Latest on NZ teacher supply for 2022

The Ministry of Education’s teacher supply update for the 2022 school year was released yesterday.

The Teacher Demand and Supply Planning Projection helps inform understanding and planning for the number of school teachers needed in classrooms, at a national level.

COVID-19 has increased the uncertainty and complexity in modelling the outlook for teacher demand and supply, says the MoE, citing factors such as: 

  • New Zealand’s border settings
  • the wider domestic economy
  • teachers’ response to the vaccine mandate.

In this year’s release, the Ministry provides two scenarios based on different retention rates for the numbers of teachers staying in the profession. This allows the Ministry to understand a range of possible outcomes and to manage the impact of COVID-19 on teacher supply.

“Whilst the impact of the recently introduced vaccine mandate is not included in the scenarios, additional analysis has been undertaken as the mandate has the potential to decrease the supply of teachers,” the Ministry said in a statement.

Demand and supply scenarios – findings

The demand for primary teachers is projected to grow marginally until 2023, before dropping year-on-year in the longer term, reports the MoE, adding that the demand for secondary teachers is still projected to grow year-on-year out to 2024.

The Ministry’s updated estimates have found that:

  • During 2022 for primary schools:
    • If COVID-19 influenced factors such as retention levels decrease and border restrictions ease there may be up to 620 more primary teachers available than needed.
    • If COVID-19 influenced factors such as retention levels stay high and border restrictions remain, there may be up to 1,710 more primary teachers available than needed..
  • During 2022 for secondary schools:
    • If COVID-19 influenced factors such as retention levels decrease and border restrictions ease, 210 more secondary teachers may be needed.
    • If COVID-19 influenced factors such as retention levels stay high and border restrictions remain, there may be up to 1,000 more secondary teachers available than needed.

Teacher Vaccine Mandate Preliminary Analysis

“While the impact of the mandate on teacher retention rates will not be fully known until after January 2022, our preliminary analysis suggests that teachers have a higher vaccination rate than the general population. This means the impact of the mandate on retention could be less than 3%.

“We have applied supplementary reductions to the scenarios to show the potential impact of the mandate on teacher supply. Using the information currently available, a 2% reduction in retention has been provided as an example:

  • For the primary sector, the scenario oversupply shifts to an under-supply (110 more teachers may be needed) at a 2% reduction in retention rate due to the mandate under the fast scenario, while the slow scenario remains in sufficient supply (980 more teachers available than needed) at the national level for 2022. The longer-term outlook in 2024 remains as a projection of sufficient of teachers at the national level.
  • For the secondary sector, at a 2% reduction in retention due to the mandate, the scenarios have supply at the national level ranging between 450 more teachers than needed (sufficient supply) and 760 more teachers needed (under supply) for 2022 and between 440 more teachers than needed (sufficient supply) and 1,280 more teachers needed (under supply) for 2024.

Workforce retention and growth

  • Our 2021 estimates show that regular teachers will remain in the profession at historic rates (93.2% secondary and 92.0% primary, up from to 89.6% secondary and 90.0% primary in 2020). This reflects a 4% (1,070) retention increase for secondary and 2.8% (1,000) retention increase for primary compared to the historic retention average of 89.2% between 2014-2019.
  • The regular teacher workforce is estimated to grow by 1,690 during 2021 to 64,330 (790 more primary teachers and 900 more secondary teachers). This is 2.7% more when compared to 2020 when 1,090 teachers joined the workforce.”

Teacher supply initiatives

“Teaching is a strong, stable, and growing profession which has always been highly regarded,” states the Ministry.

“Since December 2017, there has been a $135 million investment focussed on getting New Zealand trained teachers to return to and stay in the profession, as well as encouraging people to train as teachers, including support for career changers and a range of scholarships and grants.

“Our teacher supply initiatives focus on supporting schools to recruit the teachers they need in the areas that need it most.

“We know there continues to be an ongoing need to grow the supply teachers in certain sectors, subjects, and locations. This includes secondary and Māori medium teachers, te reo Māori, science, hard technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) teachers and, as well as teachers for certain locations.

“What we have done so far includes: 

  • Continue to subsidise teachers enrolled in Teacher Education Refresh to return to or stay in the profession (581 enrolments between 1 January – 30 September 2021).

  • Offering 867 scholarships to support people to train as teachers.

  • Expanding the Voluntary Bonding Scheme to attract new graduates to decile 2 or 3 Auckland schools and hard-to-staff roles such as te reo Māori, Māori medium, and STEM subjects, to benefit 523 teachers.

  • Supported 92 teachers into new roles, including 66 primary and 16 STEM teachers with domestic recruitment initiatives.

  • Secured a border exception for 300 qualified overseas teachers to come to New Zealand for those early learning services and schools with the greatest recruitment need.

  • Promoted teaching as career of choice through national marketing campaigns.

  • Supported 421 beginning teachers into their first roles with the National Beginning Teacher Induction Grant.

  • Supported schools hiring 126 people with a limited authority to teach with 3R National Fund Payments.”

The Ministry concludes, “While the outlook remains positive for the national supply of teachers, in the uncertain environment that COVID-19 presents, we will continue to work with the sector to offer targeted support.”

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