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Secondary Teacher Survey Worrying

New Zealand secondary schools were 67, or one third, more teachers short at the start of this school year than they were last year according to the Government’s latest teacher survey, the PPTA said today.

“The annual Government teacher survey shows there were 237.9 secondary teacher vacancies on the first day of school this year compared with 170.7 last year. That’s 67 more teachers than last year, about the equivalent of one good sized urban school or two provincial schools, and frankly it’s a worry,” PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said.

“Mallard says that on average there was less than one vacancy per school. From our perspective more than two thirds of schools had at least one vacancy. One less teacher means that other teachers, also suffering under the weight of a considerable workload, are called upon to do more, increased class sizes and possibly limited options.”

“Unfortunately this is only part of the picture as well. It’s likely to get worse. The real number of secondary teachers still required in our schools won’t really be known until the March 1 roll calculations are carried out. We know the Government seriously depressed rolls last year when projections were being done and we’ve already seen the dire consequences of that in Auckland this year. This is grim.”

“Some worrying patterns have also turned up in subject areas. While subjects like the sciences and mathematics are traditionally hard to staff subjects, English never is. The fact that there were as many English teachers required as there were science teachers needed depicts the seriousness of the teacher shortage,” Mrs McCutcheon said.

“It’s also interesting that this information was released by the Government on the eve of a strike by secondary teachers. Its time for Mallard to realise there is a problem with secondary teacher recruitment and retention and he needs to help us fix it.”


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