Minister of Education Erica Stanford announced almost $53 million will be delivered over four years to support the recruitment and training of teachers.

“We are being proactive in addressing the forecast future need for teachers, with recent estimates showing up to 680 more secondary teachers could be needed within the next three years,” Stanford said in a statement.

The funding will go towards more than 1000 School Onsite Training Programme (SOTP) places for aspiring teachers to train in the classroom, as well as $20,000 placement packages providing a stipend toward SOTP teachers’ living and training expenses and a tuition fees contribution.

Schools will also receive a costs contribution for each trainee teacher they work with.

“We have also listened to principals and teachers who have constantly stressed the importance of new trainees spending more time in the classroom with experienced mentors,” Stanford said.

“A recent Education Review Office Report, ‘Ready, Set, Teach’, found that teachers who spent two days or more in the classroom per week as part of their training were more prepared to enter the workforce.” 

NZEI Te Riu Roa says the funding doesn’t go far enough.

“We welcome this move towards paying people to train as teachers.

“Although $20,000 doesn’t cover the cost of living for a training teacher, this is long overdue and should be extended to everyone training, regardless of whether their pathway is in-school or university,” president Mark Potter said in a statement.

Potter has also expressed concerns around equity issues associated with an expansion of the school-based training model.

“High decile schools are more likely to have the resources to support school-based training, and these schools will then be first in line to hire newly qualified teachers,” he said.

“We want to make sure that there is equitable access to teacher training across the country, and in particular, equitable access to Māori medium training.

“A robust initiative would guarantee all schools will benefit from new teachers, not simply focus on shortages in Auckland.”

Potter also hopes sufficient resources will go into schools to support mentor teachers, so the “real costs” of training aren’t borne by already over-burdened schools

The funding package will also go towards additional Overseas Relocation Grants, supporting trained teachers to relocate to New Zealand, and 425 Overseas Finders Fees packages for schools, to assist with the costs of recruiting overseas teachers.

The remainder of the package will fund 130 places per year in the BeTTER Jobs Programme that matches beginning and returning teachers to schools facing recruitment or retention challenges, and 670 Study Awards and support grants for current teachers, for professional learning and development.