The number of teachers leaving the profession remains near its lowest point for 10 years, leaving hundreds of graduates out of work.
The economic downturn and resulting uncertainty means those who have jobs are hanging on to them and some principals fear the job shortage could reverse some of the work done to attract the best and brightest to teaching.
One vacancy at a central Auckland secondary school drew more than 70 applications after Christmas, mostly from graduates. Other teachers, who entered study at a time when the Government spent millions to attract new teachers, have moved overseas after being unable to find work here. Those teaching maths, science and te reo have the best prospects of finding work.
A Ministry of Education spokesman said there was a “ready supply of teachers overall” owing to a drop in the number leaving the profession. More detail on the number of vacancies gathered in a survey in February will be published in March or April.
Robin Duff of the Post Primary Teachers’ Association said he understood about 500 newly qualified secondary teachers were without jobs last year.
New Zealand Secondary Principals’ Council chairman Allan Vester said the fact that good-quality graduates were struggling for jobs could deter the next wave of students from choosing education.
In 2009, the Government set up a $19 million teacher-bonding scheme to help overcome a shortage. Many TeachNZ scholarships have now been scrapped.