Can $24m and 1000 additional teachers fix this staffing crisis?

Gov't set to invest in a range of initiatives to support teachers and student learning affected by COVID-19.

Last week, the government unveiled plans to boost overseas and domestic teacher supply in the hope of mitigating an unprecedented international teacher shortage that is overwhelming schools across the country.

To boost overseas teacher supply, the government has planned to extend two grants: the Overseas Relocation Grant and Overseas Finders Fee. These are dedigned to compensate teachers and employers for the additional costs of immigrating or hiring abroad. In addition, new funding will establish roles in the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Teaching Council and Education Payroll Limited to speed up processing times for overseas teacher assessments. Funding is also being provided to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, so International Qualification Assessment Fees for migrant teachers can be waived.

To this last point, the New Zealand Qualifications Authority has confirmed that it will be taking applications from October 3, 2022 and that teachers who meet eligibility criteria can apply to have their overseas teaching qualifications evaluated by NZQA free of charge. 

To boost domestic teacher supply, the government has promised to increase the number of Te Huawhiti | Career Changer Scholarships available, to support people to move into teaching, and it will fund 100 places in school-embedded Initial Teacher Education schemes that allow trainee teachers to be trained in schools while studying remotely. 

Another promise has been made to expand the Beginning Teacher Vacancy Scheme (BTVS) that connects beginning and returning teachers to teaching positions in high-need schools, incentivising  them to stay in the role. 

The government is hoping that an influx of 1000 more overseas and domestic teachers will fill the workforce gaps, while other measures are put in place to lessen stress on schools in the meantime. These measures include additional funding for teaching and tutoring in schools, as well as for more targeted Māori and Pacific mentoring and additional places on Te Kura’s summer school, hundreds more overseas and domestic teachers thanks to unding for additional teaching and tutoring in schools

In total, it’s a multi-million dollar package that cannot come quickly enough.

Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti said during the announcement:

“Teacher supply has long been a priority for us. Ensuring we have more teachers is vital to ensure our kids are getting the education they need.

There is high international demand for teachers and New Zealand trained teachers are also well received internationally,” Jan Tinetti said.

“By investing a further $24m in these initiatives, we plan to deliver close to 1,000 additional teachers – we expect to recruit approximately 700 internationally and 300 domestically.

“Overseas trained teachers have always been a valued part of the workforce; they bring diversity and rich experience to our communities. It’s also the quickest way to get experienced teachers into schools, so we’ll bring in hundreds more through this package. 

“But the long-term goal is to improve the supply of domestic teachers, so we can meet demand when needed. So we are increasing the number of teachers who can train while they are placed in schools, putting more incentives in place to get beginning and returning teachers into hard-to-staff roles and expanding our successful ‘career changer’ scholarships, which are designed to encourage and enable mid-career professionals with valuable life experience to become teachers,” Jan Tinetti said.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins was more intent on boosting support for students disadvantaged by COVID:

“We know that young people have missed some crucial time in the classroom throughout the last two and a half years and we need to address the impact of that head-on.

“So we are putting $20 million towards additional teaching and tutoring services. This will include exam preparation, workshops, tutorials and homework, and one-on-one mentoring.

We know that schools are best placed to make the best decisions to target the funding where it is needed most.”

Of this, over $2 million will support programmes designed specifically for Māori and Pacific students, while $17.4 million will help year 7-13 students in schools with greater proportions of young people facing socio-economic challenges to educational achievement, which have been exacerbated by COVID-19.

“The Ministry of Education will expand existing community-led programmes across the motu that can target the specific needs of Māori and Pacific NCEA learners in their community,” Jan Tinetti said.

“Altogether, these community-led programmes will be able to help at least 2,245 year 11 to 13 Māori and Pacific learners get extra practical NCEA help during Term 4 this year.

“The Equity Index will be used to weight the rest of the funding, and schools will decide which students are offered the service, drawing on their knowledge of their own learners. The Ministry will also directly purchase additional tutoring and teaching for non-enrolled or at-risk students, to help support them to re-engage with schooling.

“In addition, 500 more Te Kura dual tuition summer school places are being added. This gives students in Years 11 and 12 more time to study over the 2022–2023 summer term to gain those all-important credits.”

“The Government has confidence that through addressing teacher supply issues and improving students’ outcomes through additional learning resources, we will be able to address some of the inequities that have been made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are committed to ensuring all our tamariki receive the supports they need to overcome obstacles in their learning,” Jan Tinetti said.

Rosie Clarke

Rosie is the managing editor here at Multimedia Pty Ltd, working across School News New Zealand and School News Australia. She has spent 10+ years in B2B journalism, and has spent some time over the last couple of years teaching as a sessional academic. Feel free to contact her at any time with editorial or magazine content enquiries.
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