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Beginning teachers need support – PPTA

Media Release
7 March 2008

Beginning teachers need support – PPTA

Beginning teachers need to be supported, not attacked, PPTA president Robin Duff says.

Mr Duff is concerned about what he sees as the “constant berating” of new secondary teachers in government reports and reviews.

“There seems to be an alarming trend of just dumping on the new teachers rather than focusing on the issues”.

The focus needed to be on attracting quality teachers to the profession and this could only be achieved by ensuring teaching was seen as a viable and attractive career path, Mr Duff said.

“Presently the situation is that teachers can earn a lot more money applying their skills in other professions.
“Despite that, we have a group of people spending their time and money training to become teachers – which in itself says something about their commitment and determination. To have them constantly undermined is not good for them or the profession,” he said.

According to research carried out by Mckinsey and Company between 2006 and 2007, attracting quality candidates to teacher training was one of the main drivers behind the most successful education systems in the world.

The Mckinsey report looked at 25 of the world’s school systems and 10 of the best performers (including New Zealand) to see why they came out on top.

The report stresses the need to attract top quality candidates to the profession and suggests a good starting salary to keep them there.

“We need to make secondary teaching an attractive option and provide solid support during the early stages of their careers”, Mr Duff said.

Beginning teachers had a lot of challenges to face in their first years of teaching and working conditions were by no means perfect, he said.

“You do not become an expert overnight. Beginning teachers need a lot of guidance and support and many are not receiving that.”

Figures released by the Teachers Council, NZCER, last year showed beginning teachers were not getting their full entitlement of guidance and advice, were working more than their maximum hours and not being given formal orientation to their schools.

Beginning teachers also often found themselves teaching outside of their subject area or in tenuous employment situations, Mr Duff said.

In a bid to help improve induction processes and working conditions for beginning teachers, the PPTA’s Young and New Teachers (YANTS) network has formed a working group designed to address these issues.

“We have a lot of bright young teachers out there and we need to be supporting their efforts by providing more guidance, not attacking their capabilities.

“In a time when we are facing a shortage of secondary teachers we should be supporting those coming into the industry, not constantly criticising them,” Mr Duff said

The PPTA has a number of resources available to help support beginning teachers, including a YANTS guide for young and new secondary teachers.

More information can be found on the PPTA website at:

Information on the Mckinsey report can be found at: and


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