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Acknowledgements

We acknowledge and thank all the new teachers, their principals, school leaders, and mentors who shared their experiences and views with us through interviews and surveys. Thank you for giving your time and sharing your stories so that others may benefit from your successes and challenges.

We acknowledge the considerable support and expertise of the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand throughout each phase of this project.

We appreciate the support of staff in the government agencies we worked with during the project. We thank the staff from the Social Wellbeing Agency who provided us with data and analysis in a timely and comprehensive manner. We also thank staff at the Ministry of Education, Tertiary Education Commission, and the New Zealand Qualification Authority.

We thank those who provided insights and information to inform our understandings.  We also thank those who reviewed drafts and provided feedback.

Executive summary

Teachers are the most important influence on student outcomes in schools. To achieve the government’s ambition to raise student achievement, it is critical that our teaching workforce is well prepared and supported. ERO looked at how well prepared and supported our new teachers are.

ERO looked at the pathways new teachers take into teaching, and the support available for them in their first two years on the job. We heard from new teachers, as well as the principals and mentor teachers who employ and support them. We wanted find out how well prepared and supported new teachers are.

How prepared are our new teachers?

Finding 1: Nearly all new teachers enjoy teaching.

Ninety-three percent of new teachers report they enjoy teaching.

Finding 2: Nearly two thirds (60 percent) of principals report their new teachers are unprepared.

Despite being passionate about teaching, nearly half (49 percent) of new teachers report being unprepared when they started teaching. Less than a third (29 percent) report being prepared.

Many people start in new roles or professions not feeling totally prepared, but it is concerning that only one in five principals report their new teachers are prepared for the role.

New teachers are responsible for their classes and need to be able to manage different aspects of the classroom when they start teaching, so how prepared they are matters for student outcomes.

Finding 3: New teachers and principals agree new teachers are well prepared in some areas, but are least prepared in four key areas of professional practice.

New teachers need to be prepared in a range of teaching practices. While they report being prepared in their professional knowledge of teaching strategies, working with teachers, planning lessons, and creating an engaging environment, they are least prepared for:

  • managing challenging behaviour (35 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • working with parents (27 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • adapting teaching to different students (25 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • using assessments (particularly in primary where 32 percent of new primary teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching).

This is very concerning, given the level of behaviour issues in our classrooms, and the need to increase the use of assessment.

Finding 4: Primary school teachers have to teach many subjects, but new primary school teachers report not being prepared to teach all subjects when they start teaching.

While they report being prepared to teach English, health and physical education, and the arts, they are less prepared to teach in five subject areas. In their first term:

  • forty-nine percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach languages
  • thirty-eight percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach technology
  • thirty-two percent report being unprepared to teach science
  • thirty percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach te reo Māori
  • twenty-four percent report being unprepared to teach maths.

What are new teachers’ pathways into teaching?

Finding 5: Over a quarter of new teachers find their initial teacher education ineffective.

Although half of new teachers (50 percent) reported they found their initial teacher education (ITE) effective, over a quarter (28 percent) described it as ineffective. Those who found it ineffective also report being unprepared for teaching.

Finding 6: Qualification type does not make a difference to how prepared new teachers are. But there is a significant difference in new teachers’ preparedness based on where they studied.

For graduates from universities, there is a range in how prepared they were. University graduates’ overall preparedness ranges from 20 percent to 34 percent prepared overall.

University graduates’ capability in their first term for different practice areas also varies significantly. For example, 51 percent of graduates from one university report being capable to manage behaviour in their first term, but only 39 percent of graduates from another university reported they were.

Finding 7: Graduates from non-university providers are twice as likely to report being prepared.

Graduates from non-university providers (including wānanga, Polytechnics/Institutes of Technology and Private Training Establishments) report being more prepared than those from universities. Overall, 26 percent of university graduates overall felt prepared, compared to 54 percent of non-university graduates.

Finding 8: New teachers who receive more time in the classroom during their teacher education report being more prepared.

School placements while studying provide student teachers opportunities to observe real classroom situations, and gradually take charge of teaching with close support and feedback. We found:

  • new teachers who spend two or more days per week in schools report being more prepared in their first term teaching
  • many new teachers face logistic or financial challenges completing their school placements, as they often have to move away from where they are studying.

What are the characteristics that support new teachers?

Finding 9: Older new teachers report being more prepared to work with parents and whānau, and manage behaviour.

  • Just over half (51 percent) of older new teachers report being prepared to manage behaviour in their first term, compared to 42 percent of younger new teachers.
  • Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of new teachers who are 36 years old or older report being prepared to work with parents and whānau in their first term teaching. Only two-fifths (40 percent) of younger new teachers report being prepared to do this.

Finding 10: Māori new teachers report being more prepared in several key areas. They are also one and a half times as likely to stay in the profession.

Key differences for Māori new teachers are set out below.

  • Fifty-nine percent of Māori new teachers report being capable managing behaviour in their first term, compared to 42 percent of non-Māori new teachers.
  • Eighty-two percent of Māori new teachers report being capable giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi, compared to 56 percent of non-Māori new teachers.
  • Māori new teachers are more likely to stay in teaching for five years or longer.

Finding 11: Teachers who achieved an excellence endorsement in NCEA Level 3 are twice as likely to stay in teaching. 

New teachers are high achievers, and this matters.

  • Ten percent of new teachers achieve NCEA Level 3 with an excellence endorsement. This is almost double the proportion of school leavers overall (6 percent).
  • Teachers who achieved Excellence in NCEA Level 3 are twice as likely to stay in teaching for five years or longer.

What supports on-the-job learning?

Finding 12: New teachers often lack job security. One in three new teachers are employed on fixed term employment agreements. In primary schools this is half of new teachers.

  • Thirty-three percent of new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements.
  • Forty-nine percent of primary school new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements.
  • New teachers on fixed term employment agreements may have limited experiences of support, and lack stability of employment.

Finding 13: When they start their first job, most new teachers receive an induction. Not all inductions are good, and new teachers in schools in low socioeconomic communities are less likely to receive an induction.

  • Ninety-eight percent of new teachers in schools in high socioeconomic areas receive an induction, compared to 90 percent in low socioeconomic areas.
  • Fifty-four percent of new teachers find their introduction to school policies as part of their induction effective, but 17 percent of new teachers find their induction ineffective.

Finding 14: New teachers receive a large range of support.

Schools invest in supporting their new teachers. More than 90 percent of new teachers receive mentor meetings, have their teaching observed, and have time to reflect on their teaching.

Finding 15: Support for new teachers matters for their wellbeing, and intentions to stay in the role.

New teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are two times more likely to see themselves in teaching for the next five years.

Finding 16: New teachers need to have more time observing other teachers (in their own or other schools).

  • Only 37 percent of new teachers observe teachers in other schools.
  • This is concerning, given we found observing other teachers (alongside having time to reflect on their own teaching) makes the biggest difference in new teachers’ reported capability.
  • New teachers who observe others are two times more likely to say they feel capable overall.

Finding 17: New teachers learn quickly on the job, but after two years, not all new teachers are confident in their practice.

Teachers develop their capability through their first two years’ teaching.

  • Managing behaviour and working with parents and whānau are areas where new teachers reported the biggest improvement in confidence from the first term of teaching. However, after two years, one in 10 new teachers report they are still not capable in these areas.
  • In primary schools, after one year in the job, teachers’ confidence improves in all subjects, but:
    • nine percent are still not confident in teaching maths
    • thirteen percent are not confident in teaching science
    • fifteen percent are not confident in teaching technology.

What do we need to do?

Based on these 17 key findings, ERO has identified three areas that require action to help ensure new teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand’s English-medium schools are set up to succeed.

  • Action Area 1: Attract new teachers who are most likely to have the skills and characteristics to succeed in teaching.
  • Action Area 2: Strengthen ITE programmes, focusing on the areas new teachers are least prepared.
  • Action Area 3: Provide more structured support for new teachers in their first two years.

Conclusion

New teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand have a big influence on student outcomes. Ensuring they are set up to succeed is critical for them, their students, and the teaching profession. New teachers would benefit from stronger initial teacher education programmes and more structured support in their first two years teaching.

ERO’s recommendations are designed to better prepare and support new teachers as they enter the profession.

About this report

Teachers have one of the biggest influences on students’ outcomes. Ensuring that teachers are well set up to begin their career is important for them, their students, and for the teaching profession. New teachers require a good grounding in what works for teaching and learning, an opportunity to apply this in practical contexts, and support to develop and grow.

This report looks at the pathways aspiring teachers take to begin their journey in schools, how this helps them be prepared, and how they are supported to grow and improve in their first two years of teaching. By looking at their experiences and drawing on evidence from research, we can learn how we can better prepare and support new teachers.

This evaluation was commissioned by the Chief Review Officer, in partnership with the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (the Teaching Council).

The Teaching Council is the professional body for teachers in early childhood education, primary, and secondary schooling. They promote the quality of teaching practice by registering teachers, setting and maintaining professional standards, and ensuring teachers are competent and fit to practice. ERO worked in partnership with the Teaching Council, who provided advice and guidance throughout this project.

The Education Review Office (ERO) is responsible for reviewing and reporting on the performance of early learning services, schools, and kura. As part of this role, ERO looks at how the education system supports schools to provide quality education for Aotearoa New Zealand’s learners. ERO last reviewed new teachers’ preparation and confidence to teach in 2017.

New teachers are sometimes described as ‘Beginning teachers’ or ‘PCTs’ (Provisionally Certificated Teachers). In this report, we use ‘new teachers’ to describe teachers who did their initial teacher education in Aotearoa New Zealand, and are in their first two years of teaching.

Many of the new teachers in this report studied during the Covid-19 pandemic, and were graduates from initial teacher education programmes approved under the previous Initial Teacher Education Programme Approval Requirements (updated in 2019).

This report describes what we found about pathways and supports for new teachers as they move into the role and in their first two years. We highlight the experiences of teachers, as well as the experiences of mentor teachers and principals who employ new teachers at their schools. We describe what pathways and supports look like, the impact these have on new teachers’ preparedness when they first start teaching, and their capability while in the role. We also suggest areas for improvement regarding pathways and support.

What we looked at

This evaluation looked at pathways and supports for new teachers in their first two years in the profession. We wanted to answer the question:

  • How do we ensure that new teachers are set up to succeed?

To deliver on this, we designed an evaluation to answer four key questions about new teachers.

  • How prepared do new teachers report being when they start to teach?
  • How do pathways into teaching impact how teachers report their preparedness?
  • How does their reported capability improve on the job?
  • What support on the job has the most impact on improving teachers’ reported capabilities?

We looked at aspects of professional practice and teachers’ subject expertise.

Where we looked

This report focuses on teachers who hold a Provisional Practising Certificate and are in their first two years of teaching at a school. In this period, they receive an induction and mentoring programme within their school. We looked at new teachers across Aotearoa New Zealand English-medium state and state‑integrated primary, intermediate, and secondary schools.

How we found out about pathways and supports for new teachers

We have taken a mixed-methods approach to deliver breadth and depth in this evaluation. We built our understanding of pathways and supports for new teachers through:

  • a survey of 751 new teachers – nearly 10 percent of all Provisionally Certificated Teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand, and representative of their ethnicity, gender, and schools
  • a survey of 278 principals at schools that employ new teachers – 12 percent of schools, and representative of schools
  • interviews with 23 new teachers from different school settings, school leaders from four schools, and four mentor teachers
  • data from the Ministry of Education, the Teaching Council, and StatsNZ’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)
  • a literature review of the local and international evidence around pathways and support that prepare new teachers
  • interviews with experts at the Teaching Council and the Ministry of Education.

When we discuss how prepared, capable and confident new teachers are, we draw on the reports of new teachers themselves, as well as school principals. Throughout this report, we focus on new teachers in English-medium state and state-integrated schools.

Report structure

This report is divided into seven parts.

  • Part 1 sets out the process to become a new teacher. We explain the pathways into teaching, and the systems and processes that support new teachers. We look at what has changed, and how Aotearoa New Zealand compares to other countries.
  • Part 2 describes who our new teachers are, and the pathways they take into teaching. We look at what we mean by ‘new teachers’, and what this group looks like compared to the overall teacher workforce. We cover the qualifications they complete, where they study, their experiences of Professional Experience Placement (placement), and the broader life experiences they bring to the role.
  • Part 3 focuses on how well-prepared new teachers report being overall, as well as for individual components of practice. We also explore what makes a difference in how prepared new teachers are.
  • Part 4 sets out how well new teachers are supported in their first two years. We share their experiences through finding a job, induction, and the ongoing supports they receive. We explore which supports make the biggest difference to teachers’ capability and confidence, and their thoughts about staying in the profession.
  • Part 5 describes how well teachers learn on the job, from when they start as teachers, through their first two years of employment.
  • Part 6 focuses on how things are for Māori new teachers. We describe their pathways, reported preparedness, and support they receive.
  • Part 7 sets out our key findings and recommendations for action.

Part 1: What is the process to become a new teacher?

Aotearoa New Zealand needs good teachers to enable all students to achieve. Teaching is a profession that needs a high level of skill to do well. As our population grows and the teaching workforce ages, demand for new teachers is high. It is therefore important that every school has well-qualified, diverse, and competent teachers to ensure students have the best possible learning outcomes.

To become a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand, prospective teachers undertake Initial Teacher Education (ITE) and gain a teaching qualification through an approved provider. A wide range of programmes, providers, and qualifications are available.

After registering to become a new teacher, they are issued a Provisional Practising Certificate. During this provisional period they receive a range of support and are expected to progress towards demonstrating the Standards for the Teaching Profession.

The Standards for the Teaching Profession| Ngā Paerewa are made up of six standards that describe what high quality teaching practice looks like. The Standards is issued by the Teaching Council and apply to all teachers. Teachers need to demonstrate they meet the Standards to be certificated by the Teaching Council to teach.

This section sets out:

  • why ERO focused on new teachers
  • how you become a new teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • the systems and supports for new teachers
  • how Aotearoa New Zealand compares to other countries’ teacher education pathways
  • what we mean by being ‘prepared to teach’.

1) Why has ERO focused on new teachers?

The teaching role is complex.

The teaching role in schools is complex, and there are many demands on teachers. Teachers need to be able to draw on their professional knowledge of teaching strategies to plan and deliver lessons in a way that engages students. They need to use what they know about learners, including from assessment, understanding of their parents and culture, and knowing about any disabilities or impairments, to adapt the way they apply these strategies. Alongside this, teachers have to manage classroom behaviour, work with parents and whānau, and other school staff.

We have a significant need to strengthen the quality of teaching in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Student achievement in Aotearoa New Zealand is a concern. Recent PISA results show an overall downward trend in student achievement in maths, reading and science since 2006.(1) Aotearoa New Zealand’s national performance monitoring study (the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement, NMSSA) also shows declining achievement in English,(2) but no significant changes in maths(3) or science.(4)

Although NMSSA shows achievement staying steady for maths and science, and most Year 4 students are achieving at or above the curriculum level, significantly fewer Year 8 students achieve at the expected level (42 percent in maths, and only 20 percent in science).

Around one in 10 children in Aotearoa New Zealand are disabled. Unfortunately, ERO found in 2022 that over half of school teachers lack confidence in teaching disabled learners.(5) A recent ERO report also shows disruptive behaviour in classrooms is increasing, and this has a negative impact on students’ learning.(6) Ensuring we have teachers that demonstrate effective practice is essential if we are to make the improvements needed.

We have an ageing teaching workforce, and demand for teachers will increase in the next five years.

Our teaching workforce is ageing. There were 72,950 teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand primary and secondary schools in 2022. Nearly 30 percent of these teachers are 55-years-old or older.

The Ministry of Education (the Ministry) predicts that, although demand for primary teachers will decrease into 2025, demand for secondary teachers will grow. If the retention rate and intake of teachers continues to be low, there will be a shortage of up to 620 secondary school teachers. The Ministry also anticipates an ongoing need to grow supply in some subjects and in certain parts of the country(7). 

(The teacher demand and supply data has limitations in that specific areas of needs cannot be definitively identified, for example, demand and supply in different regions.)

The Government has a strong focus on improving student outcomes.

The Government’s ‘Teaching the basics brilliantly’ plan for education places a stronger focus on ensuring best practice, building off evidence, and calls for stronger rigour in classroom teaching. To do this, the Government draws on research from the last two decades, into the science of teaching and learning.(8)

The Government education plan signals a shift to a more strongly knowledge rich curriculum with learning less likely being left to chance, and places an increasing emphasis on ‘subject specific pedagogies’ rather than general pedagogical approaches.  

To deliver on this, initial teacher education needs to prepare new teachers to be at the forefront of the changes.

Teachers are the most important in-school contributor to student outcomes.

Effective and high-quality teaching has a large impact on student outcomes.(9)(10) Research has found that students starting out at a similar level of achievement could be as many as 53 percentiles apart after three years, depending on the capabilities of their teacher.(11)

There is increasing international evidence about what effective preparation for teaching involves. New teachers learn from observing high quality teaching, receiving frequent and useful feedback, and interacting with a collaborative teaching community. For some, the quality of their placement experience makes the difference between passing and failing a course,(12) and their future success as teachers.

Initial teacher education alone cannot make the transformation to teaching and learning we need, to see the improvements we want. It is important that all parts of the education system work effectively to deliver a high-quality teaching workforce, and high-quality teaching and learning in our classrooms. Ensuring new teachers are confident and well-equipped to teach is an important contributing component to this.

2) How do you become a new teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand?

There are four steps to becoming a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Teachers must complete an ITE qualification before they can register as a teacher. They then complete a two-year programme of induction and mentoring, before being eligible for full certification as a teacher.

a)  What are the components of ITE?

There are 87 different ITE programmes, available from 25 approved providers.(13) These providers include universities, institutes of technology, polytechnics, wānanga, and private training establishments. The full list of providers is included in Appendix 2.

Providers need to meet requirements to be approved. These have recently been strengthened and development is continuing.

Standards for the Teaching Profession

The Standards for the Teaching Profession were developed by the Education Council (now the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand) in 2017 and apply to all practising teachers. They are made up of six standards that describe “the essential professional knowledge in practice and professional relationships and values required for effective teaching” to be used in any setting. The six standards are set out below.

1.    Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership: demonstrate commitment to tangata whenuatanga and Te Tiriti o Waitangi partnership in Aotearoa New Zealand.

