Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Teacher shortages worst on record

We stand for education.

Media Release

28 January 2002

Teacher shortages worst on record

Secondary schools will open their doors this week facing the worst teacher shortages in recent history, according to figures in the latest Education Gazette.

A total of 388 secondary vacancies appear in the first Gazette of 2003, 116 more than last year and 274 more than at the same time 10 years ago. The number equates to more than one teacher per secondary school. Some schools have as many as eight basic classroom teacher vacancies.

PPTA president Phil Smith said the figures clearly indicated the enormity of the crisis in secondary teacher recruitment and retention.

He said the decision to limit access to step 14 of the secondary pay scale to teachers with degrees and other qualifications at level 7 of the National Qualifications Framework would exacerbate the situation.

“Every seventh vacancy is in an area directly affected by the decision, such as commerce, technology and te reo Maori and shortages in those areas are only going to get worse, not better.”

Mr Smith said the government’s measures to increase staffing were positive, and the recent settlement of the collective agreement was a boost for the secondary sector.

“Unfortunately, in relation to the scale of the problem in New Zealand and the reality of the global market for secondary teachers, it is not enough to solve the staffing crisis.

“Our latest staffing survey indicates that the attraction of jobs overseas, in the private education sector and outside teaching has never been stronger.”

Mr Smith called on the Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration to be urgently convened.

“Teachers will be looking to the taskforce to think outside the square and come up with fresh ideas and long-term solutions to solve the staffing crisis in our schools. We can’t put bandages on it in the hope that it will get better in 2008.”
Please find attached a breakdown of the vacancies in the latest Education Gazette and a summary of PPTA’s supply proposals.

Breakdown of secondary teacher vacancies in the Education Gazette

GAZ 1 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
P 6 6 8 5 5 3 4 3 2 9 11
SM 11 8 10 17 8 14 4 9 16 13 12
3&4 3 7 7 13 4 8 13 9 16 13 23
1&2 31 43 43 77 59 35 34 28 66 85 85
Assistant 63 90 124 161 89 64 64 66 156 152 257
total 114 154 192 273 165 124 119 115 256 272 388

Increase over 1993 240.4%
Increase over 1994 151.9%
Increase over 1995 102.1%
Increase over 1996 42.1%
Increase over 1997 135.2%
Increase over 1998 212.9%
Increase over 1999 226.1%
Increase over 2000 237.4%
Increase over 2001 51.6%
Increase over 2002 42.6%


Ensuring an adequate supply of undergraduates.

1. Continue with the existing freeze on loan interest while studying
2. Establish financial incentives to undergraduate study in designated shortage areas.

Funding of teacher training places.
3. Fund teacher training institutions for the number of secondary places they are expected to fill regardless of uptake.
4. Fund secondary teacher places at an appropriate cost.
5. Nationally co-ordinate subject training to make efficient use of resources and maximise quality in small number subject courses.

Maximising an adequate supply of secondary teacher training candidates.
6. Set a national target of three applications per secondary teacher training place offered.
7. Address the terms and conditions of secondary teachers.
8. Pay secondary teacher trainees a training wage.
9. Remove student loan costs associated with secondary teacher training.
10. Establish a standard of four years for teacher education.
11. Promote the teaching profession.
12. Implement a media campaign which highlights the improvements in conditions, the intrinsic rewards of teaching and the social value of the profession.

Maximising the number of qualified trainees who teach after completing training.
13. Set a national target for uptake into schools over three years for each cohort.
14. Address the terms and conditions of teachers.
15. Loan interest freeze and a loan abatement scheme for all secondary teachers.

Matching subject specialists and subject needs of secondary schools
16. Implement policies to boost undergraduate numbers in critical subject areas.
17. Establish subject quota for secondary teacher training which reflect anticipated needs nationally.
18. Significant scholarships for teacher training in subject shortage areas ($20,000), payable in part after completion of the first year in schools and in full at registration.

