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High Standard Of Training And Support Critical For New Teachers

A high standard of training and support for new teachers will provide a firm foundation from which both kaiako and ākonga will flourish, says Chris Abercrombie, PPTA Te Wehengarua president.

Responding to the Education Review Office’s (ERO) report on preparation and support for new teachers, released today, he said PPTA Te Wehengarua members were committed to the goal of a high standard of training. “The first few years for a secondary teacher are really exciting, and really challenging. So we need to ensure initial teacher education gives trainees the best possible preparation.

“As a professional association PPTA Te Wehengarua provides a network for beginning teachers, paid training days, and fully funded conferences just for new teachers. Once newly trained teachers arrive in schools, many of them receive great support. However, it needs to be more consistent across all schools.

“We support ERO’s recommendations for initial training education to be strengthened and for more consistency among providers. We can and we must do better.”

Kate Gainsford, chair of the Secondary Principals’ Association, says it is pleasing to hear that teachers new to the profession are enjoying teaching and see the practical benefit and effectiveness of school-based training, advice and guidance. “We have wonderful mentors in our schools who take on the responsibility of standing alongside new teachers and guiding them through the first highly challenging years. However our system does not prioritise the value of this work.

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“Mentors are paid a pittance for this crucial work – it’s about $3 an hour and heads of departments with new teachers have only one hour a week less teaching time to support their new teachers. I have the greatest admiration for teachers who take on this role. It needs to be valued more highly and we endorse ERO’s recommendations around this.”

Kate Gainsford said principals would also like to see paid placements for teacher trainees, a system introduced recently in Australia. “Paid placements would reduce both the need for teacher trainees to take time away from their studies to work, and the financial hardship when they do placements away from where they are studying. We welcome ERO’s recommendations in this regard.”

Chris Abercrombie said the ERO report reflected many concerns the Association had heard about initial teacher education in particular. “These concerns led to PPTA Te Wehengarua annual conference deciding in 2022 to set up an initial teacher education taskforce and we are working through some of the key issues.

“Of course, making the improvements that are needed will not be cheap.The Government has a responsibility to ensure our new teachers are well prepared for and have the best possible start to their careers. We owe it to our tamariki and rangatahi that they have the best trained teachers who are adequately supported in the first years of their career for the benefit and sustainability of the whole public education system.”

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