2.    Professional learning: use inquiry, collaborative problem-solving, and professional learning to improve professional capability to impact on the learning and achievement of all learners.

3.    Professional relationships: establish and maintain professional relationships and behaviours focused on the learning and wellbeing of each learner.

4.    Learning-focused culture: develop a culture that is focused on learning, and is characterised by respect, inclusion, empathy, collaboration, and safety.

5.    Design for learning: design learning based on curriculum and pedagogical knowledge, assessment information and an understanding of each learner’s strengths, interests, needs, identities, languages, and cultures.

6.    Teaching: teach and respond to learners in a knowledgeable and adaptive way to progress their learning at an appropriate depth and pace.

The Code of Professional Responsibility sets out the standards of conduct and integrity expected of everyone in the teaching profession.

Following our report in 2017, the Teaching Council updated the requirements for ITE provision to become the Initial Teacher Education Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review Requirements (the requirements) in 2019. The requirements increased the number of days for practicum placement and changes to compulsory assessment to ensure “all newly qualified teachers [are] equipped for their first teaching role and have the skills to continue to learn and adapt their practice to meet future challenges.”(14)

The ITE requirements include:

  • candidates meeting specific entry requirements for admission into ITE, including competency in literacy and numeracy
  • development of student teachers’ capability in te reo Māori
  • a requirement of 80 days (16 weeks) in school teaching practice for one-year and two-year programmes, and 120 days (24 weeks) for three-year or longer programmes
  • graduating students must be successful in their assessment against the assessment framework. This is linked to authentic practice situations and includes 10 to 15 Key Teaching Tasks (KTTs), aligned to the Standards for the Teaching Profession, and a final Culminating Integrative Assessment(15)
  • processes for monitoring and review, national moderation, audits, and special reviews
  • authentic partnership between ITE providers and schools to deliver a programme for their student teachers. This is intended to address the gap between theory and practice.(16)

ITE providers must design their programme content to meet these requirements. Providers had until 1 January 2022 to apply for approval under these updated requirements. A programme approval panel established by the Teaching Council reviews the programme before it can be approved.

ITE graduates are expected to be able to meet the Teaching Standards, with support. The Key Teaching Tasks (KTTs) are tasks that graduating teachers are expected to be capable of carrying out on day one of a teaching job. Currently, these are developed by the ITE providers, and may vary between providers. The Teaching Council is looking to develop a set of core or compulsory KTTs. This could include specific expectations in relation to literacy and numeracy teaching, relevant for the sub-sector they will be teaching in.

ITE providers partner with schools to support new teachers’ education and development. Most commonly, the partnership is around supporting students’ practical experience in schools (or early childhood services). Some providers continue to work with their graduates as they begin their first job in schools by providing tailored professional development or networking opportunities.

Placement

Placements are blocks of time assigned to student teachers to gain teaching experience in a school to build their confidence and competence for when they begin their teaching.

Associate teachers are appointed in schools to support the learning and assessment of student teachers and there is provision in teachers’ collective employment agreement to recognise this additional work. There is no required process or accreditation to become an associate teacher, it is at the discretion of the school leader.

For each placement, they work with their associate teacher (the regular teacher for the class) to practise their skills and apply their knowledge to make links between theory and practice in real teaching contexts.

While the minimum placement duration is set out by the Teaching Council, placement can look different, depending on ITE providers and different programmes.

The impact of Covid-19

In 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Teaching Council made temporary changes to ITE requirements, including:

  • up to a 25 percent reduction of required in-school placements
  • graduates from ITE affected by a reduction in placements were eligible for an ‘enhanced induction and mentoring programme’, funded by the Ministry of Education and delivered through the University of Auckland
  • removal of the requirement for ‘blocks’ of four to six weeks of consecutive placements
  • ITE providers could apply to replace placements with ‘alternative practical experiences’ that count towards the placement requirements.

We do not know when the teachers involved in this research completed their ITE.

We estimate approximately four in five new teachers are likely to have had their ITE impacted by Covid-19. Most of these new teachers were completing Bachelor’s qualifications. This means that their placements were shortened or moved online.  This is important for how prepared new teachers reported they were as they came into teaching.

a)  What and where can new teachers study?

bhe 25 ITE providers include seven universities and 18 non-university providers, offering 87 programmes approved by the Teaching Council.(17)

Table 1: ITE qualification options

Degree Type

Length of full-time study

Aotearoa New Zealand Qualifications Framework Level

Bachelor of Education / Bachelor of Teaching

3 years

Level 7

Graduate Diploma of Teaching

1 year

Level 7

Post-graduate Diploma of Teaching

1 year

or 2-year employment-based programme (e.g. Ako Mātātupu - Teach First NZ)

Level 8

Master of Teaching and Learning

2 years

Level 9

For primary school teachers, the most common pathway into teaching is to complete a three‑year Bachelor’s degree in teaching. Other pathways are a one-year graduate diploma or post-graduate diploma, or a two-year Master’s degree. The post-graduate diploma pathway became available in 2017, and the Master’s degree for primary teaching has been available since 2014. [Education Counts]

Becoming a secondary teacher requires completing a specialist subject degree at Bachelor level or higher and then a one-year or two-year post graduate teaching qualification. There have been no enrolments in a Bachelor Degree in teaching for secondary teachers since 2019.

Some aspiring teachers study at universities or other tertiary providers like polytechnics, wānanga, or private training establishments (explained in Part 3), and undertake employment‑based(18) or field-based ITE. In employment-based ITE, aspiring teachers learn while being employed by a host school as a member of staff holding a Limited Authority to Teach: Teaching Council of New Zealand. (Limited Authority to Teach enables people without teaching qualifications to teach in positions where there is a need for specialist skills or skills in short supply. It is not a type of practising certificate nor for registered teachers or permanent employment. LAT teachers do not need to have a supervisor. )They may continue to work in the same school on completion of their ITE, as a Provisionally Certificated Teacher. In field-based ITE, the student teacher does not need to be employed at a school.

The main employment-based programme in Aotearoa New Zealand is Ako Mātātupu - Teach First NZ.(19) It provides financial assistance for those people wanting to teach who would have found it difficult financially to study full time.  

Ako Mātātupu Teach First NZ offers enrolled students an opportunity to work towards a post-Graduate Diploma in Secondary Teaching while being employed in a secondary school. The programme is two years, rather than one year like other diplomas.

c)  How does the registration and certification process work?

Provisional certification

Graduates of ITE programmes register as a teacher with the Teaching Council and apply for a Provisional Practising Certificate, allowing them to teach in a school in Aotearoa New Zealand (‘Provisionally Certificated Teachers’). They need to provide evidence of:

  • completing an approved programme
  • a commitment to the expectations in the Code of Professional Responsibility (Ngā Tikanga Matatika | The Code is a set of aspirations for professional behaviour, It reflects the expectations teachers and society place on the profession. It is binding on all teachers)
  • a commitment to practice te reo and tikanga Māori
  • a satisfactory police vet, which includes confirmation of identity.

Holding a Provisional Practising Certificate means that teachers can meet the standards for the teaching profession with support. New teachers can hold the Provisional Practising Certificate for a maximum of five years, though the induction and mentoring period is only two years.

Monitoring progress

Provisionally Certificated Teachers, their mentors, and professional leaders keep a record of progress and evidence of meeting the Standards for the Teaching Profession. The principal monitors the progress of the new teacher and, at the end of the induction and mentoring programme, professional leaders attest to their ability to meet the standards to support an application for a full practising certificate. The Teaching Council decides on issuing full practising certificates for new teachers based on the evidence and judgements supplied by the school.

3) What are the systems and supports for new teachers?

There is a range of support provided for new teachers to develop their capability for the first two years as they begin their career.

After gaining a teaching qualification, graduates apply for a teaching position, through which they complete their provisional period of two years. As Provisionally Certificated Teachers, they complete a structured programme of induction and mentoring, and if they meet the conditions, qualify for a range of supports to develop their capability towards the Standards for the Teaching Profession.(20)

(A Provisional Practising Certificate is issued or renewed for three years and designed to be held for a maximum of five years. Teachers are expected to complete induction and mentoring and gain a full practising certificate within this timeframe. Applying for a Tōmua | Provisional Practising Certificate :: Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand)

(The Teaching of Council is currently reviewing Induction and Mentoring requirements to ensure all new teachers have access to good quality programmes)

Table 2: Elements of support

Elements of support

Who provides this

What it looks like

Beginning Teacher Allowance (for classroom release time)

MOE provides to schools for each new teacher they are employing for a minimum of 0.5 full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE).

 

This allowance helps schools release new teachers from teaching duties for the equivalent of one day a week in their first year, and for a half day each week for their second year.

Release time allows new teachers to undertake a range of professional learning activities.

Induction and Mentoring programme

The school employer/professional leader should ensure a formal induction programme is available to each new teacher throughout their first two years.

This programme provides support for new teachers at the school where they work to meet the Standards.

A comprehensive induction programme includes:

·         welcoming and introducing a new teacher to the context in which they will work

·         ongoing professional development and support from a range of sources

·         access to external professional networks

·         educative mentoring.

Mentor teacher support

Mentor teachers, who are fully certificated and experienced teachers, plan and supervise an individualised learning programme with a new teacher. 

The Ministry provides a mentor teacher allowance to assigned mentors.

Teachers are assigned a mentor, usually within the new teacher’s school or from a nearby school. (If a mentor is not available at their school, for example in small schools, a fully certificated teacher from the local community.)

Mentor teachers are selected by the school leader. There is no minimum standard or accreditation for fully certificated teachers to be nominated as mentor teachers.

Mentor teachers work closely with new teachers to provide support and supervision for the duration of provisional certification.(21)

Professional learning and development

A range of internal and external providers or colleagues, driven by the Induction and Mentoring programme.

Professional learning and development is part of the induction and mentoring, includes formal and informal opportunities for:

·         observing other teachers and learners in another setting

·         discussions with other teachers such as senior staff, support staff, specialist classroom teachers or specialist education services 

·         becoming familiar with the teaching resources, records, school policies and procedures

·         going to courses and meetings inside and outside the school

·         reflecting on professional learning and applying it to teaching practice.

Other supports

 

Professional leaders and colleagues.

Professional leaders and colleagues undertake regular wellbeing check-ins of their new teachers and address any concerns raised in a timely way.

Professional leaders monitor the progress of the new teacher and examine evidence of meeting the Standards to support teachers to obtain a Full Practising Certificate.

4)  How does Aotearoa New Zealand compare to other countries?

The system to train and support new teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand is comparable to the systems in United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Japan, and Singapore in several ways. These include:

  • attracting candidates into teaching
  • setting entry requirements for entering ITE
  • ensuring quality delivery of ITE programmes
  • certifying and hiring new teachers
  • supporting new teachers
  • fully certifying new teachers
  • retaining teachers.

There are some differences on specific requirements for entering ITE and obtaining teaching certification, as well as specific provisions and structure of support. While there is some variation between the different states in Australia, and countries in the United Kingdom (UK) the areas that our system is different from other countries are:

  • entry requirements for entering ITE are higher than the UK, but lower than Singapore
  • we have a much greater number of ITE providers than Singapore, but fewer than the UK and Australia
  • we require more in-classroom practice time than Australia and Singapore, but less than the UK
  • we consider graduation from ITE as a criterion to issue provisional certification for new teachers. Some territories in Australia and Japan require additional assessments of teachers’ capability, apart from their ITE graduation, before certifying new teachers
  • there is a similar level support for new teachers, but a less structured induction and mentoring programme
  • there is a similar process to fully certify teachers, but is less strict than England. In England, new teachers can only go through induction once. If they fail induction, they are not able to move to full registration and be employed in state-run schools.

Table 3 further explains these points of differences.

Table 3: System to train and support new teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand, compared to other countries

Process

Aotearoa New Zealand

Examples from other OECD countries

Attracting applicants into teaching

1. Teach NZ scholarships are aimed at attracting teachers into specific areas where there are shortages. In 2023, these were targeted at applicants who:

·         are planning to teach Science, Technology, or Maths

·         are planning to teach in ECE or secondary schools

·         are Māori, Pasifika or planning to teach in bilingual or immersion settings

·         are from diverse ethnic backgrounds

·         have previously worked in schools, e.g. teacher aides

·         are high achieving Māori and Pacific students (the Kupe scholarships).

2. The Secondary School Onsite Training Programme is an alternative pathway to teaching for aspiring secondary teachers. It pays fees and a stipend and aims at attracting career changers into teaching.

 

UK, Australia, and Singapore use scholarships to attract the highest calibre of students in to teaching.

Government funded bursaries in the UK target teachers who have quality undergraduate or post graduate degrees.  Bursaries are higher for students who have postgraduate degrees in STEM subject or languages. There are also bursaries for undergraduate education study if the teacher also studies mathematics or physics at the same time.(22)

Australia has scholarships for high achieving school leavers, mid‑career professionals who want to transition to teaching, and people from diverse backgrounds (including first nations teachers, teachers who have English as a second language, disabled teachers, and teachers from rural, remote, and poorer communities).(23)

Singapore pays scholarships to the highest achieving school leavers, including paying to study education in overseas universities.(24)

Number of ITE providers

There are 87 different ITE programmes, available from 25 different providers.

In Singapore, all teachers complete either a diploma or degree course at the country’s National Institute of Education at Nanyang Technological University.(25)

There are 170 providers accredited to deliver ITE in the UK,(26) and 367 programmes across 48 providers in Australia.(27)

Entry requirements into ITE

To enter ITE, candidates need to attain University Entrance (UE), which includes minimum 14 credits at NCEA Level 3, 10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above for Literacy, 10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or above for Numeracy. In 2022, around half of secondary school graduates achieved UE.

Those over 20 years of age and without UE need to demonstrate to a provider’s satisfaction that they are able to study at a tertiary level.

Some ITE providers have numeracy and literacy tests in place that candidates must pass prior to entry.

In the UK, the minimum requirement is a Grade 4 in GCSE examinations in English and Maths. Additionally, those who teach students aged three to 11 need a Grade 4 in GCSE examinations in a science subject. In 2022, around three-quarters of secondary school graduates achieved Grade 4 in GCSE.(28)

In Singapore, ITE entrants are often selected from the top 30 percent of the secondary school graduating class.(29)

Professional experience  placement requirements

In New Zealand, the minimum placement required is 80 days (16 weeks) for one-year programmes and 120 days (24 weeks) for three or more-year programmes.

Australia requires 60 days (12 weeks) for one-year programme and 80 days (16 weeks) for three-year programmes.(30)

Singapore requires a minimum of 50 days (10 weeks) for one-year programmes and 110 days (22 weeks) for four-year teaching programmes.(31)

The UK requires at least 120 days (24 weeks) for one- to three-year programmes, and at least 160 days (32 weeks) for a four-year programme.(32)

Certifying new teachers

ITE providers ensure that their graduates meet the teaching standards, to award students with a teaching qualification. The Teaching Council provides Provisional Practising Certification based on this qualification.

In Japan, the Board of Education (BOE) in each province is responsible for certifying teachers. Besides their teaching qualification, the Board hires teachers through an examination process, which includes a written examination, a practical examination, and interviews. There is a one-year probation period for new teachers.(33)

In some states and territories in Australia such as in Queensland, several ITE providers complement their qualification with the Graduate Teacher Performance Assessment (GTPA). This assessment is based on the national teacher standards in an “interrelated, authentic way”. This assessment is delivered by the Higher Education Institution; it acts to set a common, established standard in teacher quality across participating institutions.(34)

Induction and mentoring

New teachers participate in a two-year school-based induction and mentoring programme before being fully certified. Induction and mentoring are designed by the school, and the Teaching Council only provides guidance. The provision of 0.2 release time is given for teachers in their first year of teaching and 0.1 release for their second year of teaching.

In Japan, the induction period is one year. The Board of Education in each prefecture, who hires new teachers, organises induction training for all new teachers. New teachers receive induction at a base institution, with one assigned supervisor.(35)

In England, the induction period is two years. Schools need to assign two roles to support new teachers. There are also organisations (called ‘appropriate bodies’) to independently quality assure the induction at schools. They ensure new teachers receive support and guidance and have regular observation and written feedback on their teaching.(36)

Obtaining a full teaching certificate

Professional leaders recommend to the Teaching Council whether teachers can be fully certificated, based on evidence from their induction period. Teachers also have to meet ‘satisfactory teaching experience’ requirements. This means they need to have an uninterrupted period of employment of two years in the previous five years.

In Australia, the requirement for full registration is generally consistent across the country, including a required number of days teaching and a portfolio of evidence of teaching capability. However, the detailed requirement varies across states or territories. For example, Victoria requires 80 teaching days over two years, while Queensland requires 200 teaching days over five years. Teachers themselves collect the portfolio of evidence and a school-based panel assessed that evidence. They recommend teachers to full registration to the relevant authority of that state or territory.(37)

In the UK, new teachers can only go through induction once. There are two formal assessments in the middle and at the end of the induction period to demonstrate they meet the Teachers’ Standards. The induction tutors and appropriate bodies oversees the formal assessments. The Teaching Regulation Agency (a central government agency) keeps records of the assessment decision. If new teachers are assessed as failing the induction, they cannot lawfully be employed as a teacher in most state-run schools.(38)

Retaining teachers

1.    The Ministry of Education supports new teachers with the BeTTER jobs programme, which matches new or returning teachers with schools experiencing recruitment or retention challenges. Teachers receive $10,000 over two years of employment and schools receive $20,000 over two years.

2.    Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) encourages teachers to teach in certain areas of need by providing them with a stipend.

In Australia, teachers receiving scholarships in ITE are bonded to the profession for the same length of time they studied.(39)

In Singapore, recipients of scholarships are bonded to the profession for a period of four to six years.(40)

5) What do we mean by ‘prepared to teach’?

When new teachers are prepared to teach, they are equipped with the essential knowledge and skills they need to be effective teachers. They can draw on this to maximise outcomes for their students.

The Teaching Council requirements for ITE programme approval state that the programme must be ‘structured in such a way, and contain such core elements, that ensures that graduates are able to demonstrate that they meet the Standards (in a supported environment)’.(41)

Research shows that new teachers’ performance in the classroom is positively linked to their feelings of preparedness. When new teachers feel prepared, this has a positive impact on a range of student outcomes including their learning motivation and involvement in class activities, achievement, and personal management skills, like efforts shown when faced with challenges.(42)

When we talk about new teachers feeling ‘prepared to teach’, we are talking about how confident new teachers are in their ability to do what is required of them as teachers. Teachers’ perception of their own preparedness is the measure used in studies such as the TALIS (2018). We break this down into their readiness in a range of professional practice areas and subject areas (illustrated in Table 4 below). We used the six standards and components of effective teaching standards from the Teaching Council’s Standards for the Teaching Profession to identify the professional practices. The curriculum also has competencies that are expected to be taught.

