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Recruitment too late for short-staffed schools

Recruitment drive too late for short-staffed schools

Any Ministry of Education moves to reduce secondary teacher shortages are a step in the right direction, but the latest proposal to help schools recruit overseas teachers is no relief for schools that will start 2003 short-staffed, PPTA president Jen McCutcheon said today.

The Ministry of Education’s teacher recruitment group Teach NZ, in a letter to principals, has expressed concern that without using the agencies secondary schools might not be able to fill vacancies for the start of 2003.

Teach NZ announced it would subsidise schools $500 per teacher to use ‘approved’ recruitment agencies to attract overseas teachers, provided the teachers were in schools by May 2, 2003.

Mrs McCutcheon said preliminary results from PPTA’s December staffing survey suggested that even if schools filled all their current vacancies over the next eight weeks, they could start 2003 up to 300 teachers short as more teachers resigned over the summer break and some schools’ rolls exceeded Ministry projections.

More worrying though was that the 134 schools surveyed to date had lost on average two teachers each in term 4. Seventy teachers had gone overseas, 95 to non teaching positions and 26 to private schools.

Mrs McCutcheon said while it was pleasing the Ministry now openly acknowledged there was a secondary supply problem and was trying to do something about it, the latest recruitment drive was unlikely to have much impact.

Schools would not confirm their rolls until early March and that left them little time to attract overseas teachers by the May 2 deadline if they needed more teachers.

“Giving schools an extra $500 to recruit overseas teachers will not increase the likelihood of overseas teachers choosing to come here,” she said.

“This recruitment push is likely to just help schools pay for teachers they are already looking for, rather than increasing the uptake.

“But it will not significantly expand the pool of people seeking jobs in New Zealand schools, or compensate for the losses of experienced teachers in areas such as technology, maths, physics, chemistry and English caused by the government’s failure to properly address this country’s underlying secondary teacher supply problems.”

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