primary schools in the region have been unable to fill vacant positions, and this is particularly concerning for new entrant classes, which grow with new students as the year goes on.

If schools are able to get any applicants for positions coming up later in the year, these tend to be provisionally registered teachers.

This presents a problem as schools recognise that transitioning children from early childhood education and into the first few years of schooling is a skilled area of expertise. As a result, schools generally prefer to have an experienced teacher in these classes to help children settle into primary school life.

“Alongside that, many provisionally registered teachers are finding themselves unable to win positions in classrooms and as a consequence are leaving the profession, the region, or in some cases, the country in search of work,” she says.

“When we looked at the issue of PRTs not winning positions at the beginning of the school year, and how difficult it was for schools to find applicants later in the year, we saw there was a specific opportunity to do something about it."

“We want beginning teachers and PRTs to know this project is happening, and even though it’s a short-term project, it’s a way we can ensure provisionally registered teachers are engaged in schools. They’re given a quality induction process by one teacher mentor and then they’re ready to pick up the work later in the year as they’re needed."

“This project also enables us to retain these PRTs in the system and take them through to full certification.”

Further work

The Auckland economy is growing strongly. As a result media reports have indicated pressures across the board; in transport, infrastructure, the cost of living, housing and in teaching.

For the teaching profession, the strong growth means career opportunities in industries other than teaching are being offered. Graduates and existing teachers are taking these up particularly in sectors where skills in the sciences, technology and maths are valued. As a result, school principals are finding the number of applicants for teaching roles is falling.

The Beginning Teacher Project was designed with the APPA in direct response to issues Auckland is facing, and is addressing a specific need to get more qualified teachers in new entrant and junior classes.

While it’s an important step in increasing the number of new teacher graduates who are employed and retained in the teaching professions, the hope is that it will also generate information that may be useful for other principals and boards of trustees facing similar pressures.

While there is no one silver bullet, initiatives such as the Beginning Teacher project will help to ease pressure in the short term while the Ministry and the sector work on longer-term issues.

The findings from this project will be shared with the sector and inform teacher supply solutions in the future.

For more information about the project download The Beginning Teachers Project document(external link) 

Opportunity for new teachers

Are you a beginning or provisionally registered teacher? If you’re interested in this Auckland-based opportunity, keep an eye out in the Education Gazette over the next few months because participating Auckland schools will be advertising their relevant vacancies here.

To be eligible, you will need to be a PRT, a New Zealand resident or citizen and commit to working in the role for two years and participate in the project evaluation. You must be able to show that you are not required to complete a Teacher Refresh within the two year timeframe.

$9 Million package to boost teacher numbers

The Auckland Beginning Teacher project is part of a $9 million Government package to boost teacher numbers in high-demand subjects and locations which also includes:

  • a further 100 Teach NZ Scholarships worth a total of $1.8 million per year for science, technology and maths subjects
  • expanding investment in recruitment campaigns to about $1 million and launching a new recruitment campaign to bring Kiwi teachers back home 
  • promoting teaching as a career to science, technology and mathematics tertiary students.
To find out more visit the Beehive website(external link) 

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 4:39 pm, 10 October 2016

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