The Council says New Zealand’s teachers are passionate, dedicated and capable, but for too long have been let down by a system that doesn’t give them the structure or the resources they need.

A report released by the ERO this month shows only a third of new teachers feel prepared for the classroom after completing their teacher training.  

Teaching Council chief executive Lesley Hoskin wants to see postgraduate qualification become the benchmark for entry to the teaching profession.

Based on a research report put together by the council in 2017, Hoskin says it became very clear that lifting entry to teaching to a postgraduate level leads to better teacher preparation.

“...a masters would allow us to ensure that there is really good knowledge of the curriculum, as well as lots of time to learn about being a teacher, the pedagogy, key relationships and things like that, with lots of experience in real-life classrooms and early childhood centres,” Hoskin says.

While New Zealand is in the grips of a teacher shortage, it hardly seems appropriate to be demanding more from entrants to the field, and Hoskin notes this is commonly used as a reason to stick with the status quo.

But she argues as teachers are in greater supply within the primary sector, now would be a prime opportunity “grasp the nettle” in that area.

Hoskin says the Teaching Council, has been advising Governments for many years about the changes that are needed.

In 2017 its roadmap towards positioning teaching as a postgraduate profession also proposed greater opportunities for teachers to undertake practice-related research and lift data literacy.

Compounding ERO’s findings on teacher preparedness, a recent report from the Institute of Economic Research shows a quarter of primary teachers who started work in New Zealand between 2017 and 2022, could not pass at a basic level, the compulsory maths required of 15-year-olds in New Zealand.

The study which analysed the school qualifications of primary teachers revealed 25 per cent attempted one or more NCEA level 1 maths standards, but did not get the 14 credits required for an endorsement, the benchmark required to “pass” a subject.

It also found 58 percent fell short at level 1 science, and 14 percent did not get 14 credits in Level 1 English.

The Council argues that higher entry requirements for teaching courses will attract higher calibre candidates to the profession.

But Hoskin says, there would also need to be significant investment in the profession.

“I think to achieve what we want, which is a highly regarded teaching profession able to do the job ... salary has to be part of the conversation,” Hoskin says.

“If you want to attract people and ask them to go through a masters program, then the pay has to be equal to that.”

Hoskin also says schools must be better resourced to deliver a high-quality, coherent programme on induction and mentoring.

“Our country has got to stop cutting corners on teacher preparation (pre- and post- qualification) to fit the amount of money that’s been made available,” she adds.

The Teaching Council plans to re-test their roadmap from 2017 and update it to take account of changes in technology, impacts and learnings from COVID-19, and the latest research.

“We’ll present this to Government as a bold way to achieve the step forward we need. This is the change that people have been calling for, and no one more so than the profession itself,” Hoskin says.

“How fast we can move towards it will depend on the ability and willingness of the Government to make the necessary financial commitment.”