Resolution of reticulation issues
19. Set a target for the number of schools seeking hard to staff status.
20. Address small school and low decile school workload problems through full implementation of the Staffing Review Report recommendations.
21. Further improve staffing ratios in low decile schools.
22. Extend financial support for transfers to hard to staff schools.
23. Extend definition of ‘hard to staff schools’ to include quality measures.
24. Full removal expenses into and out of staffing incentive schools.
25. Increase access to low cost accommodation in hard to staff areas.
26. Improve financial incentives to work in low decile and isolated schools.
27. Provide mortgage and rental assistance to secondary teachers in hard to staff areas.

Reducing losses of New Zealand teachers.
28. Set target loss from regular teaching force to overseas teaching jobs.
29. Reduce workload burdens on New Zealand secondary teachers.
30. Resolve student loan burdens.
31. Promote teaching as a social service and work to improve teacher morale.

Recruiting overseas teachers.
32. Set target of 0% need for overseas recruitment.
33. Improve salary rates and conditions to reflect international standards.
34. Include in the secondary and area school teachers’ agreements the overseas teacher time allowance.
35. Replace the finder’s fee with Government-funded recruitment agents working on behalf of schools.
36. Implement an aggressive advertising and recruitment campaign targeted at New Zealanders overseas based upon salary and conditions improvements and loan abatement mechanisms.
37. Increase International Relocation Grant to $10,000 for overseas recruits.

38. Set a target for the number of teachers per year retraining from other jobs.
39. Implement all of the recommendations of the Staffing Review Report with urgency.
40. Resolve teacher workload issues.
41. Integrate calls for secondary teachers to return to schools in the revised advertising campaign which highlights the resolution of workload and conditions problems.
42. Continue with funding for retraining places.
43. Continue with the 0.1 FTTE returning teacher time allowance for all returning teachers

44. Set a target of a mean of 15 relief teachers per school nationally
45. Set a target of no schools without trained and qualified relievers.
46. Boost teacher training numbers to create an excess of supply over demand.
47. Raise relief teacher rates.
48. Establish regional pools of mobile emergency relievers funded centrally.

49. Address conditions problems by implementing urgently all the recommendations of the Staffing Review Report.
50. Urgently address the G3 equivalent problem.
51. Fully address the problems of secondary teacher salary and remuneration.
52. Increase the value of management units to $5,000 to address the problem of retaining middle management teachers.
53. Establish realistic maximum class sizes.
54. Move quickly to a maximum of 20 hours class contact per week for basic scale teachers.
55. Implement time allowances for teachers approaching retirement.
56. Set annual targets for secondary teacher retention.
57. Properly resource and develop a co-ordinated framework of professional development for secondary teachers. Integrate into this a sabbatical system.
58. Actively promote secondary teaching as a valued occupation.

59. Set a target of a national average of five suitable trained and qualified New Zealand applications per advertised position.
60. Set a target of no advertised position that does not receive at least one trained and qualified applicant from within New Zealand.
61. Set high national entry requirements for secondary teacher training.
62. Properly resource and develop a co-ordinated framework of professional development for secondary teachers. Integrate into this a sabbatical system.
63. Create a deeper pool of graduates available for teacher training.
64. Create a surplus of secondary trained teachers.

65. Establish a permanent, independent system for monitoring and planning teacher supply, establishing minimum targets and advising on policy changes when targets are not met.
66. Funding for ongoing, independent research into all aspects of secondary teacher supply.

© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Review: Robbie Williams – The Heavy Entertainment Tour

The audience – already in a good humoured state of excitement after kareokeing along to the “Robbie Williams National Anthem" (a typical mix of bombast and self deprecatory nonsense) – were up and dancing to Welcome to the Heavy Entertainment tour... More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: Poet Of Many Parts

The Light and Dark in our Stuff by Mere Taito This small and beautifully presented book is Mere Taito’s inspired/inspiring first collection of poetry. The poems are lively, well crafted, the poet unafraid to call a spade a spade, to present stark differences between black and white. More>>

Stage (Financial) Challenge: Government Steps In

Education Minister Chris Hipkins today pledged to provide new opportunities for children and young people to engage in events that promote music, drama and dance. More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: A History Lesson For Silicon Valley

2017 was a turning point for how the world saw Facebook. Last year the social media giant was accused of spreading fake news, rigging the U.S. Election and Brexit vote, and gluing people to their screens... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland