Verve Article - September 2016

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Building our teaching workforce for Kiwi kids

We all remember our favourite teacher, and I think most people can think of story about a moment that teacher had an impact on their lives.

For me, it was Bob Hunt, my Japanese teacher in the 4th form at Auckland Grammar.  He was highly eccentric, but it was during his class that I remember becoming passionate about learning, for the first time.  Since that light was turned on, it has never faded.

Teachers not only impart knowledge.  They also help shape their students’ outlook and their attitude towards learning.

National wants to support Kiwi teachers, as we recognise the important role they play in our children’s lives.

Right now we have sufficient teachers overall, but they are not necessarily in the areas or subjects we need them in. So we’re investing more than $9 million over four years to address teacher supply pressures.

The Government will offer an extra 100 Teach NZ Scholarships worth $1.8 million per year for science, technology, and maths (STM) subjects, to lift the number of graduates in these areas by the end of 2017.

We know these scholarships have a proven record of quickly boosting supply in particular teaching areas.

We will also invest nearly $1 million in an Auckland programme to employ 40 new teachers through to full registration. The programme, developed with the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association, will help ensure new teacher graduates are employed in the profession and stay in the profession.

We’ve been working with principals and sector groups to find solutions to teacher shortages in any given subject.  One of these solutions is expanding both national and international recruitment options. We going to increase our investment in these recruitment campaigns from $220,000 to about $1 million, and we’re launching a new recruitment campaign focused on bringing Kiwi teachers back home.

To support our recruitment of STM teachers we’re going to invest in promoting teaching as a career to tertiary STM students. This will begin now, so that people finishing their qualifications this year can consider it as one of their options.

Ensuring every child gets a good education is one of the most important things National can do to raise living standards, and build a more competitive and productive economy.  And more broadly, education is the key to social mobility.  Every Kiwi boy or girl, no matter what their background, must be given the opportunity to learn from great teachers.