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Teacher vacancies lowest for several years

More teachers and better incentives mean teacher vacancies lowest for several years

More teachers and Government action to retain teachers in the profession mean schools head into 2005 with the lowest number of teacher vacancies in recent years, says Associate Education Minister David Benson-Pope.

Latest figures show the number of actual vacancies in secondary schools, as advertised on the Education Gazette website, is currently 216 [as at 12 January 2005]. That is 18% fewer vacancies than the same time last year and 45% fewer than for the same time in 2003.

"Schools are better placed for the start of 2005 than they have been for some considerable time," said Mr Benson-Pope. "The action we have taken means there is no suggestion we have anything like the shortages of the past.

"In a workforce of some 21,600 teachers the vacancy rate is just 1%. This is an extremely pleasing result when you take into account the additional teachers that were required to cover roll growth and the fact the government has established a further 511 extra teaching positions on top of that in area and secondary schools for 2005.

“In total the government has established 1800 extra secondary teaching positions since the start of 2003. The fact that there are fewer vacancies this year despite the increased workforce shows teacher supply policies are working.

“As well as lower vacancy rates, secondary teacher loss rates are lower than they have been in the past four years. This reduction can be attributed to the package of teacher supply initiatives put in place by the government in recent years [see attached fact sheet] and the increases in teachers’ salaries.

Many of the current secondary vacancies are in subjects such as mathematics, physics, technology and te reo Maori which are traditionally difficult to fill. In September 2004, the government announced further scholarships to address these shortages. Larger cities are likely to have proportionally more vacancies than elsewhere in New Zealand.

The number of vacancies in the primary sector has also been dropping in recent years with only 137 vacancies currently advertised [as at 12 January 2005].

This year’s figure of 137 primary school vacancies compares with 197 at the beginning of 2004 (21% fewer vacancies this year) and 275 at the beginning of 2003 (44% fewer vacancies this year), says Mr Benson-Pope.

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