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Training Of Teachers Needs A Major Overhaul - NZEI Te Riu Roa

The union for early childhood and primary teachers, NZEI Te Riu Roa, says an ERO report on the training of teachers shows that the system needs a major overhaul.

The report found inconsistent quality in the training programmes and that while schools generally did a good job in supporting beginning teachers, half of primary teachers start their careers on fixed term agreements.

NZEI Te Riu Roa president Mark Potter says schools value beginning teachers and want to support them in their first two years on the job while they gain their full teacher certification.

“However, the system doesn’t do enough to incentivise the long-term employment of our newest teachers. That means too many don’t have stability of employment, which can impact on the quality of the mentoring and support they receive."

“NZEI Te Riu Roa believes that the training and employment of new teachers needs urgent change, and that schools, training institutions and new teachers themselves need to help shape a fix.”

Maihi Parkinson, a Provisionally Certified Teacher, says: “One way to support new teachers is to change the system to increase the number of permanent positions available. Too many beginning teachers are on fixed-term positions, so they’re starting their careers precariously.

"We’re also meant to be assigned a more experienced teacher as a mentor. We can’t be adequately mentored on a fixed-term contract. Something needs to be in place for new teachers to give them sense of employment security.”

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Mr Parkinson said big class sizes were also affecting how much time experienced teachers could give to mentoring.

"Experienced teachers are having to manage large classroom sizes, which diverts their attention away from supporting and mentoring beginning teachers.”

Potter noted that it was critical that any transformation is led by the profession, who are acutely aware of the challenges they face in schools and early learning services.

“We need to ensure training sustains the teaching profession. This will involve coming together with hapu, iwi and runanga to ensure that any redesign has a bicultural focus.”

“We also need to act urgently to make teacher training accessible and affordable. We welcome ERO's recommendations that paid placements and guaranteed employment for provisionally certified teachers be explored."

Notes:

In 2021 NZEI Te Riu Roa produced a discussion document that can be found here on ITE. More information on the Paid Placements Aotearoa campaign can be found here.

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