Table 4: Professional practice and subject knowledge areas

Professional practice areas

Subject knowledge (primary only)

1.    Professional knowledge of teaching strategies

2.    Planning lessons

3.    Adapting teaching strategies for learners

4.    Using assessments to inform teaching

5.    Managing classroom behaviour

6.    Working with parents and whānau

7.    Creating an engaging environment

8.    Working with other teachers and teacher aides

9.    Giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in teaching

1.    English

2.    Te reo Māori

3.    The arts

4.    Health and physical education

5.    Teaching languages

6.    Mathematics and statistics

7.    Science

8.    Social sciences

9.    Technology

 

Conclusion

There are several steps involved in becoming a new teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand. The key aspects include gaining a teaching qualification, completing an ITE programme at an approved provider, followed by completing a two-year provisional practice period in schools.

The ITE programme and the provisional period are designed to avoid theory and practice being separated. Both phases involve elements of assessment to ensure new teachers are competent and can meet the professional standards. New teachers continue to learn and develop their skills in teaching throughout the provisional period, and their professional leader attests to their suitability for full certification as a teacher.

New teachers’ feeling of preparedness is linked to how well they teach. New teachers’ confidence in their preparation has a positive impact on student outcomes in their class.

Part 2: Who are our new teachers, and what pathways do they take into teaching?

The teaching population in Aotearoa New Zealand is shifting, and new teachers entering the profession are different to the existing teacher workforce. Although the majority continue to be female, new teachers are more ethnically diverse and have a higher level of education.  Most new teachers complete their teaching qualification through universities and complete either a Bachelor’s degree, Graduate Diploma, post-Graduate Diploma, or a Master’s degree. Nearly all new teachers enter teaching with some prior work experience. New teachers with higher achievement, and Māori and Pacific teachers, are more likely to stay in the profession.

What we did

New teachers are a distinct group from the overall teacher workforce. We used the IDI and Ministry of Education data (Education Counts) to understand the characteristics of new teachers in schools, their pathways into the profession, and how they compare to the overall teacher workforce. This section sets out:

  • what we mean by ‘new teachers’
  • the characteristics of the new teacher workforce in schools
    1. age
    2. ethnicity
    3. gender
    4. education history and prior work experience
  • retention in teaching
  • the qualification new teachers have, and where they study
  • how much of new teachers’ ITE involves learning in classrooms
  • where new teachers start their careers.

What we found: an overview

New teachers are more ethnically diverse than the overall teaching population. New teachers are more likely to identify as Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, and other ethnicities than the overall teaching population (18 percent compared to 10 percent).

Most new teachers study at universities, and are more highly qualified than the overall teaching workforce. Eight in 10 new teachers study at universities. Most primary school teachers have a Bachelor’s degree, while most secondary teachers have post-graduate teaching qualifications.  New teachers are four times more likely to have a Master’s degree than the existing workforce.

Teachers who achieved Excellence in NCEA Level 3 are more likely to stay teaching than those who achieved NCEA Level 3 without excellence endorsement. New teachers who achieve Excellence in NCEA Level 3 are more than twice as likely to stay in teaching for at least five years.

Māori and Pacific teachers are also more likely to stay in teaching than NZ European/Pākehā teachers. Māori and Pacific new teachers are one and a half times more likely to stay in teaching for at least five years.

The number of ITE graduates has decreased. The number of graduates of primary teaching qualifications has declined since 2013, although the number of secondary teaching graduates has been steady.

New teachers have more prior work experience than existing teachers. Ninety percent of new teachers have prior work experience. Only 73 percent of the existing teaching population have work experience prior to teaching.

Most new teachers start their teaching career in large, urban schools. Seventy-six percent of new teachers start their role in large urban schools. This compares to 65 percent of existing teachers who are employed at large, urban schools. This reflects challenges rural schools can face in recruiting teachers.

In this section, we set out these findings in more detail looking at:

  • what we mean by new teachers
  • what the characteristics of new teachers are in schools
  • who is likely to stay in teaching
  • what qualifications new teachers have, and where they study
  • how much of new teachers’ ITE involves learning in classrooms
  • where new teachers start their career.

1) What do we mean by ‘new teachers’?

When we talk about ‘new teachers’ in this report, we mean teachers who:

  • were trained in Aotearoa New Zealand
  • hold a Provisional Practising Certificate
  • are completing their two-year induction and mentoring programme.

For this report, we only looked at ‘new teachers’ who teach in English-medium primary, intermediate, and secondary schools.

(Data used from the IDI includes Māori and English medium schools.)

2) What are the characteristics of new teachers in schools?

a)  Age

Seven in 10 new teachers are under 35 years old, but three in 10 are older than 35, reflecting teaching can often be a second career.

New teachers are a young cohort. Twenty-eight percent are between 20 and 24 years old and 43 percent are between 25 and 35. However, 29 percent are over 35, reflecting that many also come to teaching after a different career.

Figure 1: Age bands of new teachers(43)

Figure 1 is a graph showing the age bands of new teachers.   28% of new teachers are aged between 20 and 24 years old. 43% are aged between 25 and 34 years old. 19% are aged between 35 and 44 years old. 9% are aged between 45 and 54 years old.1% are aged between 55 and 84 years old.

b)  Ethnicity

New teachers are more ethnically diverse than the overall teaching population.

New teachers are more likely to be NZ European/ Pākehā than the country’s population as a whole (82 percent compared to 70 percent) but are more ethnically diverse than the overall teaching workforce. They are more likely to identify as Asian, Middle Eastern, Latin American, African, and other ethnicities than the existing teaching workforce (18 percent compared to 10 percent). They are just as likely to identify as Pacific (7 percent).

In ERO’s report Education for all our children: Embracing diverse ethnicities (2023),(44) a key focus area for the future was attracting more members of ethnic communities into teaching. The teaching population becoming more ethnically diverse is a positive shift for our students of diverse ethnicities.

Figure 2: Ethnicity of new teachers, existing teachers, and the working population(45)

Figure 2 is a graph showing the ethnicity of new teachers, existing teachers and the working population.   82% of new teachers are European, 12% are Māori, 7% are Pacific, and 18% are MELAA, Asian or other. 72% of existing teachers are European, 12% are Māori, 4% are Pacific and 10 % are MELAA, Asian or other.  70% of the working population is European, 15% are Māori, 7% are Pacific and 20% are MELAA, Asian or other.

(These numbers can add to more than 100 percent due to respondents’ being able to select more than one ethnicity)

c)  Gender

Slightly fewer new teachers are male.

As with all teachers, the majority of new teachers identify as female (79 percent of new teachers compared to 76 percent of the overall workforce) (see Figure 3). Slightly fewer new teachers are male compared to the overall teaching workforce (21 percent, compared to 24 percent overall), and very few identify as gender diverse. This suggests the teaching workforce is becoming more feminised, and attracting few men into teaching is a concern for the overall supply of teachers.

Figure 3: Gender of new teachers and existing teachers(46)

Figure 3 is a graph showing the gender of new teachers and existing teachers.   21% of new teachers are male and 79% of new teachers are female. 24% of existing teachers are male and 76% are female.

d)  Education and work experience

New teachers have higher secondary school attainment levels than other school leavers.

Compared to all school leavers, more new teachers:

  • achieve NCEA Level 3 qualification (75 percent new teachers, 53 percent all school leavers) (Data for all school leavers are sourced from the Ministry of Education, and has been averaged over school leavers from 2012 to 2019.)
  • achieve NCEA Level 3 with Merit endorsement (19 percent new teachers, 13 percent all school leavers)
  • achieve NCEA Level 3 with Excellence endorsement (10 percent new teachers, 6 percent all school leavers). (New teachers who completed secondary in 2004 or earlier (largely those aged 38 or older) did not study under NCEA, so the qualification they left school with is not captured here.)

Figure 4: NCEA Level 3 endorsements gained by new teachers compared to other school leavers

Figure 4 is a graph showing the Level 3 NCEA endorsements gained by new teachers, compared to other school leavers.   75% of new teachers gained NCEA level 3 compared to 53% of school levers. 19% of new teachers gained NCEA Level 3 merit compared to 13% of school levers.  And 10% gained of new teachers gained NCEA level 3 excellence compared to 6% of school levers.

Most new teachers have worked in another career prior to their ITE training.

Over 90 percent of new teachers have prior work experience before beginning to teach. Of these, nearly a quarter have more than 10 years’ work experience. In contrast, more than a quarter of existing teachers (27 percent) have no prior work experience before working as a teacher (see Figure 5). This suggests a change in pathways, with many people attracted to teaching as a second career.  

(We used the IDI to find out about prior work experience. This was calculated based off them receiving income marked as ‘wages and salary’ or ‘withholding payment’.)

(The data for prior work experience for the existing teacher workforce begins in 1999. This means if current teachers had prior work experience before 1999, it is not reflected here.)

Figure 5: Prior work experience of new teachers and the existing teacher population(47)

Figure 5 is a graph showing the prior work experience of new teachers and the existing teacher population.   6% of new teachers had no prior work experience while 94% had prior work experience. 27% of existing teachers had no work experience while 73% had prior work experience.

3) Who is likely to stay in teaching?

New teachers with higher school achievement are more likely to stay in teaching.

New teachers who achieved NCEA Level 3 with an excellence endorsement are twice as likely to stay in teaching for at least five years than teachers who did not have this endorsement.

We did not examine whether certain NCEA subjects or attainment levels lead to greater preparedness for new teachers, but school achievement is an important predictor of retention.

Māori and Pacific teachers are one and a half times more likely to stay in the profession for at least five years.

A key driver for being in the profession may be about wanting to make a difference for their communities and to ensure students get a better educational experience than past generations.(48) We heard Māori and Pacific new teachers want to say in the profession because they wanted to make an impact in educating children in their communities.

They also aspire to influence education in other capacities, such as in leadership positions.

“I'm doing something for these kids of this generation, paying it forward to my own community where I grew up.” (Pacific new teacher)

“I want to be the teacher that I didn't have.” (Pacific new teacher)

“I’ll just keep doing what I'm doing and eventually I'll get to where I want to be, which might be a leadership role.” (Māori new teacher)

5) What qualifications do new teachers have, and where do they study?

New teachers can gain a teaching qualification through a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree, Graduate Diploma, or Post-Graduate Diploma (see Table 2 in Part 1).

The number of ITE graduates has decreased.

The number of domestic graduates from primary teaching qualification fell from 2013 to 2016 (from 1925 graduates to 1470 graduates per year) and did not increase until 2020. The number of domestic graduates from secondary teaching qualifications has been steady (at around 850 graduates per year).

Both the primary and secondary schooling sectors saw a large increase in number of graduates in 2021 (1930 primary graduates and 1020 secondary graduates), due to the impacts of Covid-19, where other career choices or immigration were not options. However, from 2021 to 2022, the number of student teachers who graduated from ITE decreased for both primary and secondary school teachers.

This lower level of ITE graduates is concerning, as many current teachers are approaching retirement (29 percent of teachers were aged 55 and above in 2022)(49), and the number of school-aged children is projected to increase by nearly 5 percent by 2027.(50)

Figure 6: Number of domestic ITE graduates by teaching sector(51)

Figure 6 is a graph showing the number of domestic ITE graduates by teaching sector.  The number of domestic ITE graduates in the primary school sector were: 1, 925 in the year 2013; 1,885 in the year 2014; 1,630 in the year 2015; 1,470 in the year 2016; 1,505 in the year 2017; 1, 505 in the year 2018; 1,535 in the year 2019;1,380 in the year 2020; 1,830 in the year 2021; and 1,450 in the year 2022.  The number of domestic ITE graduates in the secondary school sector were as follows:860 in the year 2013; 880 in the year 2014; 805 in the year 2015; 765 in the year 2016; 865 in the year 2017; 875 in the year 2018; 835 in the year 2019; 820 in the year 2020; 1,020 in the year 2021; and 815 in the year 2022.

Four out of five new teachers gain their ITE qualification at a university.

Universities are the most common ITE providers for aspiring primary and secondary teachers. In 2022, 86 percent of aspiring primary teachers and 88 percent of aspiring secondary teachers enrolled at universities.

There are fewer enrolments at non-university ITE providers, such as Institutes of Technology/Polytechnics, Wānanga, and Private Training Establishments (PTEs). There are also alternative models of ITE such as employment-based learning, where aspiring teachers are employed at a school while undertaking their study at an ITE provider, but relatively few new teachers take this path.

Figure 7: Domestic ITE enrolments with different types of ITE providers in 2022(52)

Figure 7 is a graph showing the domestic ITE enrolments with different types of ITE providers in 2022.   86% of ITE primary enrolments were at universities, 3% were with Te Pūkenga, 5% wānaga and 6% with private training establishments. 88% of ITE secondary enrolments were at universities and 12% with private training establishments. There were no enrolments with Te Pūkenga and wānaga.

Primary school teachers mostly have Bachelor’s degrees, and secondary school teachers mostly have Graduate qualifications.

The majority of aspiring primary school teachers enrol in a Bachelor’s degree in teaching. In 2022, 63 percent of new primary school teachers enrolled in a Bachelor’s degree (see Figure 8). The pathways of primary teachers have stayed stable over time.

Figure 8: Domestic ITE enrolment (primary school sector) by qualification type(53)

Figure 8 is a graph showing the domestic ITE primary enrolments by qualification type.  In 2015, 63% of ITE primary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 29% were for a graduate diploma, 0% for a post graduate diploma, and 8% of enrolments were for a master’s degree.  In 2017, 66% of ITE primary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 27% were for a graduate diploma, 1% was for a post graduate diploma and 6% were for a master’s degree.  In 2019, 64% of ITE primary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 0% for a graduate diploma, 1% of enrolments were for a post graduate diploma, and 5% were for a master’s degree.  In 2022, 63% of ITE primary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 27% were for a graduate diploma, 4% were for a post graduate diploma and 7% were for a master’s degree.

The most common pathway for secondary school teachers into teaching is through a Bachelor’s degree in a subject, followed by a post-graduate teaching qualification (Graduate Diploma, post-Graduate Diploma, Master’s).

In 2022, 69 percent of secondary teachers enrolled in a Graduate Diploma course, 16 percent enrolled in a Master’s course, and 15 percent in a post-Graduate Diploma course (see Figure 9).  This reflects the nature of secondary school sector, where teachers are usually specialised in a subject area. Since 2015, there has been an increase in post-Graduate Diplomas and a decrease in Bachelor’s degrees in teaching.

“Often we see a predetermined pathway. For example, a person who had a sports science degree would train to be back as a PE teacher” (Secondary school leader)

Figure 9: Domestic ITE enrolment (secondary school sector) by qualification type(54)

Figure 9 is a graph showing the domestic ITE secondary enrolments by qualification type.  In 2015, 13% of ITE secondary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 75% were for a graduate diploma, 2% were for a post graduate diploma, and 10% of enrolments were for a master’s degree.  In 2017, 3% of ITE secondary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 79% were for a graduate diploma, 1% was for a post graduate diploma and 18% were for a master’s degree.  In 2019, 2% of ITE secondary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 81% were for a graduate diploma, 0% of enrolments were for a post graduate diploma, and 18% were for a master’s degree.  In 2022, 0% of ITE secondary enrolments were for a bachelor’s degree in teaching, 69% were for a graduate diploma, 15% were for a post graduate diploma and 16% were for a master’s degree

New teachers have a higher level of education than the existing teaching workforce.

Although relatively few teachers have a Master’s degree, this higher-level qualification is four times more common among new teachers (12 percent) than in the existing teaching workforce (3 percent). This is partly explained by increased availability of Master of Teaching qualifications. (Qualification data for the existing teacher workforce is for qualifications gained since 1994.)

5) How much of new teachers’ ITE involves learning in classrooms?

Placements help new teachers gain experience in a range of important areas.

Placements in school are an integral part of effective ITE and highly valued by student teachers as they prepare for the classroom.(55) We heard that placements help new teachers gain experience in a range of areas, such as lesson planning, cultural awareness, managing behaviour, and communicating with parents and whānau. New teachers have positive experiences with placements when they feel supported by their associate teacher and other staff at school. New teachers told us they learn on placements through having conversations and feedback from their associate teacher, other supporting staff at school, and their programme lecturers who visited them on site.

Some new teachers also told us that their ITE providers work with them around where they did their placements. For example, student teachers could change schools if issues arose, such as if the associate teacher did not support them adequately, or there were issues with challenging behaviours.

For most new teachers, placement in schools is a significant part of their ITE. The Teaching Council updated the requirements for ITE provision in 2019, and ITE providers had until 1 January 2022 to apply for approval for their programmes. Student teachers now need to have a minimum of 80 days or 16 weeks of placement in schools for one-year ITE programmes, and 120 days or 24 weeks for two-to-three-year programmes.

ERO asked new teachers how much placement time in schools they received in a year. During their ITE most new teachers spent more than six weeks doing placement in schools (74 percent). However, a concerning amount spent less than six weeks in placement (12 percent). Most of these teachers were from the cohort that graduated in ITE programmes with pre-2019 requirements. These programmes were not required to include as much practical experience as they do now.

Fifteen percent of new teachers did not fit into these categories and had a variety of experiences which were often disrupted due to Covid‑19.

Figure 10: New teachers’ school placement time

Figure 10 is a graph showing the percentage of time new teachers spend on in-school placement, as part of their ITE.  5% of new teachers have ITE that is fully delivered in school, 5% spend two to three days a week (for around 36 weeks) on school placement, 64% spend more than six weeks but less that 2-3 days a week, 12% spend less than six weeks and 15% are categorised as other.

We heard many teachers can have their placements at different schools, each offering different teaching contexts. For example, a teacher described placements in a variety of schools and community contexts, which comprised of a range of ethnicities, in classrooms with a single teacher as well as in collaborative teaching environments, and with students who have diverse learning needs.

6) Where do new teachers start their career?

Most new teachers start their teaching career in large, urban schools.

New teachers are more likely to be based in schools in major and large urban areas, compared to the existing teaching population (76 percent compared to 65 percent). New teachers are less likely to start their career at schools in rural settings compared to the existing teaching population (10 percent compared to 15 percent). This reflects the high demand for teachers in urban areas, but also the difficulties for rural schools to attract new teachers.

(Areas are classified according to the Statistical Standard for Geographic Areas 2018 (SSGA18), which include: major urban areas, with a population of 100,000 or more; large urban areas, with a population of 30,000 to 99,999; medium urban areas, with population of 10,000 to 29,999; small urban areas, with population of 1,000 to 9,999; rural settlements, with population of 200 to 999 or at least 40 dwellings and other rural.)

Figure 11: Where new teachers and the existing teaching population are based(56)

Figure 11 is a graph showing where new teachers are based when they start their career and where the overall existing teaching population are based.  76% of new teachers are based in major and large urban areas, 14% are in medium and small urban contexts and 10% are in rural contexts. 65% of existing teachers are based in major and large urban areas, 20% are in medium and small urban contexts and 15% are in rural contexts.

Conclusion

New teachers entering the profession are different to the existing teaching population. They nearly all come to teaching with a range of prior work experience and are more ethnically diverse than the overall teaching population.

There are multiple pathways to becoming a teacher in Aotearoa New Zealand. While most new teachers studied at universities, their ITE experiences are varied – they study at different providers, gain different types of qualification, study for different lengths of time and through different modes, and their school placements are organised in a variety of ways.

New teachers who achieved well in NCEA, and those who are Māori or Pacific are more likely to stay in teaching for at least five years.

New teachers are more likely to be based in major and large urban schools and are less likely to start their career at schools in rural settings. As the teaching population shifts, it is important that ITE providers and schools are aware and understand how to support new teachers in pathway towards full certification.

Part 3: How well prepared are new teachers?

Being prepared to teach is key to new teachers’ success as they begin their teaching practice.
Many new teachers report they are unprepared as they begin teaching, particularly in managing behaviour, working with parents and whānau, adapting teaching, and using assessment. Teachers working in primary school settings report being less prepared to teach STEM subjects (technology, science, and maths).

New teachers who study at different universities have different strengths. Although half of new teachers find their initial teacher education effective, over a quarter find it ineffective. New teachers who study at non-university providers come into their role more prepared, as do those who studied more in the classroom.

This section sets out what we found about how prepared new teachers are in their first term teaching in schools, and what makes a difference in how prepared they report being.

What we did

In this section, we look at how well-prepared new teachers were when they started teaching, and what can make a difference to this. In this report, we use ‘preparedness’ to talk about teachers’ and principals’ judgment of how well they could do what is required of them as teachers, in their first term teaching in schools.

This section sets out:

  • how prepared new teachers report being overall
  • how capable new teachers report being in their first term, by practice area
    1. areas new teachers report being most prepared
    2. areas new teachers report being least prepared
    3. where there are differences
  • how prepared new primary school teachers report in their first term, by subject area
    1. subject areas new teachers report being most prepared for
    2. subject areas new teachers report being least prepared for
  • what makes a difference in how capable and prepared new teachers report being
    1. age and ethnicity
    2. type of qualification
    3. where new teachers studied.

What we found: an overview

Nearly two-thirds (60 percent) of principals report their new teachers are not prepared. Half of new teachers report being unprepared when they start teaching, and only a third report being prepared.

New teachers report they were most capable in their first term in four practice areas:

  • working with teachers
  • planning lessons
  • creating an engaging environment
  • professional knowledge of teaching strategies

New teachers report they were least capable in their first term to:

  • manage behaviour
  • work with parents and whānau
  • adapt teaching
  • use assessment

Primary teachers report they are least prepared for teaching STEM, languages and te reo Māori. A quarter report being unprepared to teach maths and statistics, and one-third report being unprepared to teach science – a concern given the shift we need to achieve.

Māori new teachers report being more prepared in key areas. More Māori new teachers report being capable in their first term in several important practice areas, including managing behaviour, working with parents and whānau and giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Life experience (age) helped new teachers’ capability to work with parents and whānau and manage behaviour in their first term.

Different qualification types do not impact how prepared new teachers are. Approximately one-third of new teachers’ report being prepared overall within each of the following qualification groups: a Bachelor’s degree; Graduate diploma; and a Master’s degree.

There are significant differences in how well-prepared graduates are depending on where they studied. Graduates from non-university providers (including wānanga, Institutes of Technology/Polytechnics and Private Training Establishments) report being more prepared than those from universities overall, in key practice areas and in key subjects such as maths.

Over a quarter of new teachers find their ITE ineffective. Twenty-eight percent of new teachers report that their ITE is ineffective at preparing them for teaching. Fifty percent found it effective.

New teachers who received more time in the classroom during their teacher education are more prepared in their first term teaching. This is the most significant relationship we found. We also found barriers to student teachers undertaking placements during their education.

Placements are an important part of developing new teachers’ preparedness, but there are barriers to placement for some. These include financial and logistical barriers, and a shortage of schools able to support student teachers in some areas.

In this section, we set out these findings in more detail looking at:

  • how prepared new teachers are overall
  • how capable new teachers are in different practice areas in their first term teaching
  • how prepared new primary school teachers are for different subject areas
  • what makes a difference in how capable and prepared new teachers report being in their first term.

1) How prepared are new teachers overall?

Almost two-thirds of principals report that their new teachers are unprepared in their first term teaching in schools, and nearly half of new teachers report they were unprepared.

Nearly half (49 percent) of new teachers’ report being unprepared when starting their first term of teaching, and only 29 percent report being prepared. Almost two-thirds of principals (60 percent) report their new teachers are unprepared when they start teaching.

(We asked new teachers to tell us how prepared they felt in their first term. New teachers responding to this question may have been teaching for less than a term, or up to more than two years.)

Figure 12: New teachers’ reported preparedness in the first term: New teachers and principals

Figure 12 is a graph showing new teachers’ and principals’ thoughts about new teacher preparedness in the first term.  49% of new teachers thought they were unprepared and 60% of principals thought new teachers were unprepared.  29% of new teachers thought they were prepared and 23% of principals thought new teachers were prepared.

Principals told us some new teachers are not prepared to take full responsibility for a class when they start. Sometimes there is a mismatch in expectations between schools and others for what new teachers are expected to know on their first day in class, and what they are expected to learn during their first two years as a Provisionally Certificated Teacher.

New teachers are responsible for a class by themselves. Principals expect that teachers know how to manage different aspects of the class. In reality, they report that their schools have to spend time showing teachers the basics of teaching. Principals report that this is due to a lack of practical experience from ITE, as well as a misalignment between ITE course content and what schools are doing.

I'm going to be brutally honest. None of the teacher training is preparing our new teachers to hit the ground running to teach. (School leader)

There is an expectation from some staff in my department about what I should know. They don’t know that I didn't know certain things. And that has been tricky. (Teacher)

It is normal to not feel confident or prepared when starting a new job. However, as we will discuss in this section, there is still large variation in feelings of confidence and preparedness, based on who new teachers are, where they studied, and how much time they spent on placement.

2) How capable are new teachers in different practice areas in their first term teaching?

What are the practice areas we looked at?

New teachers work towards demonstrating the Standards for the Teaching Profession (57) by the end of their provisional practice period. These standards describe the key areas of teaching practice that teachers need to be proficient in, to attain their full practising certificate. These are:

  1. professional knowledge of teaching strategies
  2. planning lessons
  3. adapting teaching strategies for learners
  4. using assessments to inform teaching
  5. managing classroom behaviour
  6. working with parents and whānau
  7. creating an engaging environment
  8. working with other teachers and teacher aides
  9. giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi in teaching.

Having teachers capable in each of these areas is key for our young people to receive a good education. ERO asked new teachers to identify how capable they were in these areas of professional practice during their first term of teaching.

a)  Areas new teachers report being most capable in their first term of teaching

New teachers start with strong capability in teaching strategies, and report being capable to work with other teachers, plan lessons and create a good learning environment.

New teachers reported being most capable in their first term:

  • working with teachers (78 percent capable)
  • planning lessons (77 percent capable)
  • creating an engaging environment (71 percent capable)
  • professional knowledge of teaching strategies (65 percent capable).

New teachers told us they are prepared to plan lessons and in their knowledge of teaching strategies because their ITE had a strong focus on these areas. Before starting teaching, they understood the theory behind lesson planning, and had a range of teaching techniques in place. They had dedicated time to develop detailed lesson plans, which set them up well for teaching.

“We spent a lot of time doing lesson plans at uni. That sets you up well.” (New teacher)

“Having that time in college to really think about the mechanics of differentiating your teaching was really useful to me on the job now.” (New teacher)

We also asked principals to assess the capability of their new teachers in each of these areas. While principals assessed new teachers as less capable, they agreed on the four most capable areas as being:

  • creating an engaging environment (60 percent capable).
  • planning lessons (57 percent capable)
  • working with teachers (54 percent capable)
  • professional knowledge of teaching strategies (43 percent capable).

Figure 13: Practice areas with the highest reported capability: New teachers and principals

Figure 13 is a graph showing the highest reported capability according to new teachers’ and principals’.  65% of new teachers and 43% of principals thought new teachers showed highest capability in ‘professional knowledge of teaching strategies. 78% of new teachers and 54% of principals thought new teacher showed highest capability to work with other teachers.  77% of new teachers and 57% of principals thought that new teachers showed highest capability to plan lessons. 71% of new teachers and 60% of principals thought that new teachers showed highest capability to create an engaging environment.

This is similar to the findings of ERO’s 2017 evaluation of newly graduated teachers, which found that over 80 percent of new teachers felt confident in their content and pedagogical knowledge.

b)  Areas new teachers report being least capable in their first term of teaching

New teachers report being much less capable at managing behaviour, working with parents and whānau, using assessment, and adapting teaching strategies.

In their first term of teaching, new teachers report being least capable of:

  • managing challenging behaviour (35 percent not capable)
  • working with parents and whānau (27 percent not capable)
  • adapting teaching to different students (25 percent not capable)
  • using assessments (24 percent not capable).

Principals also judged teachers in their first term of teaching as least capable in the same four areas, and even less capable than the new teachers’ self-assessment.

Figure 14: Practice areas new teachers are least capable: New teachers and principals report teachers are not capable

Figure 14  is a graph showing the practice areas new teachers and principals think new teachers are least capable.  35% of new teachers and 62% of principals think new teachers are least capable to manage challenging behaviour. 24% of new teachers and 62% of principals think new teachers are least capable at using assessments. 25% of new teachers and 58% of principals think new teachers are least capable at adapting teaching. 27% of new teachers and 42% of principals think new teachers are least capable of working with parents.

These findings are consistent with ERO’s 2017 evaluation of newly graduated teachers, which found many new teachers graduated from ITE needing to substantially develop their understanding of curriculum, assessment, adapting to diverse learners and working with parents and whānau while on the job. In 2017, nearly one-third of teachers lacked confidence to use assessment data to inform their planning.

New teachers told us that they struggled in some areas due to what they lacked in ITE.

“More support around assessment and reporting. Support on how to interact with whānau, what parent teacher interviews would be like/what to talk about.” (New teacher)

“More focus on classroom and behaviour management. This was not taught or covered in my tertiary training.” (New teacher)

New teachers also told us they find the transition to being responsible for their own classroom difficult, and they encounter unexpected challenges. Examples of challenges are:

  • being unable to put into practice what they had learned in theory

“[I would like] more connection between the theory and what is actually the reality in our schools.” (New teacher)

  • the assessments used by their schools being different to those they learnt about in ITE

“I'd never seen a JAM [Junior Assessment of Mathematics] test – I had no idea what it was”. (New teacher)

  • the depth and complexity of behaviour problems.

“I wasn't prepared for how hard it will be when you have eight students with high behavioural needs.” (New teacher)

Principals told us that while new teachers may know the theories of teaching and learning, they do not have enough experience of putting theory into practice. Principals report new teachers are not prepared in areas that require more hands-on experience.

“They're not sure how to implement assessment.” (Principal)

“I don't know if they can connect the theory to the application in their [placement], but they're not getting practical elements. This is what you need when you walk through that door.” (Principal)

These four areas where new teachers are least prepared align with those of teachers in other countries. The OECD TALIS study(58) reported that nearly one-third of new teachers report a high level of need for professional development around student discipline and behaviour problems. Much of their efforts at the start of their teaching journey are focused on this area, spending less time on teaching and learning, and more time on classroom management.

Making connections between theory and practice is key for new teachers. This lack of connection between theory and practice was a strong theme identified in recent research, where Aotearoa New Zealand early career teachers “felt their ITE course was too weighted towards theory, rather than the practical aspects of teaching that they were now experiencing on the job.”(59)

New teachers being less capable to manage behaviours is particularly concerning. From ERO’s report on managing classroom behaviours, we know that disruptive behaviours in the classroom have a large impact on the experience of students, teachers, and principals. They impact on students’ ability to engage with lessons, the progress they make, and their enjoyment of school. For teachers, dealing with behaviour in the classroom consumes too much classroom time, takes a large toll on their wellbeing, and for many, impacts their desire to stay in the profession.(60)

c)  Where are there differences?

New primary school teachers report being less prepared than secondary school teachers.

In their first term, over a quarter of primary school new teachers feel prepared (27 percent). Over half of primary school new teachers report being unprepared overall (52 percent). More secondary school new teachers report being prepared (32 percent), and less than half feel unprepared (46 percent).

Figure 15: Reported preparedness in the first term: Primary and secondary new teachers

Figure 15 is a graph showing primary and secondary new teachers feelings of preparedness in the first term.  27% of primary new teachers feel prepared while 52% feel unprepared.  32% of secondary new teacher’s report feeling prepared and 46% feel unprepared.  

In particular, secondary school teachers feel more capable in:

  • using assessment
  • planning lessons
  • in their professional knowledge.

Figure 16: Practice areas where secondary new teachers report being more capable

Figure 16 is a graph showing practice areas where secondary new teachers report being more capable than primary new teachers.   59% of secondary new teacher report being capable at using assessments while 50% of primary teachers report being capable.85% of secondary teachers report being capable at planning lessons compared to 70% of primary teachers.71% of secondary teachers report being capable at professional knowledge of teaching strategies compared to 59% of primary teachers.

Secondary teachers usually focus on their specialist subjects. This could explain why primary school teachers are more likely to report they are not capable to use assessment (32 percent, compared to 16 percent of secondary teachers) or plan lessons (20 percent, compared to 8 percent of secondary teachers). Secondary teachers only need to plan and assess for their specialist subject, while primary teachers have to plan and assess across the subject areas.

New primary school teachers report being more capable in working with parents and whānau (54 percent, compared to 42 percent of new secondary school teachers). This could be because in primary school, engaging with parents and whānau is a key component. A primary teacher also teaches across subjects for one group of students, while a secondary teacher could be managing many groups of students.  

“I have to do fortnightly reports for 150 students, and personally contact every single parent about academic achievement and behaviour." (Secondary school new teacher)

3) How prepared are new primary school teachers for different subject areas?

As secondary teachers teach their specialist subjects, rather than a broad range of subjects like their primary colleagues, we did not look at subject knowledge for secondary school teachers.

Primary school teachers are generally expected to teach across the curriculum. We asked primary school new teachers how prepared they were in their knowledge of different subject content areas in their first term. The subject areas are:

  • English
  • Te reo Māori
  • the arts
  • health and physical education
  • languages
  • mathematics and statistics
  • science
  • social sciences

a)  Subjects new primary school teachers report being most prepared for

At least half of new primary school teachers report being prepared to teach English, health and PE, and the arts.

New primary school teachers report being most prepared in their knowledge of teaching:

  • English
  • health and physical education
  • the arts.

“There are lots of lectures about music and art and some are really good ones.” (New primary teacher)

Figure 17: Areas of subject knowledge where primary school new teachers report being most prepared

Figure 17 is a graph that shows the areas of subject knowledge where primary school new teachers report being most prepared. 64% of primary new teachers’ report feeling most prepared in English. 20% report being unprepared in English.   58% of primary school new teachers report being prepared in Health and PE. 22% report being unprepared in Health and PE.57% of primary school new teachers report being prepared in the arts. 23% report being unprepared in the Arts.

b)  Subjects new teachers report being least prepared for

Over a quarter of new teachers report not being prepared to teach STEM subjects (technology, science, and maths) and many feel unprepared to teach languages.

A concerning number of new primary school teachers report not being prepared to teach:

  • languages
  • technology
  • science

Figure 18: Areas of subject knowledge where primary school new teachers report being least prepared

Figure 18 is a graph showing the areas of subject knowledge where primary school new teachers report being least prepared.   26% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in Languages while 49% report not being prepared in languages. 33% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in technology while 38% report not being prepared in technology.  41% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in Science while 32% report not being prepared in Science. 46% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in Te reo Māori while 30% report not being prepared in Te Reo Māori. 46% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in Social Science while 30% report not being prepared in Social Science.  54% of primary new teachers’ report feeling prepared in Maths while 24% report not being prepared in Maths.

New primary school teachers told us they value all the subject area modules in their teacher training.

“We only spent four weeks each on reading, writing and maths. As a country, reading, writing and maths are our core things that we need to know.” (New teacher)

“We didn’t get much more than we did for literacy and maths. And that’s the key thing.” (New teacher)

Schools use different approaches to deliver the curriculum. New teachers report feeling unprepared if they have not had experience with the specific approach used by their school. 

“When you’re at a school, it’s all to do with the school. It’s so different, because it’s a totally different programme and different ways of doing and reporting and assessing.” (New teacher)

We also heard about students coming into ITE with less strength in STEM. This may be an underlying factor in why teachers feel less prepared in these areas.

4) What makes a difference in how prepared new teachers feel?

a)  Age and ethnicity

Māori new teachers report being more prepared to manage behaviour than new teachers of other ethnicities.

Māori new teachers do not report being more prepared than non-Māori new teachers overall (30 percent Māori, compared to 29 percent non-Māori). However, they report being more capable to:

  • manage behaviour (59 percent prepared compared to 42 percent non-Māori)
  • adapt teaching strategies (67 percent prepared, compared to 52 percent non-Māori)
  • work with parents and whānau (60 percent prepared, compared to 43 percent non-Māori)
  • give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi (82 percent prepared, compared to 56 percent non‑Māori)

More Māori new teachers have worked in schools or early childhood education prior to training (13 percent Māori compared to 4 percent non-Māori). Elements of Māori culture that new Māori teachers bring into their teaching might also help them manage their class and build relationship with students.

