Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Slow Police Vetting Increases Teacher Crisis In Early Childhood

Slow Police vetting of people who want to work in early childhood education is aggravating the worst shortage of early childhood teachers in a decade, says the head of New Zealand’s largest education recruiters.

Stuart Birch, the chief executive of, says the slow vetting process has made worse a teacher crisis that has already contributed to ECE centres closing their doors. He is calling for more resources and a better system of Police vetting.

“We have heard from our clients that the current backlog of teachers and others waiting on Police vetting results is around 35,000. These delays are untenable when the vetting for ECE teachers is required by law.”

Across the ECE sector, unregistered teachers are a significant part of the teaching workforce. Any person working as a teacher must be vetted by the Police every three years.

“We are in this crazy situation where we have ECE centres desperate for teachers and we have teachers wanting to start work immediately,” Mr Birch says. “But because vetting results are taking so many weeks to come through, ECE centres are under impossible pressure because teachers can’t be sent out to work.”, which works with large and small ECE centres across the country, is often waiting weeks for Police checks with the oldest case dating back to 14 April 2021. In some instances, by the time the results are returned, the teacher concerned has got sick of waiting and obtained work outside the sector.

“This problem is being talked about right across the ECE sector. Frustration and despair are growing as centres struggle to get the teachers needed to meet government staffing requirements,” Mr Birch says.

Under the current system every employer must do their own checks. He says that some ECE teachers are being vetted multiple times, an incredible waste of Police resource that puts impossible pressure on the vetting system.

“The obvious long-term solution is to complete Police vetting once for each teacher, then give employers access to that information,” Mr Birch says. A similar system works effectively in UK education, allowing portability of Police vetting between one employer and another, with any updates or changes completed online.

“The current situation cannot continue but a new system will take some time to put in place. It is critical that the Police vetting team are immediately given the resources needed to clear this backlog and help ensure early childhood centres can be staffed in a way that is safe for children.”


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman'

The Guardian needed not one, but three reviews to do justice to Fennell's unsettling approach, which indicates exactly how ambiguous and controversial its message really is. More>>

Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland