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Survey shows serious secondary staffing shortage

Media Release
20 Nov 2007

PPTA snapshot survey shows serious secondary staffing shortage

Secondary schools are having serious troubles attracting and retaining qualified staff- a situation PPTA president Robin Duff can only see getting worse.

A staffing survey released by the PPTA shows teachers are leaving the profession for a number of reasons - including stress, health, the workload demands of NCEA, challenging students, and better paying jobs outside of teaching that utilise their subject specialties.

The survey was conducted shortly before secondary teachers voted to ratify a collective agreement that will give them three 4% pay increases over the next three years.

Mr Duff said this was a step in the right direction but warned the settlement was about maintaining real wage rates rather than moving ahead.

"Consequently the settlement is unlikely to ease the recruitment problems in secondary schools," he said.

Mr Duff said the secondary teacher recruitment problems were at least partly caused by an entrenchment clause that sees pay rates won by secondary teachers automatically passed on to primary schools, regardless of the different needs of each sector.

"Entrenchment holds down secondary teacher salary rates and leaves no margin to attract and keep the subject specialists required to deliver NCEA courses at senior secondary school level," he said.

The teacher shortage is affecting subjects across the board from English, Maths, Science and Technology to Music, Computing, Maori and Home Economics.

Schools are also having difficulties attracting heads of department and relief teachers for a number of subjects.

The email survey was carried out in response to a request from the PPTA's principals' council for more information on the teacher recruitment problems they had been experiencing within their regions.
106 schools responded and of these 11 had vacancies that they had not been able to fill for more than three terms.

Fifteen had advertised positions for which there were no applicants.

Of the 40 schools which had made appointments since February 2007 - filling 148 positions - 30 had advertised positions for which there were few applicants and a similar number had advertised positions for which there were no suitable applicants to appoint.

Of the 148 positions 34 were filled without a choice of applicant and 49 were filled from very small fields of applicants. Ten jobs were filled from fields that lacked any NZ applicants at all. 15 jobs had to be temporarily filled because no suitable permanent appointments were available.

“As long as the government remains the only one In the world which insists on a rigid pay entrenchment policy, this problem will not go away,” Mr Duff said.


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