Hundreds of new teachers but concerns remain

Rick Geerlofs
Rick Geerlofs
The number of overseas teachers ready to start working in New Zealand primary and secondary schools at the start of next year has now grown to more than 800.

Even so, local principals are still not convinced it is a complete solution to the New Zealand-wide teacher shortage crisis.

Ministry of Education early learning and student achievement deputy secretary Ellen MacGregor-Reid was delighted with the response to the ministry's recruitment campaign and said it was already helping to fill vacancies for the extra 850 primary and secondary teachers needed for 2019.

''With more than 800 teachers ready for interview for the 270 teaching vacancies lodged with our recruitment agents, this is an encouraging position for teacher recruitment ahead of the 2019 year.

''We are continuing to remind principals to advertise their vacancies by Friday, December 21, to be in the best possible position to fill their roles in time.''

She said 48% of the overseas teachers were primary and 52% secondary teachers.

More than 5800 applications had been received from overseas teachers, and hundreds were going through recruitment.

Of those ready to teach, 150 had accepted teaching roles - 65% at primary schools and 35% at secondary schools (73% of these roles were in shortage subjects of science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

Ms MacGregor-Reid said overseas teachers working in New Zealand schools would meet the existing New Zealand standards for teaching qualifications, registration with the Teaching Council, and immigration requirements.

They would receive induction support on cultural context and curriculum.

Kaikorai Valley College principal Rick Geerlofs was worried the teachers might not come with expertise in NCEA and would need extra support.

''It will go some way to filling some severe shortages, but we need to make the teaching profession a more attractive proposition for home-grown talent.''

Otago Primary Principals' Association chairman Chris McKinlay said it could be a short-term solution to the teacher shortage. He was sceptical the teachers would meet professional standards.

He said principals would know how effective the teachers were only when they were put in front of a class and asked to teach the curriculum in te reo.

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