“I’m using tuakana in our class. Those that already come with knowledge teach others that are in their group. So a lot of group work.” (Māori new teacher)

New teachers aged 36 and above report being more capable of managing behaviour than younger teachers.

Over half (51 percent) of older teachers (aged 36 and above) report being capable to manage behaviour in their first term, compared to only 42 percent of younger teachers. This is likely due to the life experience older new teachers have, both in working with children and in developing greater strategies to cope in difficult situations.

In their first term, older new teachers also report being more capable at:

  • working with teachers
  • working with parents and whānau

“I was lucky in that I was 44 years old and so had had a lot of life experience and a lot of different jobs. I relied on skills I had picked up.” (New teacher)

Figure 19: Practice areas where new teachers aged 36 and above report being more prepared

Figure 19 is a graph showing the practice areas where new teachers aged 36 and above report being more prepared.   51% of new teachers over 36 years old, report being prepared to work with managing behaviour, while 42% of new teachers 35 years old or under report being prepared. 83% of new teachers over 36 years old, report being prepared to work with other teachers, while 75% of new teachers 35 years old or under report being prepared. 65% of new teachers over 36 years old, report being prepared to work with parents and whānau, while 40% of new teachers 35 years old or under report being prepared.

New teachers who previously worked with children also report being more prepared to manage behaviours.

Forty-eight percent of new teachers who have worked with children report being prepared to manage behaviour, compared to only 39 percent of those who have not worked with children. New teachers who worked with children before their ITE told us they can draw on their experiences prior to teaching when teaching at a school.

“[Prior to teaching] I worked with a family who had a child with a developmental delay. And I feel like I've got the capacity to work with kids like that.” (New teacher)

Principals value prior work experience for preparing new teachers.

Principals identify the pathways which they think best prepared new teachers. Nearly half of them (44 percent) report that teachers who worked before qualifying to be teachers are the best prepared.

Figure 20: Pathways principals say best prepare new teachers

Figure 20 is a graph showing the pathways that principals say best prepare new teachers.   44% of principals say prior work experience, best prepares new teachers. 23% of principals say going straight into teacher training, best prepares new teachers.10% of principals say completing tertiary study in another area before teacher training, best prepares new teachers.23% of principals say ‘other pathways’ best prepares new teachers.

Principals told us teachers with prior work experience cope better when they start because they better understand a work culture and workload expectations. Principals said people who had another career and now decided to turn to teaching are committed to making a difference. They highlight the need to attract people with broader work experience into teaching.

“They do handle it better and they're tougher than their 20-something compatriots.” (Mentor teacher)

“People who did university, had the safe career, and then start to think in their 40s, is this it? Is this the best way to contribute to the world? [They think] “I really wanted to make a difference” and come into education.” (School leader)

Principals also value the range of knowledge and experience that these teachers can draw on into their teaching job. For example, we heard secondary school teachers often had a degree or career in a specific subject prior to training to become a teacher in a similar field. This means they bring with them expertise in a subject area.

“They bring in a real balance of life experience.” (Principal)

However, in this study we did not find a relationship between working prior to ITE and how prepared new teachers report being in their first term of teaching.

Principals value personal characteristics like curiosity and openness, when interviewing prospective teachers.

Principals told us there are a range of factors that contribute to a new teacher’s success in the role, not just qualification type. They consider factors when selecting a new teacher, such as having a disposition to learn, which is often dependent on the individuals.

“It's the inquiry disposition that that we would be looking for most. That willingness, that openness, the vulnerability to admit what's wrong. Part of our interview, we always ask people, “what's your area for development, what are you working on?” (Principal)

b) Type of qualification

Principals value longer ITE qualifications.

Almost three-quarters of principals (73 percent) said that teachers with teaching Bachelor’s degrees are most prepared for the role. Only one in five principals (18 percent) report new teachers with graduate teaching qualifications as being best prepared for the role.

This pattern is the same for both primary and secondary schools. Seventy-seven percent of primary school principals, and 56 percent of secondary school principals report that Bachelor’s degrees best prepare new teachers. This is about how well the different ITE programmes prepare new teachers.

Figure 21: ITE programmes that help prepare new teachers: Principals

Figure 21 is a graph showing the ITE programmes that principals say helps prepare new teachers.  73% of principals say a bachelor’s degree, helps prepare new teachers. 31% of principals say an employment-based teacher training programme, helps prepare new teachers. 18% of principals say a graduate diploma helps prepare new teachers. 18% of principals say a master’s degree helps prepare new teachers. 18% of principals say a post-graduate diploma helps prepare new teachers.

Some teachers agree that shorter programmes led to them being unprepared. They described their course as short and intense. Some also talked about not having enough time for practical classroom experience during their initial study.

“I honestly think it's not realistic to learn to be a teacher in a year and only have 14 weeks in a classroom. That's ludicrous.” (New teacher)

“I don't think that this one-year thing is working at all. To be a teacher, you need well, more than one year.” (New teacher)

As the number of graduates from Master’s and employment-based programmes is small, principals may be less familiar with these graduates.

However, the type of qualification has no significant impact on how prepared new teachers are.

While principals and new teachers see the value in longer degrees, we found there is no difference in how prepared new teachers are by the types of qualifications they hold. Instead, new teachers’ reported preparedness is dependent on where and what they study.

Twenty-nine percent of both new teachers who hold a Bachelor’s degree and new teachers who have a graduate diploma report being prepared for their first term teaching in schools. For those with a Master’s degree, 33 percent report being prepared, and 27 percent of those with a post-graduate diploma report being prepared. Employment-based teacher training is excluded from this list due to sample size.

Figure 22: New teachers’ reported preparedness by qualification type

Figure 22 is a graph showing new teachers reported preparedness for teaching by qualification type.  27% of new teachers report a post-graduate diploma, helps prepare them for teaching. 29% of new teachers report a bachelor’s degree, helps prepare them for teaching. 29% of new teachers report a graduate diploma helps prepare them for teaching. 33% of new teachers report a master’s degree, helps prepare them for teaching.

c) Where new teachers studied

Different ITE providers have different strengths, and there is significant variation.

We heard from principals that there is significant variation in how prepared graduates from different ITE providers are. Our data confirms this.

Between universities, there is a significant difference in how prepared graduates are. For example, 34 percent of new teachers from one university reported they were prepared overall for teaching, compared to only 20 percent of new teachers from another university.

The following are areas where there are key differences between different university graduates.

Figure 23: New teachers’ reported capability in practice areas across different universities

Figure 23 is a graph showing differences in capability in different practice areas for new teachers from different universities. For each practice area, the graph shows the ITE provider that least prepared new teachers, and the ITE provider that most prepared new teachers.   At the university where new teachers were least capable to adapt their teaching, 47% reported they were capable to adapt teaching. At the university where new teachers were most prepared to adapt teaching, 69% reported they were capable to adapt teaching.  At the university where new teachers were least capable to work with parents, 33% reported they were capable to work with parents. At the university where new teachers were most prepared to work with parents, 54% reported they were capable to adapt teaching.   At the university where new teachers were least capable to work with teachers, 65% reported they were capable to work with teachers. At the university where new teachers were most prepared to work with teachers, 83% reported they were capable to work with teachers.  At the university where new teachers were least capable to give effect to Te Tiriti, 53% reported they were capable to give effect to Te Tiriti. At the university where new teachers were most prepared to give effect to Te Tiriti, 68% reported they were capable to give effect to Te Tiriti.  At the university where new teachers were least capable to manage classroom behaviour, 39% reported they were capable to manage classroom behaviour. At the university where new teachers were most prepared to manage classroom behaviour, 51% reported they were capable to manage classroom behaviour.

There are significant differences in how different aspects of teaching are included in ITE programmes. For example, some new teachers report that they had excellent modules on Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their programme, while others report being very unprepared. 

“Very little, to be honest, about Te Tiriti. Nothing as formalised as I would have liked.” (New teacher)

“A lot of the stuff to do with the Treaty really was massively eye opening.” (New teacher)

Over one in four teachers find their ITE ineffective.

Although half of new teachers reported they found their ITE effective (50 percent), over a quarter described it as ineffective (28 percent). This matters as those who found it ineffective more often report being unprepared for teaching.

Teachers described a range of ways to make ITE more effective and to prepare them for the reality of the job. Key themes we heard include:

  • spending more time on curriculum
  • strategies for classroom management
  • how to differentiate teaching for students with specific needs
  • better support to understand NCEA and using assessment.

“There needs to be more focus on the logistics and practicalities of being a teacher - classroom etiquette with students, what to do when something goes wrong, what contact with parents looks like, how to write reports, what good feedback for students looks like, Literacy and numeracy tools that can be used in your subject. Increase the amount of in‑school time. It really was not enough to prepare us for the life of a teacher.” (New teacher)

Teachers who study at tertiary institutions other than universities are twice as likely to report being prepared.

Eighty-eight percent of the new teachers we surveyed studied at university, and 12 percent studied at non-university providers, like wānanga, institutes of technology, and private training establishments. This is a similar proportion to the overall ITE enrolment.

Nationally, 86 percent of primary new teachers and 88 percent of secondary new teachers studied at universities, and 14 percent of primary new teachers and 12 percent of secondary new teachers enrolled with other providers in 2022.

New teachers who studied at non-university providers are twice as likely to report being prepared than teachers who gained their qualification at a university (54 percent of non‑university graduates felt prepared, compared to only 26 percent of university graduates). The difference in reported preparedness remains, even when we control for the demographics (like age or ethnicity) of the new teachers. (We used a binary regression, Odds Ratio of 3.5.)

New teachers who received their qualification from a non-university tertiary institution report being more capable in their first term in a range of areas, including:

  • working with teachers
  • planning lessons
  • professional knowledge
  • using assessments
  • managing behaviour
  • adapting teaching strategies
  • working with parents and whānau.

The biggest difference is in managing behaviour.

Figure 24: Reported capability in the first term in practice areas: Non-university and university providers

Figure 24 is a graph showing the reported capability of new teachers in the first term by practice area, comparing new teachers who completed their ITE and university, or non-university providers.  63% of non-university new teachers say they were capable to work with parents and whanau while 46% of university new teachers were capable.  71% of non-university new teachers were capable to adapt teaching strategies while 54% of university students were capable.  72% of non-university new teachers were capable to manage student behaviours while 42% of university students were capable.  73% of non-university new teachers were capable to use assessments while 52% of university students were capable.  83% of non-university new teachers were capable in their professional knowledge while 63% of university students were capable. 87% of non-university new teachers were capable to plan lessons while 76% of university students were capable. 87% of non-university new teachers were capable to work with teachers while 76% of university students were capable.

New primary teachers who studied at non-university tertiary providers also report being more prepared in their knowledge of a range of subjects. There were 34 new primary school teachers from non-university tertiary providers, and 241 new primary school teachers from university tertiary providers.

  • English
  • maths
  • social sciences
  • technology
  • science

The biggest difference is in maths.

Figure 25: Reported preparedness in subject areas: Non-university and university providers  

Figure 25 is a graph showing the reported preparedness of new teachers in subject area first term by practice area, comparing new teachers who completed their ITE and university, or non-university providers.   39% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of Language while 24% of university new teachers feel capable.  50% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of Science while 39% of university new teachers feel capable. 53% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of technology while 30% of university new teachers feel capable. 66% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of Social sciences while 43% of university new teachers feel capable. 75% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of maths while 51% of university new teachers feel capable. 84% of non-university new teachers feel capable to work in the subject area of English while 61% of university new teachers feel capable.

We did not ask school leaders or mentor teachers where their new teachers completed their ITE. We cannot comment on principal or mentor teachers’ perceptions of teacher preparedness based on where they studied.

New teachers told us university-based ITE often has a strong focus on the theory of learning, and teaching and education philosophy. While this helps build a sound pedagogical knowledge base, teachers said they find it hard to make connections between the theory and classroom practice. This is possibly because they did not have the practical experience at the time they learned the theory.

“There was a lot of emphasis in the program about inclusive education and different philosophies for it. But until I actually experienced the learners, I couldn't really respond to them.” (New teacher)

Employment-based ITE

Only nine new teachers in our sample completed an employment-based qualification.  This is where the student teacher is employed by a school while studying, unlike field-based ITE where they do not need to be employed by a school.

Of these, seven report being prepared to teach overall. They were also confident in the areas other new teachers felt less prepared, such as managing behaviour and assessment.

We heard this is because employment-based ITE ensures new teachers have more practical classroom experience.[1]

“It was more philosophy, background of teaching in New Zealand - not really practically very helpful to being a teacher.” (New teacher)

 New teachers who spent more time in classrooms are more prepared.

The longer a new teacher has spent learning in a classroom (on placement), the more they report being prepared for teaching. Only 12 percent of new teachers who had less than a six-week placement report being prepared. Forty-one percent of teachers who had two to three days per week (for approximately 36 weeks) on placement report being prepared.

Figure 26: Reported preparedness in relation to length of placement

Figure 26 is a graph showing the reported preparedness of new teachers first term by practice area, in relation to the length of time they spent in schools during their ITE. 40% of new teachers report feeling prepared when they are fully in schools. 41% of new teachers report feeling prepared when they have 2-3 days a week (for approximately 36 weeks) in-school placement. 31% of new teachers report feeling prepared when they have more than six weeks (but less than 2-3 days a week) in-school placement. 12% of new teachers report feeling prepared when they have less than have less than 6 weeks in-school placement.

New teachers’ experiences during school placements are critical to preparing them for the job. This is because placement is the closest experience to real teaching that a teacher trainee could get from their study. They told us they would prefer to have more classroom experience while training. This is in line with what we know about the importance of placement as one of the main mechanisms that link the theoretical and practical components of ITE.(61)

“I think classroom time, you can't compare or can't compete with it. It's more real.” (New teacher)

“You can do so much theory and assignments, but nothing's going to prepare you for the reality of working in a classroom than being in a classroom.” (New teacher)

Having time in the classroom is valuable in preparing new teachers because it allows them to:

  • practice teaching and being in front of children, while being supported - new teachers observe teachers in real classroom situations, and gradually take charge of teaching with close support and feedback

“I had a full week of observation before I was allowed to do anything in the classroom. Then I had one group and kept taking on more until I was in full control, which I think was a good way to scaffold”. (New teacher)

  • learn insights from real classroom practitioners - new teachers told us they learn from having conversations with students and other colleagues at the schools

“You learned from your conversations in the staff room, with the associate teacher, the learners, the support staff, the teacher aide.” (New teacher)

  • be able to experience different school contexts - this is an important factor and helps new teachers not be overwhelmed on their first job.

“If you've only had your placements in a standalone classroom, or only in an MLE (modern learning environment), then you don't really know what the expectations are.” (New teacher)

We heard from both new teachers and principals that placement is better in long blocks because it helps new teachers become immersed in the school culture. Longer placements also give new teachers the opportunity to plan long term, for a whole unit cycle, rather than for an isolated unit.

“You are planning a lesson for five weeks because that's how long your placement is, but not so much [experience] with long term planning.” (New teacher)

Placements matter but there are barriers for student teachers

Some teachers told us about financial and logistical barriers. We heard many do not have a choice about where they do placement. This means they have to travel to different areas, or arrange other accommodation and pay double rent. Student teachers with other commitments, such as work or family to take care of, also face difficulties when having to do their placements in different areas. We heard some student teachers dropped out of ITE due to not having an income during their time on placement.

“We were a cohort of 23 students, and each of us found it very hard to cope that entire year. The finance wasn't looking great for everyone.” (New teacher)

“It was impossible for me. How will I get an hour across town while still dropping my child at primary school?” (New teacher)

There are also barriers to placements, like poor communication between ITE providers and placement schools, leading to a mismatch in expectations between schools and providers. We heard teachers talk about not having visits from ITE lecturers during placements, and observations being done by the associate teachers alone.

“ITE needs to partner with a school throughout the three years to understand our challenges” (Principal)

We also heard that schools can struggle to offer placements due to limited availability of teachers to be associate teachers and other work and time pressures on schools.

We heard some courses were affected by Covid-19 and had to be moved online. Principals told us that graduates from online programmes are less prepared because they lack the face-to-face connection with peers and group reflections of their practicum experiences.

I think that our graduates who we employed who come from an online course definitely find it trickier initially and required more support initially” (Principal)

New teachers told us their placements were shortened or moved online. For many teachers, this impacts their preparedness to teach.

“I had what was meant to be a seven-week block. But then the second round of Covid hit and I missed out on some of that. I actually got hardly any time in the classroom being sole charge.” (New teacher)

“I feel like a more hands on approach would be better.” (New teacher)

“We have such variation within the schools that I think sometimes it's difficult to pin whether this [unpreparedness] is on them being a new teacher or not.” (Mentor teacher)

Conclusion

Nearly two-thirds of principals, and half of new teachers, report new teachers are unprepared for teaching in their first term. In particular, new teachers report being least prepared for adapting teaching to different students, managing challenging behaviour, and using assessments. New primary school teachers also feel unprepared to teach STEM, languages, and te reo Māori.

Although prior work experiences are valued, these did not significantly impact on new teachers’ preparedness. We found, however, that their ITE experiences did have an impact on their preparedness for teaching. In particular, new teachers who studied at non-university ITE providers felt most prepared to teach.

Part 4: How well supported are new teachers in their first two years?

If new teachers are to succeed, it is crucial that they receive support as they begin their teaching career. This important period of time is where teachers move from being provisionally certificated (able to meet the Standards with support) to fully certificated (able to meet the Standards independently).

Nearly all new teachers enjoy teaching. As teachers start their first teaching job, they begin a formal Induction and Mentoring Programme. This is a plan for their development and support over their first two years. Assisted by their professional leaders, mentor teacher, and colleagues, the programme helps them grow their teaching practice as they progress towards meeting the Standards for the Profession.

New teachers receive a range of support over their first two years. Nearly all teachers regularly meet with their mentor and have observations of their teaching. Having time to reflect on their teaching, and observing other teachers have the most impact on their capability. This section sets out what we know about the support for new teachers in their first two years.

What we did

In their first two years of teaching (while they are provisionally certificated), new teachers are expected to work through a planned programme of support as they work towards full certification as teachers. They move from meeting the Teaching Standards with support, to meeting the Standards independently.

