The Education Legislation Bill has passed its second reading in Parliament, including an amendment that allows school boards of trustees to appoint students of approved initial teacher education (ITE) programmes to paid trainee teacher positions.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says this reflects the Ministry's focus on improving the quality of Initial Teacher Education as part of the drive to strengthen the teaching profession and raise student achievement.
“Field-based ITE programmes offer an alternative pathway into teaching from traditional ones. This amendment creates a new type of position called “trainee teacher”, giving school boards the ability to appoint students on a field-based ITE programme as teachers. Appointments to field-based ITE roles, like Teach First NZ positions, will only be open to trainee teachers, not the whole teaching workforce.”
However, concerns have been raised about the move to encourage schools to employ trainee teachers.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Louise Green said it was bad enough that such positions were being created to tempt schools that were struggling with inadequate funding or teacher supply, but to potentially force them to short change their students in such a way was appalling.
“What has happened to our education system that we are even thinking about lowering the quality of the teaching our children receive? What parent would want an unqualified trainee responsible for teaching their child?” she said.
Parata says the Government became aware of the need for two more amendments after the Education Legislation Bill was introduced to the House. The Education and Science Select Committee received further submissions on the amendments from a number of organisations, and recommended the amendments be included in the Bill.
The second amendment to the bill allows for technical amendments to be made to modernise the New Zealand Council for Educational Research Act 1972. The proposed changes mainly affect the composition of the NZCER council.