Policy: Changes to initial teacher education

June 2017

 

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In the lead up to this year’s Budget, Education Minister Nikki Kaye announced a number of changes affecting initial teacher education (ITE) that are aimed to improve the supply and quality of teachers.

The changes include:

  • funding for 90 more places for Teach First NZ
  • the creation of a new induction and mentoring programme to help provisionally registered teachers become fully registered
  • an agreement to lift the moratorium on new teacher education programmes in January 2018.

Teach First NZ funding

ten dollar billAn extra $5.2 million of operating funding over the next four years has been allocated to expand teacher education programme Teach First NZ, providing places for a further 90 participants.

“Ensuring we have high quality teachers across all subjects is hugely important to us. Teach First NZ is great for recruiting high quality graduates in subjects that at the moment are harder to staff, such as maths, science and technology.”

Teach First NZ is an employment-based initial teacher education (ITE) programme that has been operating as a pilot since 2013. Teacher trainees are employed by schools as teachers while undertaking their teaching qualification.

To date, 42 per cent of Teach First NZ graduates teach maths, science or technology, and all of them teach in schools with some of the biggest achievement challenges. They have directly served 14,000 New Zealand students, including 4,000 Māori and Pasifika.

The funding will provide two further cohorts of 45 participants each, starting in 2018. The emphasis continues to be on STM subjects, and graduates will be trained to teach in schools with a high proportion of Māori and Pasifika students, and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds.

New programme to help PRTs gain full registration

The Minister also announced a commitment of $2 million for the Education Council to create a new induction and mentoring programme to support up to 700 provisionally registered teachers to become fully registered before their certificate expires. The new programme follows recommendations made by the Joint Working Group on Secondary Teacher Supply in their 2016 report.

It will be available to eligible provisionally certified teachers nearing the end of their certification. However, teachers in high demand locations that include some urban and rural areas and subjects, such as the sciences, maths, technology, te reo Māori and Māori-medium, will be prioritised.

The programme is conditional on successful approval of the qualification by the new provider, The Mind Lab by Unitec. Submission of the new qualification to NZQA and the Education Council will occur this month.

Kaye also confirmed the Education Council will be going out to tender for the provision of Teacher Education Refresher courses with the aim of reducing the costs, which may be prohibitive for some teachers working towards full certification.

Moratorium lifted

Cabinet has agreed to lift the moratorium on new teacher education programmes in January 2018. The moratorium was put in place in 2000 to gain control over the quantity and quality of initial teacher education programmes.

“Significant quality assurance has now been put in place and we are open once again to applications of good quality from innovative providers,” says Kaye.

The Minister says these new initiatives support the $9 million package of measures announced in 2016 to address teacher supply and quality.

“There is no one measure that will enable the right quality teachers to be in the right place at the right time which is why we have a range of initiatives to address supply pressures,” she says.

“Having listened to principals, the Education Council and those on the front line of recruitment, we are working to support more teachers to stay in the profession, as well as encourage more high-calibre graduates into teaching.”


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