This section sets out:

  1. new teachers’ experiences finding a job
  2. new teachers’ induction
    1. what makes for a good induction
    2. new teachers’ experience of induction
  3. the ongoing supports new teachers get
    1. what good support in the first two years looks like
    2. what supports new teachers get
    3. how much support new teachers get
    4. where there are differences
  4. the supports we found make the biggest difference to new teachers’ capability and confidence
    1. what the literature says is most important
    2. what is important to new teachers
    3. what principals think is important
    4. what our research shows is most important
  5. what makes a difference to new teachers’ wellbeing.

What we found: an overview

One in three new teachers are employed on fixed term employment agreements. Thirty-three percent of new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements. In primary schools, 49 percent of new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements. New teachers on fixed term employment agreements experience a lack of job security and can have limited experiences of support.

When they start their first job, most new teachers receive an induction. Not all inductions are good, and new teachers in poorer schools are less likely to receive an induction. Nearly all teachers in higher socio-economic areas received and induction (98 percent), compared to teachers in lower socio-economic schools (90 percent).

New teachers receive a range of support. Most teachers have mentor meetings (94 percent), professional learning and development (PLD) (88 percent), being observed (9292 percent), and time to reflect (91 percent). Twelve percent of secondary new teachers find their PLD ineffective, compared to 7 percent primary new teachers.

Support makes a difference to new teachers’ capability. New teachers welcome the support. Observing other teachers, having time to reflect on teaching and having support with resourcing makes the most difference.

Observing other teachers is important but there are limited opportunities for new teachers to do so. New teachers who observe other teachers in their school and have time to reflect on their teaching are more capable in a range of key areas. However, observing teachers in other schools is the support new teachers receive the least (37 percent).

Nearly all new teachers enjoy teaching, and teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are twice as likely to see a future in teaching. Ninety-three percent of new teachers enjoy teaching. New teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are two times more likely to see themselves in teaching for the next five years.

In this section, we set out these findings in more detail on the following questions.

  • How do new teachers find their first role?
  • What are new teachers experiences of induction?
  • What ongoing supports do new teachers get?
  • What supports make the biggest difference to new teachers’ reported capability?

1) How do new teachers find their first role?

Nearly half of new teachers find a job within a month.

Coming out of their training, most new teachers find a job relatively quickly. Nearly half find a job in less than a month (48 percent), and it takes 37 percent between one and three months to find a job. Only 15 percent of new teachers find it takes longer to get their first teaching job. In comparison, most new registered nurses find work in four months.(62)

Principals report a similar pattern for recruiting new teachers, with 44 percent saying it took less than a month to recruit a teacher. Thirty-nine percent of principals report that it took one to three months to recruit new teachers, and only 17 percent found that it took longer.

Figure 27: Time to find a role, and time to recruit a new teacher: Principals and new teachers

Figure 27 is a graph showing the time taken to find a role and the time taken to recruit new teachers according to principals and new teachers.   48% of new teachers say it took them less than a month to find a role while 44% of principals say it took them less than a month to recruit a new teacher.  37% of new teachers say it took them 1 to 3 months to find a role while 39% of principals say it took them 1 to 3 months to recruit a new teacher.  10% of new teachers say it took them 3 to 6 months to find a role while 9% of principals say it took them 3 to 6 months to recruit a new teacher.  5% of new teachers say it took them more than 6 months to find a role while 8% of principals say it took them 6 months to recruit a new teacher.

Several teachers told us they were offered positions at the schools where they did their placements or where they studied. We also heard principals were proactive in sourcing high-quality teachers for their schools. Principals might partner with ITE providers as placement sites, or visit ITE providers to talk about their schools.

“I did my placement in term one and I actually got shoulder tapped for this role.” (New teacher)

“We are very actively spotting talent and accumulating good teachers and good people.” (Principal)

However, principals of schools in rural areas talked about how difficult it is to fill their vacancies, and that they often have to rely on Overseas Trained Teachers (OTTs).

   “We don’t have a whole lot of teachers down here.” (School leader)

There is also a difference in the length of time it takes to find a job between primary and secondary school sectors, between subjects, and in different communities.

Once in the role, most new teachers are on full-time permanent employment agreements, but a large proportion begin as a fixed-term teacher.

Over half of new teachers begin on permanent employment agreements (54 percent), but only a third work full-time (36 percent). We heard principals often hire on permanent employment agreements to attract more new teachers.

One third of new teachers start their role on fixed-term employment agreements (33 percent), while one in 10 are on casual employment agreements (7 percent), or provide cover for parental leave (3 percent). These employment agreements are more common for primary school teachers, with 49 percent being on fixed-term employment agreements.

Figure 28: Employment agreement types for new teachers

Figure 28 is a graph showing the employment agreement types for new teachers.   33% of new teachers are on fixed term contracts, 3% are on parent leave cover. 54% are on permanent contracts and 7% are casual/relieving contracts.

Concerningly, we heard that new teachers on a fixed-term employment agreement lack security on the job.

“If you don't feel like you can really settle in and have certainty, it is hard to devote yourself truly to the school and relationship building.” (New teacher)

We heard from principals that they cannot always hire new teachers on a permanent basis from the beginning. However, principals recognise that providing new teachers with certainty at the beginning so that they learn and develop their practice is important, and they made an effort to hire new teachers for a year or more and move them to a permanent employment agreement as soon as possible.

“There are some financial responsibilities around that. I'll have someone on a two-year fixed term. We’ll gamble that we have something for them in the second year.” (Principal)

“I think it is quite important to give beginning teachers that base to learn their trade in one place.” (Principal)

New teachers typically stay in one school while they are provisionally certificated, but a quarter move to other schools.

Three-quarters of new teachers have worked in only one school since qualifying to be a teacher (75 percent). However, a quarter move around, teaching at two or more schools while they are provisionally certificated (25 percent).

For those that moved schools, we heard they did this for a range of reasons, including seeking better job security, finding a more suitable school in terms of work conditions and support, or just relocating to another area.

“I hated being in a classroom [by myself]. Where I am now there's three of us so there is a bit more work life balance as well.” (New teacher)

Because there is such variation in the way schools operate, new teachers can struggle moving between schools. They need to learn school policies and procedures, how the curriculum is localised, and the values, expectations, and preferred assessments used by each school.

“Every school is different. Everyone's got their own culture. And so [there are] very different styles out there.” (New Teacher)

2) What are new teachers’ experiences of induction?

a)  What the literature says makes for a good induction

Induction is a key process for new teachers to learn about the culture and practices at their new school. A comprehensive induction involves welcoming and introducing new teachers into the school and providing support and development opportunities. This support can include providing access to resources and networks, as well as opportunities for mentoring on a wide range of topics. Good mentoring needs to be timely and respond to the individual needs of new teachers.(63)

b)  New teachers’ experiences of induction

Nearly all new teachers receive an induction at school.

Induction takes place at schools in the first week, or prior to the teaching term. This period is to welcome new teachers into the school context.

More than nine in 10 (92 percent) new teachers receive an induction and an introduction to their school’s policies. Teachers of different ethnicity, age, and gender are equally likely to receive an induction. However, in schools in lower socioeconomic areas, one in 10 teachers do not receive this crucial support. In contrast, 98 percent of new teachers in schools in higher socioeconomic areas receive an induction.

(To measure disadvantage in this report, we use the Equity Index (EQI) which is used to determine a school’s level of equity funding, based on the socio-economic barriers faced by the students at the school. The EQI replaced the decile system from the beginning of January 2023.)

Figure 29: New teachers who received induction: higher and lower socioeconomic schools

Figure 29 is a graph showing new teachers who receive induction when they begin according to whether they were in a low socio economic or high socio-economic area.   10% of new teachers in low socio-economic areas did not receive an induction while 90% did. 2% of new teachers in high socio-economic areas did not receive an induction while 98% did.

New teachers who did not receive an induction told us this is because of the circumstances at the school at the time. For example, they had to relieve in the school immediately after starting due to staff shortages, or their mentor teacher was absent.

“There was no induction. Because my co-teacher had Covid, so I was in as a reliever. I was pretty much dropped in the deep end with a group of kids.” (New teacher)

Some new teachers did not receive an induction at the start of their employment as they were previously familiar with the school, for example those who were appointed following a placement as part of their ITE.

What is included in induction varies and one in five new teachers do not find their induction valuable.

Nearly one in five (17 percent) new teachers find their general induction ineffective. Only 54 percent find their introduction to school policies as part of their induction effective.

Due to the differences in school contexts, such as school size and the number of new teachers, induction approaches can vary. Some schools have a specific induction session to welcome new teachers, and others induct new teachers at a staff-only day for all teachers. Some inductions are brief and others are spread over time.

New teachers who received an induction described it as mainly covering administrative information at the school. This includes school policies or approaches to managing student behaviour within the school. Some inductions include learning about systems for planning and record-keeping.

“Just went through school policies, the expectations for lesson planning, a lot of admin stuff: This is how it works, this is what Judy looks like, these are the hours you start work.” (New teacher)

“I don't think there was a specific initial teacher induction. Everyone came together like a staff-only day.” (New teacher)

Induction that supports new teachers to understand the school context is key

New teachers said induction is useful when it sets them up for teaching in the specific school context. This means they receive support like how to set up online classes, accessing resources, getting links to useful contacts, or getting familiar with the characteristics of the community the school is serving.

“The thing that stood out was a bus ride around all the districts that our learners came from, which I thought was a really good to understand the context in which the school located.” (New teacher)

New teachers find induction less useful when it provides too much information, as this can be overwhelming.

“They took us through how to create Google classrooms so we can use it effectively in case Covid happened.” (New teacher)

“That was a confusing induction last year - all really hectic and really full on.” (New teacher)

3) What ongoing supports do new teachers get?

a)  What good support in the first two years of teaching looks like

In Aotearoa New Zealand, school practices and curriculums can vary across schools.

The Teaching Council provides guidelines for induction and mentoring, including key forms of support for new teachers in their first two years. These supports can include reflection, regular meetings with a mentor teacher, observations of other colleagues, participation in structured PLD, and being observed by a mentor teacher.

Using the literature(64) and the Standards for the Teaching Profession, we identified the following range of supports important to new teachers’ success, set out in the table below.  

Table 5: What supports help new teachers?

Support

What does it look like?

Mentor meetings

New teachers meet with their mentor regularly, usually one‑on-one. These mentor meetings are often tailored to the new teachers’ needs and linked to the Induction and Mentoring programme.

Being observed

Having your teaching observed is an important part of induction and mentoring support at school. Observers are expected to provide feedback that allows new teachers to reflect on their practice or goals. Observers may also provide expert advice and feedback on different aspects of the lesson.

Support with assessment and planning

Mentors and more experienced staff at the school support new teachers to understand and use specific assessment tools that relate to their students. Mentor teachers also support new teachers to plan lessons in the longer term and link their planning to the curriculum.

Support with resourcing

New teachers receive support with resourcing through access to their school’s existing materials and wider educational resources. Exemplars for assessment or lesson planning are also shared with them so they can create their own resources.

Wellbeing check-ins

Wellbeing check-ins are regular opportunities for new teachers to raise or discuss personal wellbeing matters. Usually, these are to check if new teachers are coping well with their workload, challenging classroom behaviours, or anything else that they need help with. These vary in nature, for example some schools appoint personnel with the specific role of looking after new teachers. In other schools, wellbeing check-ins are the duty of mentor teachers.

Time to reflect

When new teachers talk about reflection, they tend to describe the process of reflecting about what is going well and not so well in their teaching so they can improve in future classes. New teachers reflect in their release time, or as part of mentor meetings.

Professional Learning and Development (PLD) opportunities[1]

Professional learning and development are often in the form of workshops or conferences. It can be internally designed and delivered at the school, or delivered through external providers working at the school or off site. Teachers are able to choose professional learning that is relevant to them or recommended by their mentor teachers.

 

Observing other teachers in their school

New teachers usually observe their mentor teachers or arrange to visit other teachers in their school. Some schools have an open‑door policy, where teachers can come in and observe classes when they have time.

Observing other teachers in other schools

Some teachers observe teachers in other schools as this offers an opportunity to see how other teachers work in different contexts. This sometimes happens when there are no teachers with similar subjects for the new teachers to observe in their own schools.

Team teaching

Team teaching, or collaborative teaching, is more common in primary schools than secondary schools. In some primary schools, several teachers teach in larger open-learning spaces, rather than in a separate classrooms.

b)  What supports do new teachers get?

New teachers access a wide range of support throughout their first two years of teaching.

New teachers get a variety of support throughout their first two years of teaching. This includes support both in their school and outside their school.

Nearly all (94 percent) new teachers get to meet with a mentor. New teachers told us mentor meetings are the core part of the induction and mentoring programme, and they see these as crucial for their success as teachers.

In addition to this, more than nine out of 10 new teachers have their teaching observed (92 percent), get time to reflect on their teaching (91 percent), and receive support with assessment (91 percent).

Figure 30: Supports new teachers receive

Figure 30 is a graph showing the supports new teachers during their mentoring and induction.  94% of new teachers received mentor meetings, 92% had their teaching observed, 91% had time to reflect on their teaching and 91% were also given support with assessment.   89% of new teachers receive support with resourcing and 88% receive PLD. 81% of new teachers observe other teachers in their school and 76% receive wellbeing check-ins.  51% if new teachers taught in teams and only 37% observed teachers in other schools.

What the support provided for new teachers looks like depends on the school context. Factors that influence the provision of support include:

  • whether the school has specialist roles to support teachers in specific areas
  • whether the school has separate classrooms or open-learning spaces
  • whether the school supports internal or external professional learning and development opportunities
  • the style of mentoring at the school.

c)  How much support do new teachers get?

The frequency of supports varies, with mentor meetings being the most frequent support.

Mentor meetings are the most frequent support for new teachers. Nearly three in four teachers receive these at least fortnightly (72 percent). Other common areas of support for new teachers include time to reflect on teaching (66 percent receive it at least fortnightly), support with resourcing (52 percent receive it at least fortnightly), and support with assessment (53 percent receive it at least fortnightly).

Figure 31: New teachers’ most frequent supports (proportion receiving at least fortnightly)

Figure 31 is a graph showing new teachers most frequent supports during their mentoring and induction. Supports they would be receiving at least fortnightly. 72% of new teachers received mentor meetings, 66% received time to reflect on teaching, 52% received support with resourcing and 53% received support with assessments.

New teachers have fewer opportunities to observe others teach

Areas where new teachers receive the least frequent support are observing teachers in other schools (63 percent did not get this support), and observing teaching in their own school (35 percent receive monthly).

Figure 32: New teachers who observe teachers from other schools at all

Figure 32 is a graph showing the percentage of new teachers who observe teachers from other schools during their mentoring and induction.  37% of new teachers observed teachers from other schools while 63% did not.

Figure 33: Frequency of new teachers observing teachers from their own schools

Figure 33 is a graph showing the frequency of new teachers who observed other teachers from their own schools. 24% of new teachers observed teachers in their school only once during their mentoring and induction, 35% observed other teachers monthly, 9% fortnightly, and 6% weekly.

Principals often think new teachers receive more support than the teachers themselves report.

Principals agree with new teachers about the types of support they are most likely to receive.

However, principals think new teachers receive more support than the teachers themselves report. For example, principals are three times more likely to think teachers have time to reflect on their teaching. This is similar in the other three areas of support:

  • mentor meetings - principals believe new teachers receive this twice as often as the teachers believe they do
  • support with assessment - principals believe new teachers receive this three times as often as the teachers believe they do
  • support with resourcing - principals believe new teachers receive this twice as often as the teachers believe they do

Principals told us support for new teachers is critical, and they want to do it well.

“We obviously want to invest in these people and we want to make that transition into teaching as positive as possible. So, the programme that we've got set up here really aims to help them to belong really, really quickly within the school.” (Principal)

Despite these good intentions, new teachers told us there are challenges in accessing the support. For example, mismatches in timetabling led to mentor meetings not occurring as frequently as they were supposed to. This may explain the differences in principals’ and new teachers’ perspectives about how much support new teachers are getting.

“We were supposed to be meeting but there was no timetabled time for it.” (New teacher)

“I was allocated to a teacher because there was no one else in my subject area. And we quickly realised it wasn't very helpful they couldn't provide much advice on my subject area. So, mentor meetings stopped.” (New teacher)

d) Where are the differences?

New teachers in primary schools receive more support than new teachers in secondary schools.

New primary school teachers also receive some forms of support at a higher frequency. They are more likely to receive the following supports weekly:

  • observing other teachers
  • having their teaching observed
  • time to reflect
  • support with assessment
  • team teaching
  • wellbeing check-ins.

Figure 34: Weekly supports new primary and secondary teachers receive

Figure 34 shows the weekly supports new primary and secondary teachers receive.   38% of primary new teachers and 22% of secondary new teachers received wellbeing check ins.  30% of primary new teachers and 14% of secondary new teachers received team teaching. 41% of primary new teachers and 30% of secondary new teachers received support with assessments.  55% of primary new teachers received time to reflect and 43% of secondary new teachers received support with assessment. 6% of primary new teachers and 2% of secondary new teachers had their teaching observed. 9% of primary new teachers and 3% of secondary new teachers observed other teachers in their school

Some primary schools have open-plan classrooms, or Modern Learning Environments (MLE). Teachers in these schools are more likely to have immediate support from their colleagues. Colleagues can demonstrate teaching practices, observe and give feedback on new teachers’ practice, and offer practical support in undertaking teaching tasks. New teachers’ learning can then be integrated more immediately into their practice. These new teachers are also more likely to benefit from relationships and support from other more experienced colleagues.

“I'm just learning off those co-teachers the whole time.” (New teacher)

In contrast, secondary school teachers often teach in an individual classroom setting and within their own subject areas, limiting opportunities for team teaching. Teachers who teach subjects that are less common, such as Drama or Outdoor Education, told us they have less support available within their school. This is a particular challenge for new teachers in smaller towns or rural areas.

Māori new teachers receive more support than non-Māori

Compared to non-Māori new teachers, more Māori beginning teachers receive support through:

  • PLD (96 percent compared to 87 percent non-Māori)
  • wellbeing check-ins (87 percent compared to 74 percent non-Māori)
  • observing teachers in other schools (50 percent compared to 35 percent).

We know that new teachers receive more support in primary schools. More Māori new teachers receive some forms of support regardless of if they teach at primary, or secondary schools.

