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Teacher shortages worst on record

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.”

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