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Staffing Situation in NZ Schools Improves


Embargoed until 0001 Monday 3 April 2000

Staffing Situation in New Zealand Schools Continues to Improve

The Ministry of Education's annual teacher supply survey - taken at the beginning of the school year - indicates that the number of vacancies for teachers in New Zealand schools continues to decline.

Vacancies at the start of the year represented 0.9% of all teaching positions in the country, continuing the downwards trend from 1.7% in 1997, 1.4% in 1998 and 1.1% in 1999.

Re-advertised (or difficult to staff) vacancies represented just 0.2% of all positions. A reduction in both vacancies and re-advertised vacancies is evident in primary schools, though the vacancy situation in secondary schools is fairly similar to 1999.

The survey, which had a response rate of 99.3%, found that 89% of schools were fully staffed at the beginning of the school year.

The use of trained relief staff - employed for 10 weeks or less - was the most common measure employed to cover vacancies in both primary and secondary schools.

As in previous years, positions are more likely to be vacant in rural areas and at schools with more Mäori students or with lower socio-economic decile ratings, though there were slightly fewer vacancies and re-advertised vacancies in these schools compared with 1999.

Southland and Northland recorded the highest proportion of vacancies with 1.5% and 1.3% respectively, while Northland recorded the greatest proportion of re-advertised vacancies.

For subject areas, the highest levels of vacancies were recorded for technology teachers (14% of vacancies), followed by management, maths and English.

The number of beginning teachers increased this year, with 2,215 beginning teachers in primary and secondary schools at the start of the 2000 school year, compared with 2,055 last year. Only 34 beginning teachers came from abroad, down from previous years.

There were 1,019 overseas teachers in New Zealand schools at the beginning of the year.

The Ministry of Education's Research Division has undertaken the annual staffing survey of all state and state integrated schools since 1997. It asks principals to indicate how many vacancies and re-advertised vacancies they have and what measures they are taking to cover them, and how many beginning and overseas teachers they have. Secondary principals are also asked to indicate subject areas for their vacancies.

Embargoed until 0001 Monday 3 April 2000


Enquiries: Irene Lynch, National Manager, TeachNZ. Phone; (04) 471-6024

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Ministry of Education's Research Division has copies of the full report. They are available from Sharon Dewar. Phone (04) 473 5544 or by email from

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