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Pay more to fix teaching

Embargoed until 12:05am, 5 March 2014

Pay more to fix teaching
Reward teachers based on achievement not seniority
Rate performance on broad collaborative measures
Create a clear path of career progression for teachers

Wellington (3 March) – New Zealand has made a good start towards lifting the status of teaching, but the pace of change could be sped up if pay scales were linked to performance, not seniority.

That is one of the findings of The New Zealand Initiative’s latest report Teaching Stars: Transforming the teaching profession. The policy recommendations in the report follow extensive research into why New Zealand is losing talented teachers, and how the best performing education systems in the world attract, train and retain skilled educators.

“In the private sector we don’t bat an eyelid at rewarding professionals based on achievement, yet in the teaching vocation, performance pay has long been a taboo topic,” said Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich. “It is clear that if we want the best people to teach our children, we need to recognise and reward them for the effort they put in.”

The report found performance need not focus exclusively on an NCEA pass rate, with a dollar value per head, but should include broader measures such as on-the-job learning, mentoring of junior teachers, and contributions within the school environment.

The report also recommends that New Zealand:

Create an aspirational career path – This will retain the best teachers in the system, send a signal that teaching is an aspirational career, and open up classrooms and schools so that teachers can learn from the best.
Select the best to lift quality– More can be done to address quality issues within the sector, including information gathering on teacher demand, lifting the quality of initial teacher education programmes (ITE), collecting employment data for teacher graduates, and establishing a clinical teacher education programme.
Open pathways to teaching – Establish a school-based training programme enabling schools to choose their own teachers before they even begin training.
Develop school leadership – Improve procedures for identifying potential principals, and develop more effective principal preparation programmes and ongoing professional development.

“These policy recommendations are based on the successful measures implemented by the top education jurisdictions, which have grappled with the same problems we are facing in New Zealand today,” said Rose Patterson, a research fellow at the Initiative.

The report, the final in a series of three, was written by John Morris, a former headmaster of Auckland Grammar School for 20 years, and Rose Patterson. The research was supported by the New Zealand Education and Scholarship Trust.


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