4) Which supports make the biggest difference to new teachers’ reported capability?

a)  What the literature says matters

We know that support for teachers to begin their career is important.(65)

Research tells us much can be done to support new teachers to succeed as they begin the job. As teachers begin their career, they require:

  • effective mentoring
  • opportunities for observing experienced teachers
  • professional collaboration with colleagues(66)(67)
  • collaboration with other colleagues in learning communities
  • observations of their teaching by expert mentors
  • analysis of their own practice
  • networking with other novice teachers.(68)

Opportunities to work alongside colleagues to plan and share practice is especially important for both the new teacher and their students.(69)

b)  What is important to new teachers

More than three in four new teachers value having time to reflect on their teaching, being observed, observing other teachers, and support with assessment.

New teachers find some forms of support more effective than others. The following graph shows how effective new teachers find each type of support they received.

Figure 35: Effectiveness of different forms of support

Figure 35 shows the effectiveness of different forms of support .   81% of new teachers find time to reflect on teaching effective support. 80% of new teachers find mentor meetings effective support. 79% of new teachers find having their teaching observed effective support. 77% of new teachers find observing other teachers in their schools effective support. 75% of new teachers find support with assessment effective support . 74% of new teachers find targeted PLD effective support. 69% of new teachers find support with resourcing effective support. 68% of new teachers find team teaching effective support. 63% of new teachers find well being check ins effective support. Finally, 53% of new teachers find observing teachers in other schools effective support.

Nearly double the amount of secondary new teachers find PLD ineffective compared to primary school new teachers (12 percent, compared to 7 percent).

New teachers value time to reflect on their teaching, mentor meetings, and having their teaching observed the most. New teachers told us they appreciate these supports because they are based on their individual needs, rather than generic support. They told us being observed by different staff members is particularly valuable because observers can offer input and advice on a range of aspects of the lesson.

These types of support are also valuable because they can involve the wider school. As well as receiving support from their mentor teacher, new teachers are observed by other team members, PLD experts, professional growth cycle peers, or a critical friend who buddies with them at the school. This helps teachers feel they belong to the school community.

We also heard about an ITE provider which continues to provide professional support and helps to connect their alumni with each other. This type of support allows teachers to come together and share experiences. A network of peers is highly valuable.(70)

“It was really a very collaborative school and very supportive. Anyone I've ever asked for help has turned around and given me some advice or pointed me in a direction to help me.” (New teacher)

“You're getting observed by different people, which I think is really valuable.” (New teacher)

“[The alumni] came to our school. Really enjoyed the support.” (Principal)

c)  What principals think is important

Principals think new teachers benefit most from learning from others.

In interviews, principals said the support that is most valuable for new teachers is the opportunity to learn from others on the job, either from mentor teachers or other colleagues. Principals highlighted the importance of mentor teachers in this space because they provide the coaching and modelling that new teachers need. We heard from new teachers that they appreciated a good mentor with a coaching mindset, who is matched well with them in terms of subject areas, class year, or expertise.

“An experienced mentor/coach is essential” (Principal)

“The behaviour management was the area that she needed support in. And that's why I was brought in as her mentor for that focus. (Mentor teacher)

Principals also think new teachers benefit from having connections with other colleagues, such as having a buddy at their school or in another school in the area so they have someone they can “bounce ideas” off. Another form of support we heard is valuable is having opportunities to co‑teach or team-teach.

“Have an experienced mentor teacher in the classroom for the first two - four weeks to co‑teach, support planning based on assessments, and assist with set up of classroom organisation and behaviour expectations gradually passing more and more control to the new teachers. Then weekly check in meetings and observations of classroom practice.” (New teacher)

d)  What our research shows is most important

Observing others and having time to reflect makes new teachers at least two times more likely to report being capable in key areas.

We looked at which supports have the biggest impact on the wide range of professional practice areas. New teachers who observe other teachers are two times more likely to say they feel capable overall after some time on the job. They are also twice as likely to be capable in professional knowledge of teaching strategies and working with parents and whānau.

New teachers told us observing other teachers is beneficial because they can then pick up useful strategies to apply to their own classrooms. Observations include observing teachers who are teaching in the same year, the same subject, or who have a class with similar challenges. New teachers also benefit from seeing different teaching contexts because this helps them have more realistic expectations in managing their own class challenges.

“A good part of her being my mentor is that she also has a really high-needs class. So she really understands what my problems are.” (New teacher)

Time for reflection on what went well or not so well in class is also an important part of new teachers’ learning through trial and error on the job. This is particularly so for areas of practice that are more hands-on or require immediate action, such as managing challenging behaviours.

New teachers who have time to reflect are nearly three times more likely to be capable in managing challenging behaviours.

As a teacher, you're always thinking about stuff. Something didn't go so well today, what am I going to do tomorrow? Or that student didn't engage today. What am I going to do tomorrow?” (New teacher)

New teachers who have support with resourcing are better at creating an engaging environment.

New teachers who have support with resourcing are nearly four times more likely to report  being capable in creating an engaging environment.

Having this support is useful for teachers because it helps set up a model for them to see what works and does not work in the specific context of their school. It also helps them save time from having to avoid ‘reinventing the wheel’.

“I think one thing I appreciated is seeing very practical and tangible and actual resources that have been used in the past.” (New teacher)

5)  What makes a difference to new teachers’ wellbeing?

Nearly all new teachers enjoy teaching.

Ninety-three percent of new teachers enjoy teaching. Many new teachers told us they decide to teach because they want to make a difference and contribute to society. When new teachers develop a good relationship with the students they work with and see the impact that they are having, they feel they realise their intention earlier. This rewarding feeling makes them more likely to stay in teaching.

“I just wanted a career that I could feel proud of. Something needed to change. And if you want to create change, you have to start with education.” (New teacher)

“[What do I enjoy about teaching?] Just being rewarded when the kids make progress and you know you've been a direct part of that.” (New teacher)

Despite their enjoyment, a third of new teachers do not think they will stay in teaching.

Most new teachers think they will stay in teaching in the next five years (66 percent). However, one third are not certain they will stay in the teaching profession in the next five years (34 percent).

Figure 36: Teachers’ intention to stay in teaching in the next five years

Figure 36 is a graph showing teachers’ intention to stay in teaching in the next five years.   66% of new teachers intend to stay in teaching in the next five years while 34% of new teachers do not intend to stay in teaching in the next five years.

Some new teachers told us they will stay in teaching for as long as possible to make the impact they wanted to make when first entering the profession. Others have plans to stay within the education sector, seeing themselves in other capacities such as leadership. New teachers who do not see themselves continuing as teachers told us this is due to feeling overwhelmed and burnout, or a lack of support in their schools.

“Even though I'm at a school that's really supportive and does a lot to try and mitigate burnouts, but personally, I don't know if I could do that for 40 years.” (New teacher)

“I love teaching and I would love to be in it as long as I can. I do think it is a whole career.” (New teacher)

In ERO’s report Time to Focus: Behaviour in our classrooms, we found that students’ classroom behaviour is a key driver of teachers leaving teaching. Behaviour impacts on teacher wellbeing through mental health, physical health, and stress; 50 percent of teachers say this has a large impact on their intention to stay in the profession.(71)

Many principals have difficulty retaining teachers.

Forty percent of principals find it difficult to retain new teachers. Mentor teachers and school leaders told us retention is difficult when new teachers are overwhelmed with the workload, and did not have the support and the connection they needed in the first two years. For example, a mentor teacher at a rural secondary school told us they cannot offer subject-specific support, such as for Drama, and this led to attrition.

“I can totally see why it was overwhelming. It was of no surprise to me when she said she’s leaving.” (Mentor teacher)

Figure 37: Difficulty retaining new teachers

Figure 37 is a graph showing the difficultly of retaining new teachers.   32% of principals do not have difficulty retaining new teachers while 40% do have difficulty retaining new teachers.

Teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are twice as likely to see a future in teaching.

New teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are two times more likely to see themselves in teaching for the next five years.

We heard that new teachers often feel exhausted, overwhelmed, and experience imposter syndrome. Wellbeing check-ins that help them understand these emotions and focus on their strengths are valuable for new teachers.

New teachers also shared that they often struggle to build relationships with older colleagues. Support such as bonding time or activities to foster their sense of belonging helped their wellbeing. Enjoying their relationships with students and colleagues, and developing teaching practices can encourage new teachers stay in teaching.

“I've met some amazing friends who will be lifelong friends.” (New teacher)

“It’s really important for first year teachers to know that it’s normal to feel the difficult emotions. They’re not alone in feeling these things, and it will get better as confidence grows with experience.” (Principal)

Conclusion

The first two years of teaching are crucial to new teachers’ development. This is the time when their prior learning is applied in real and unique schooling contexts.

New teachers are not expected to tackle the challenges of a new and complex job alone. They are able to access a range of purposeful and planned support. Ensuring all elements of support are in place and well implemented is important not only for their success, confidence, and retention in the workforce, but also for positive outcomes for their students.

Part 5: How well do new teachers learn on the job?

New teachers’ capability to teach is expected to grow as they begin in their teaching role, learning on the job. Their induction and mentoring programme is intended to support them to fully demonstrate each of the Teaching Standards by the end of their provisionally certificated period.

We asked new teachers how they developed their capability over time, where they had the biggest growth, and what made a difference in how they improved. All areas of practice and subject knowledge improve over time, but managing behaviour and working with parents and whānau are key areas where new teachers show the biggest improvement in their confidence from the first term of teaching. Giving effect to Te Tīriti o Waitangi grows the least with time in the role.

Primary school new teachers improve their reported confidence in subject knowledge over time with maths growing the most. However, after one year in the job, still too many report not being confident in maths, technology, and science.

What we did

New teachers are expected to grow and develop their skills across their career, but especially through the support they receive as Provisionally Certificated Teachers. We compared new teachers’ reported confidence in their abilities after one year or two years teaching, with their reported confidence of teachers in the first term in the classroom.

This section looks at the following questions:

  • how capable do new teachers report to be after two years?
  • how capable do new teachers report to be in different teaching practices after two years?
  • how confident do primary school new teachers report to be in different subjects are one year?

In our sample, 316 new teachers had worked for less than a year, 309 teachers had been working for at least a year, and 122 for more than two years. Of the teachers who had been working for two years or more, 30 are in primary schools, and 70 in secondary schools.

What we found: an overview

After two years, nearly nine in 10 new teachers report being capable overall. Eighty‑seven percent of new teachers’ report being capable after two years’ teaching.

New teachers learn on the job. Managing behaviour and working with parents and whānau are areas new teachers show the biggest improvement in reported confidence from the first term of teaching. However, one in 10 still report a lack of confidence in these areas after two years teaching.

Primary school new teachers improve their confidence in subject knowledge over time. However, after one year in the job, still at least one in 10 new teachers report being not confident in their knowledge of maths, technology and science.

In this section, we set out these findings in more detail looking at:

  • overall, how capable new teachers report being after two years
  • how capable new teachers are in different teaching practices after two years
  • how capable primary school teachers are in different subjects after one year.

1) Overall, how capable do new teachers report being after two years?

Nearly nine in 10 new teachers report being confident in their teaching as they near the end of their two‑year provisional period.

In the first term teaching after completing their ITE qualification, only 29 percent of new teachers report being capable for the teaching role. Of the new teachers who have been in the role for two years, 87 percent now report being capable.

Figure 38: New teachers’ reported capability in first term and after two years

Figure 38 is a graph showing new teachers’ reportedly feeling capable in the first term and then, after two years. 29% of new teachers report feeling capable in their first term.  87% of new teachers report feeling capable after two years.

2) How capable are new teachers in different teaching practices after two years?

After two years, teachers report being most capable of planning lessons and working with other teachers, but some still lack confidence in using assessment and managing behaviour.

New teachers’ reported confidence in their ability grows across the two years they are provisionally certificated. For teachers who have been in the role for two years, the two areas they report being most confident in are planning lessons (94 percent report being capable, up from 77 percent) and working with other teachers (91 percent report being capable, up from 78 percent). 

However, after two years in the role, too many teachers continue to report a lack of capability in using assessment (only 85 percent report being capable), managing behaviour (only 86 percent report being capable), and giving effect to Te Tīriti o Waitangi (only 80 percent report being capable). 

Figure 39: New teachers’ reported capability across practice areas after two years: teachers

Figure 39 is a graph showing new teachers’ reported capability across nine practice areas after two years on the job. 88% of new teachers report they are capable of creating an engaging environment, 85% of using assessments, 80% of giving effect to Te Tiriti, 91% of working with teachers, 87% of working with parents, 86% of managing behaviour, 90% of adapting teaching strategies, 94% of planning lessons and 90% of having professional knowledge.

While teachers receive support in their first two years, we heard they still struggle in some key areas of teaching practice.

“It would be best to have opportunities where you can have someone in your class. Even if just for half the week when they come in and guide you so you get used to it and know what you are doing.” (New teacher)

Similarly, teachers receive support in working with parents and whānau in terms of writing reports and holding parent interviews. However, we heard they are still unsure how to strike the balance when communicating to parents about students’ learning and behaviours.

“How do I tell them the truth about their kids without stepping on any toes, though?” (New teacher)

New teachers make the biggest improvements in using assessment, adapting teaching strategies for different learners, and managing behaviour.

Over their first two years teaching, new teachers’ reported capability grows considerably. After two years, the teaching practice areas that new teachers’ reported capability has improved the most are:

  • managing behaviour
  • working with parents and whānau
  • adapting teaching strategies
  • using assessment.

However, while new teachers’ confidence grows the most in these areas, at least one in 10 new teachers remain unconfident in these key areas of concern after two years on the job.

Figure 40: Practice areas with largest reported capability growth: first term and after two years (new teachers)

Figure 40 is a graph showing the 4 practice areas new teacher report having the largest capability growth in, both after the first term and then after two years.   New teachers report a growth of 45% after the first term and 86% after two years of managing student behaviours. New teachers report a growth of 48% after the first term and 87% after two years of working with parents. New teachers report a growth of 56% after the first term and 90% after two years when adapting teaching strategies. New teachers report a growth of 54% after the first term and 85% after two years when using assessments.

We heard new teachers often struggled with the particular types of assessment that their school used. While on the job, they had the support from their mentors to understand and use assessments at the school. New secondary school teachers told us their mentor teachers help them to unpack and use NCEA standards-based assessments and how they apply to their specific subject area.

Principals told us behaviour management, adapting teaching and assessment are the areas where they provide the most support. Principals describe a range of ways they do this, such as having specialist roles, targeted support from mentors, and targeted PLD.

In some schools, particularly larger schools and secondary schools, there are specialist roles for supporting new teachers and classroom practice more generally. This may be because larger schools may receive more forms of support. These specialist roles include SENCOs (Special Education Needs Co-ordinator), RTLB (Resource Teachers Learning and Behaviour), or SCT (Specialist Classroom Teachers). These specialists provide support with specific issues around behaviours and children with special needs.

          “I had quite a big support from the principal and SENCO for this particular child.” (New teacher)

The areas where teachers’ reported capability grows the least are the areas where teachers already come to the role feeling confident.

After two years of teaching, the practice areas that show the least growth in reported capability are the areas they were strong in when they started teaching:

  • giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • planning lessons
  • working with teachers.

Figure 41: Practice areas with smallest capability growth: first term and after two years

Figure 41 is a graph showing the 3 main practice areas new teachers report having with the smallest capacity for growth in, both after the first term and then after two years. Thes 3 areas are also the areas new teachers were strong in when they started teaching:  New teachers report a growth of 60% after the first term and 80% after two years of giving effect to Te Tiriti. New teachers report a growth of 77% after the first term and 94% after two years of planning lessons. New teachers report a growth of 78% after the first term and 91% after two years of working with teachers.

“Giving effect to Te Tiriti is always a struggle for me.” (New teacher)

“There is little contact or time to think about and discuss the Treaty and how that fits at school. To make any genuine movement in that it'll have to be my own initiative.” (New teacher)

3) How capable are primary school new teachers in different subjects after one year?

Only 30 primary school teachers in our survey had been in the role for two years or more, so we look at how well primary school teachers’ knowledge of different subjects grows from over their first year of teaching.

In primary schools, new teachers continue to struggle in key subject areas. More than one in 10 teachers continue to feel a lack of confidence in science and technology after one year.

Most primary school new teachers who have been in the role for a year reported they are confident in their knowledge of:

  • English (86 percent feel confident, up from 64 percent)
  • maths and statistics (80 percent feel confident, up from 54 percent)
  • health and physical education (72 percent feel confident, up from 58 percent).

Figure 42: Primary new teachers’ reported confidence in subject areas after a year

Figure 42 is a graph showing primary new teachers reported confidence in subject areas after a year on the job.   Primary new teachers reported the following levels of confidence: English 86%, Maths 80%, Health and PE 72%, Social Sciences 71%, The Arts 64%, Science 57%, Technology 56%, Te reo Māori 54% and Languages 41%.

While maths and statistics is a strength for new teachers, still around one in 10 primary school new teachers remain feeling unconfident in this core curriculum area (9 percent).

After teaching for a year, primary school new teachers still do not feel confident in:

  • languages (28 percent unconfident, down from 49 percent in their first term)
  • te Reo Māori (18 percent unconfident, down from 30 percent in their first term)
  • technology (15 percent unconfident, down from 38 percent in their first term)
  • science (13 percent unconfident, down from 32 percent in their first term).

New primary school teachers develop their confidence most in their knowledge of maths, technology, and English.

After teaching for a year, the largest areas of growth occur in primary school new teachers’ knowledge of:

  • maths
  • social sciences
  • technology

Figure 43: Subject areas with largest confidence growth: primary school new teachers first term and after a year

Figure 43 is a graph showing the subject areas primary school new teachers showed the largest confidence growth, both after the first term and after a year.  64% showed a growth in confidence after the first term in English and 86% showed a growth in confidence after a year in the job. 33% showed a growth in confidence in technology after the first term and 56% showed a growth in confidence after a year in the job. 46% showed a growth in confidence in Social Sciences after the first term and 71% showed a growth in confidence after a year in the job. 54% showed a growth in confidence in maths after the first term and 80% showed a growth in confidence after a year in the job.

Positively, the subject area which shows the greatest growth during this provisional period is maths. While English and health and P.E. were already strengths for new teachers in their first term, maths was an area of earlier concern which later becomes a significant strength.

Some new primary school teachers told us their teaching days are usually built around the core subjects, such as maths, reading, and writing. When first coming into the school, they are mentored in the specific school-based approach to delivering these core subjects. More support and more time focusing on these subjects likely contributes to new teachers feeling more confident delivering them.

