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PPTA, Teacher Shortages

Primary job shortages not mirrored in secondary – PPTA

PPTA logoA survey from March 2015 shows that secondary schools are finding it difficult to recruit teachers for many positions.

“The experience in secondary schools is very different from that in primary with regards to recruitment of teachers”, PPTA President Angela Roberts said.

“While many teachers in the primary sector are finding it difficult to get secure jobs, in secondary schools the number of job ads has been climbing in recent years, and it is increasingly hard to recruit teachers in the sciences, maths, technology and Te Reo Maori,” she said.

A 2014 Ministry of Education report on teacher supply noted 47% of secondary teaching jobs were re-advertised, while the figure in primary is 22%. This was an increase from 2013.

The PPTA survey also showed the proportion of teachers leaving to non-teaching jobs has been increasing in recent years.

“As teachers’ salaries have been growing at a rate slower than inflation and significantly slower than many other professions, it’s understandable that other career options look more attractive,” Roberts said.

“Secondary teachers often have qualifications and skills that are readily transferable to other areas of the workforce. It’s a real shame to be losing teachers from the profession in these crucial subjects.”

Secondary schools also report a growing trend of employing teachers in areas other than their specialist subject, and one in nine schools surveyed had to cancel classes or use distance learning to deliver a subject because a suitable teacher could not be found.

“Students at secondary schools need to be able to access specialist teachers in a wide range of subjects to enable them to prepare for life as confident, capable and productive citizens,” Roberts said. “Ensuring that teaching is an attractive career and that we recruit and retain teachers in all areas, should be a number one priority for the government,” she said.

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