14 Sep 2022

Government boosts teacher recruitment schemes, tutoring services

2:05 pm on 14 September 2022
Covid Response Minister Chris Hipkins delivers the Covid case numbers in the 1pm press conference in the Beehive Theatrette.

Photo: POOL / Stuff / Robert Kitchin

The government is spending $24 million on recruitment initiatives aiming to bring an extra 1000 teachers into the workforce, and a further $20m on support for students.

Announcing the move in a statement this afternoon, Minister of Education Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti said they expected the $24m funding would bring in 700 teachers from overseas, and see another 300 trained up domestically.

Funding for overseas recruitment would go to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA), Teaching Council and Education Payroll to speed up processing times for overseas teachers' assessments, and to the NZQA to waive the cost of an International Qualification Assessment for up to 1200 overseas teachers.

Recruitment within New Zealand would be boosted through increased scholarships, an extra 100 school-embedded teacher training places, and expansion of the Beginning Teacher Vacancy Scheme which finds roles and extra incentives for new and returning teachers.

Hipkins said $20m funding for extra teaching and tutoring services would help students disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"This will include exam preparation, workshops, tutorials and homework, and one-on-one mentoring. We know that schools are best placed to make the best decisions to target the funding where it is needed most," he said.

It would include $17.4m for secondary schools that had more students in lower socio-economic areas as determined by the Equity Index which replaced deciles.

More than $2m would support at least 2245 Māori and Pacific students in Years 11 to 13 with extra practical help with NCEA in Term 4, and an extra 500 Te Kura dual tuition summer school places would also be added.

Heading off 'potential crisis'

Newly named Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Women and Associate Minister of Education Jan Tinetti.

Jan Tinetti Photo: RNZ

Speaking after announcing the funding, Tinetti said the government was trying to head off a potential recruitment crisis.

During a visit to Aotea College in Porirua, she said: "We do know that compared to last year more jobs have been advertised, we do know that more have been readvertised at this time too. This is about trying to get in front of a potential crisis. We're not at that level yet, but we have seen some signs and we want to get in front of it."

Previous forecasts showed secondary schools faced the greatest potential shortages and Tinetti said early childhood services also faced shortages as did primary schools in some regions.

Post Primary Teachers Association president Melanie Webber said the government's measures were short-term fixes.

She said the best way to deal with the shortage of teachers was to make the profession more attractive with better pay and conditions.

"We need to make sure that we are attracting people into the profession and we're needing to make sure it is a profession that people feel able to stay in. That's making sure we have the pay and conditions that people need rather than saying 'this is too hard I'm going to go off somewhere else'," she said.

"I'm seeing a lot of people leaving."

Tinetti said teachers had had some "great wins" in recent pay negotiations and increased funding for scholarships and in-school teacher training would help attract more New Zealanders to teaching.

"We have to support our workforce. I still believe it's the best profession in the world," she said.

Tinetti said the $20m for extra tutoring and teaching for students who had fallen behind was a response to requests from schools to help students catch up on learning lost to Covid-19 disruptions.

"We know that Covid has had a big impact on young people and their achievement and so that's why we want to get in and support schools," she said.

"This is what schools are telling us is one of their greatest needs."

Tinetti said many students were feeling anxious about their progress and they needed only a little help to catch up.

She said schools could use the money on their own initiatives or use providers with experience in tutoring students.

"Many schools will have arrangements in place now but we are standing up a panel of providers as well that schools will be able to access. They'll be people that already know about tutoring in schools," she said.

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