“My school put me in PLDs for Maths, which was really useful, really awesome.”

(New teacher)

Primary school new teachers’ confidence grows the least in their subject knowledge of arts and te reo Māori

After teaching for a year, the smallest areas of growth with regards to subject area occur in primary school new teachers’ knowledge of:

  • arts
  • te reo Māori
  • health and P.E.

Figure 44: Subject areas with smallest confidence growth: first term and after a year

Figure 44 is a graph showing the subject areas primary teachers showed the smallest confidence growth both in the first term and then after a year.  26% of primary new teachers showed confidence in the subject area of languages after a term and 41% after a year. 58% of primary new teachers showed confidence in the subject area of Health and PE after a term and 72% after a year. 46% of primary new teachers showed confidence in the subject area of Te Reo Māori after a term and 54% after a year. And, 57% of primary new teachers showed confidence in the subject area of The Arts after a term and 64% after a year.

We heard new teachers receive little support in subjects such as technology or social sciences, compared to other areas like maths or reading. This could be because schools often dedicate their resources to core subject areas. This is concerning, considering knowledge of these subjects is consistently weak.

We also heard that at some primary schools, teachers are not expected to teach some of these subjects. For example, subjects such as languages are usually delivered by external tutors. One primary school teacher told us that at their school, there are specialist teachers to deliver other subjects besides maths, reading, and writing.

“I focus on reading, but will also touch on maths and writing. I don't teach music or any other subjects because we have specialists in our school to focus on that those areas.” (New teacher)

Conclusion

New teachers’ reported capability grows over time, and they become increasingly confident over their first two years’ teaching. In particular, nearly all new teachers report being capable of planning lessons and working with teachers. Despite this, and the improvements teachers make in all areas, managing behaviour, using assessment, and giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi continue to be areas with room to improve.

Part 6: How are things for Māori new teachers?

We asked Māori new teachers about their experiences before teaching, their preparedness in their first term, and how capable they report being now. This section of the report sets out the picture for Māori new teachers, including their pathways, preparedness, and growth in the role.

Most Māori news teachers come into the role with a Bachelor’s degree, and previous work experience. Once in the role, Māori new teachers receive a range of supports. More Māori new teachers report being capable to adapt teaching, manage behaviour, and work with parents and whānau. They are also more confident giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

What we did

This part of the report looks at the unique experiences of Māori new teachers in English‑medium schools. ERO worked closely with Māori education sector experts to better understand our data.

This section sets out:

  • who Māori teachers are in English-medium schools
  • the pathways and qualification Māori new teachers take
  • how prepared Māori new teachers are
  • how well supported Māori new teachers are.

What we found: an overview

Over one in 10 new teachers are Māori. Twelve percent of new teachers are Māori. This is slightly less than in the existing teaching population, where 15 percent are Māori.

Most Māori new teachers start their teaching career with prior work experience and a Bachelor’s degree in teaching. Forty‑one percent of Māori new teachers work in a different career prior to teaching, and 47 percent of Māori new teachers have Bachelor’s degrees. This is similar to non-Māori. More Māori new teachers have prior experience working with children, than non-Māori.

Māori new teachers are more likely to start work in small and rural schools. Thirteen percent of Māori new teachers start their employment in rural schools, nearly double the 7 percent of non-Māori new teachers. Seventeen percent of Māori new teachers start their career in small schools, double the rate of non-Māori (8 percent).

Like non-Māori, many Māori new teachers report being unprepared in their first term of teaching. Forty-two percent of Māori new teachers reported they were unprepared overall in their first term. They report being more prepared than non-Māori in English, te reo Māori, Health and P.E., but less prepared in their knowledge of other languages.

Māori new teachers report being more capable in three key areas - adapting teaching, managing behaviour, and working with parents and whānau. They are also more confident giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

More Māori new teachers receive more support. Most Māori new teachers have mentor meetings and receive PLD, and they receive time to reflect on teaching most frequently. They also receive more support than non-Māori new teachers, which may be due to the extra duties they take on.

More Māori new teachers find a job quickly, enjoy teaching, and they are more likely to stay in the profession. Sixty-two percent of Māori new teachers find a job in less than a month. All Māori new teachers enjoy teaching (100 percent), and they are one and a half times more likely to stay in teaching.

In this section, we set out these findings in more detail looking at:

  • who Māori new teachers are in English-medium schools
  • what pathways Māori new teachers take into teaching
  • how prepared Māori new teachers are
  • how well supported Māori new teachers are.

1) Who are Māori new teachers in English-medium schools?

More than one in 10 new teachers are Māori.

Twelve percent of new teachers are Māori. This is slightly lower than in the existing teaching population (15 percent). Some of these teachers are in Māori-Medium settings, which are out of scope of this evaluation.

Age and gender of Māori new teachers is the same as other new teachers. Most Māori new teachers are aged between 25 and 35 (37 percent). Like existing teachers, most Māori new teachers are female (78 percent) and 21 percent are male. One percent of Māori new teachers identified as gender diverse. 

Figure 45: Māori teachers’ age

Figure 45 is a graph showing the age of Māori new teachers.   29% of Māori new teachers are under 25. 37% of Māori new teachers are between 25 and 35 years of age. 21% of Māori new teachers are between 36 and 45 years of age. 9% of Māori new teachers are between 46 and 55 years of age. 4% of Māori new teachers are above 56 years old.

More Māori new teachers have experience working in schools or ECE services than non-Māori

Like other new teachers, most Māori new teachers had work experience before starting teacher education. Their pathways into teaching include having:

  • worked in a different career prior to training to be a teacher
  • completed tertiary study in a different area prior to training to be a teacher
  • went straight into studying teaching
  • worked in schools or early childhood education without training.

Figure 46: Māori new teacher pathways into teaching

Figure 46 is a graph showing Māori new teachers pathways into teaching compared to non-Māori new teachers.  13% of Māori new teachers work in schools or ECE’s without training while 4% of non-Māori new teachers work in schools or ECE’s without training. 15% of Māori new teachers went straight into studying teaching while 17% of non-Māori new teachers went straight into studying teaching. 24% of Māori new teachers complete tertiary study in a different area prior to training to be a teacher, while 28% of non-Māori new teachers complete tertiary study in a different area prior to training to be a teacher. And, 41% of Māori new teachers worked in a different career prior to training to be a teacher, while 42% of non-Māori new teachers worked in a different career prior to training to be a teacher.

Māori new teachers are twice as likely as non-Māori to work in small schools and rural schools

Most Māori new teachers work in schools in urban areas (66 percent), and 13 percent of Māori new teachers are in schools in rural areas (see Figure 48). Half of Māori new teachers work in larger schools (52 percent), nearly a third work in medium sized schools (31 percent), and 17 percent work in small schools (see Figure 49).

(We classified urban to include major urban, large urban, medium urban and small urban. Rural areas include rural settlement or other rural ( Statistical Standard for Geographic Areas 2018)) 

Figure 47: Where Māori and non-Māori new teachers work

Figure 47 is a graph showing where Māori and non-Māori new teachers work.   13% of Māori and 7% of non-Māori work in rural schools. 66% of Māori and 75% of non-Māori work in urban schools.

Figure 48: Sizes of schools where Māori and non-Māori new teachers are based

Figure 48 is a graph showing the sizes of schools where Māori and non-Māori new teachers are based.  17% of Māori new teachers work in small schools while 8% of non-Māori work in small schools. 31% of Māori new teachers work in medium-sized schools while 28% of non-Māori work in medium-sized schools. And, 52% of Māori new teachers work in large schools while 64% of non-Māori work in large schools.

2) What pathways do Māori new teachers take?

Māori new teachers are more likely to have a Bachelor’s degrees, and less likely to have graduate qualifications.

We looked at the qualifications and previous work experiences of Māori teachers. Similar to our overall new teacher population, Māori new teachers have a range of qualifications from teacher education, including:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Graduate diploma
  • Post-graduate diploma
  • Master’s degree.

It is not clear why there is a difference between Māori and non-Māori new teachers in having bachelor’s degrees and graduate diplomas.

Figure 49: ITE qualifications held by Māori and non-Māori new teachers

Figure 49 is a graph showing the ITE qualifications held by Māori and non-Māori new teachers.  47% of Māori hold a Bachelor’s degree and 25% of non-Māori hold a bachelors degree. 24% of Māori hold a Graduate Diploma and 39% of non-Māori hold a Graduate Diploma. 16% of Māori hold a post-graduate Diploma and 20% of non-Māori hold a Post-graduate Diploma. And, 12% of Māori hold a master’s degree and 14% of non-Māori hold a Master’s Degree.

3) How prepared are Māori new teachers?

Fewer Māori teachers report being unprepared when they begin teaching.

We asked new teachers how prepared they were in their first term of teaching. Forty-two percent of Māori new teachers reported they were unprepared in their first term, and 50 percent of non-Māori teachers felt unprepared. Three in 10 (30 percent) Māori new teachers reported being prepared (compared to 29 percent non-Māori).  

Figure 50: Māori and non-Māori new teacher reported preparedness when beginning teaching

Figure 50 is a graph showing Māori and non-Māori new teacher reported preparedness when beginning teaching.  30% of Māori new teachers feel prepared to begin teaching and 29% of non-Māori teachers feel prepared to begin teaching. 42% of Māori new teachers feel unprepared to begin teaching and 50% of non-Māori new teachers feel unprepared to begin teaching.

Māori new teachers are most prepared to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, work with other teachers, and create an engaging environment.

In their first term teaching, Māori new teachers are most prepared to:

  • give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • work with teachers
  • create an engaging environment
  • plan lessons
  • use their professional knowledge of teaching strategies.

Across all areas (except planning lessons, where they are equally prepared), more Māori new teachers report being prepared than non-Māori new teachers.

Figure 51: Reported capability in practice areas in first term: Māori and non-Māori new teachers

Figure 51 is a graph showing the 5 reported capability practice areas in the first term of both Māori new teachers and non-Māori new teachers.    74% of Māori and 62% of non-Māori new teachers reported capability in the practice area of professional knowledge of teaching strategies. 78% of Māori and 78% of non-Māori new teachers reported capability in the practice area of planning lessons. 80% of Māori and 69% of non-Māori new teachers reported capability in the practice area of creating an engaging environment. 80% of Māori and 76% of non-Māori new teachers reported capability in the practice area of working with other teachers. And, 82% of Māori and 56% of non-Māori new teachers reported capability in the practice area of giving effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

Māori new teachers report being least prepared in the same areas that non-Māori identified, but more are prepared than non-Māori.

While more are prepared than non-Māori new teachers, Māori new teachers report being least prepared in their first term for the same four areas:

  • managing behaviour
  • adapting teaching strategies
  • using assessment
  • working with parents and whānau.

Figure 52: Practice areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers report being not capable

Figure 52 is a graph showing the 4 practice areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers report not being capable.  17% of Māori new teachers and 31% of non-Māori new teachers report not being capable at working with parents. 19% of Māori new teachers and 25% of non-Māori new teachers report not being capable of using assessments. 19% of Māori new teachers and 28% of non Māori new teachers report not being capable of adapting teaching strategies. And, 25% of Māori new teachers and 39% of non Māori new teachers report not being capable to manage student behaviours.

Māori primary school new teachers are most prepared in their knowledge of English, te reo Māori, and health and P.E.

We asked new teachers in primary schools how prepared they were in their subject content knowledge in their first term. In their first term teaching, Māori new teachers in primary schools are most prepared in their knowledge of:

  • English (33 teachers out of 42 prepared)
  • te reo Māori (30 out of 42 prepared)
  • health and Physical Education (29 out of 42 prepared).

Significantly more Māori new teachers are prepared than non-Māori in their knowledge of te reo Māori.

Figure 53: Subject areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers feel prepared in

Figure 53 is a graph showing the three subject areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers feel prepared in.  79% of Māori and 61% of non-Māori feel prepared in English. 71% of Māori and 41% of non-Māori feel prepared in Te reo. 69% of Māori and 56% of non-Māori feel prepared in Health and Physical Education.

Māori new teachers in primary schools are least prepared in their knowledge of science, technology, and languages.

The subjects Māori new teachers feel least prepared for in their first term are:

  • languages (16 out of 41 unprepared)
  • technology (nine out of 41 unprepared)
  • arts (seven out of 42 unprepared)
  • science (six out of 42 unprepared).

Across all these subjects, a smaller proportion of Māori teachers report being unprepared than non-Māori teachers.

Figure 54: Subject areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers feel unprepared in

Figure 54 is a graph showing the four subject areas Māori and non-Māori new teachers feel unprepared in.  39% of Māori and 51% of non-Māori feel unprepared in Languages. 22% of Māori and 41% of non-Māori feel unprepared in Technology. 17% of Māori and 24% of non-Māori feel unprepared in The Arts. 14% of Māori and 36% of non-Māori feel unprepared in Science.

4) How well supported are Māori new teachers?

After their ITE, Māori new teachers typically find a job within a month.

Most Māori new teachers find a job in less than a month (62 percent, compared to 45 percent of non-Māori). It takes 24 percent one to three months to find a job (compared to 40 percent non-Māori), 10 percent three to six months to find a job (same as non-Māori), and just 4 percent longer than six months (compared to 5 percent non-Māori).

Figure 55: Time to find a job: Māori and non-Māori new teachers

Figure 55 is a graph showing the time taken by Māori and non-Māori new teachers, to find a job.  62% of Māori new teachers and 45% of non-Māori new teachers took less than a month to find a job. 24% of Māori new teachers and 40% of non-Māori new teachers took one to three months to find a job. 10% of Māori new teachers and 10% of non-Māori new teachers took three to six months to find a job.4% of Māori new teachers and 5% of non-Māori new teachers took longer than six months to find a job.

Once in the role, nearly all Māori new teachers receive an induction, and three in five find it effective.

Ninety-five percent of Māori new teachers receive an induction (compared to 92 percent non‑Māori), and 62 percent find it effective (the same as non-Māori). The induction period typically involves an introduction to school policies, which 96 percent of Māori new teachers received (compared to 92 percent non-Māori). Only half of Māori new teachers found this introduction to school policies effective (55 percent, compared to 53 percent non-Māori).

Māori new teachers receive more support.

Nearly all Māori beginning teachers receive a range of support once inducted into the role. The supports most Māori new teachers receive are:

  • mentor meetings (96 percent, compared to 93 percent non-Māori)
  • PLD (96 percent, compared to 87 percent non-Māori)
  • time to reflect on their teaching (95 percent, compared to 90 percent non-Māori)
  • observations of their teaching (95 percent, compared to 91 percent non-Māori).

Compared to non-Māori new teachers, more Māori beginning teachers receive support through:

  • observing teachers in other schools (50 percent Māori new teachers, compared to 35 percent non-Māori)
  • wellbeing check-ins (87 percent Māori compared to 74 percent non-Māori)
  • PLD (96 percent Māori compared to 87 percent non-Māori).

We know that new teachers receive more support in primary schools. More Māori new teachers receive the above forms of support regardless of if they teach at primary, or secondary schools.

Figure 56: Types of support received: Māori and non-Māori new teachers

Figure 56 is a graph showing the types of support received by Māori and non-Māori new teachers.  50% of Māori and 35% of non-Māori new teachers received the support of observing teachers in other schools.  62% of Māori and 48% of non-Māori new teachers received the support of teaching in teams.  87% of Māori and 74% of non-Māori new teachers received the support of wellbeing check-ins. 88% of Māori and 80% of non-Māori new teachers received the support of observing other teachers in their schools.  96% of Māori and 87% of non-Māori new teachers received the support of PLD.

Māori new teachers generally find the support they receive effective.

A Māori new teacher’s positive experience with induction and mentoring

A Māori teacher told us the support she received after starting at her school account for 80 percent of her ability to teach. She particularly appreciates the opportunities her school set up for her to learn from others, in addition to her regular mentor meetings. The school provide opportunities for her to connect to wider school communities and other professional development opportunities: external PLD with a university and at a conference, and regular departmental meetings with her colleagues. She noted, however, that she feels privileged to be in a school where she is supported and valued for being Māori.

She said networking with other professionals is really vital to her learning on the job. She encouraged other Māori teachers to come out of their comfort zone and develop connections with each other to develop.

The areas new Māori teachers find most effective are time to reflect on teaching (80 percent, compared to 81 percent non-Māori), observations of their teaching (78 percent, compared to 80 percent non-Māori), and PLD (78 percent, compared to 73 percent non-Māori).

 “Networking is really important. you're professionally growing as well when getting to know the wider community, seeing successful Māori in that space.” (Māori new teacher)

Māori new teachers often have extra duties alongside their normal teaching role.

We heard Māori new teachers are often asked to take on additional responsibilities to support the enactment of Te Tiriti o Waitangi across the school. For example, we heard Māori new teachers might be called on to teach te reo classes, or to provide support to the wider staff in explaining tikanga Māori. Māori new teachers take on extra workload in addition to their regular teaching responsibilities, which may impact their capacity to undertake other duties while they are in a provisional role.

“[There are] demands of the job, especially on Te Reo Māori teachers in mainstream schools who are asked to take on various other Kaupapa Māori related roles such as Teacher in Charge of Kapa Haka.” (Māori new teacher)

“The school have a relationship with the rūnanga, facilitated mostly by me, because I had the tie with them. I could do that, but I don't think I should have been the person for that.” (Māori new teacher)

We know this occurs frequently for Māori teachers overall. Previous research shows the extra cultural and pastoral workload Māori teacher take on amount to an average of five and a half more hours on top of their teaching responsibilities.(72)(73)

More Māori new teachers enjoy teaching, and they are more likely to stay in the profession.

Māori new teachers enjoy teaching more than their non-Māori colleagues. All Māori new teachers enjoy teaching (100 percent), compared to 91 percent of non-Māori new teachers.

Figure 57: Māori new teachers enjoying teaching

Figure 56 is a graph showing the percentage of Māori new teachers who enjoy teaching.   100% of Māori and 91% of non Māori new teachers enjoy teaching.

They are also more likely to see a future in teaching. Seventy-four percent of Māori new teachers think it likely they will be teaching in five years, compared to 64 percent of non-Māori new teachers. They are one and a half times more likely to stay in the profession for at least five years.

Conclusion

Like all new teachers, Māori new teachers report they start in the classroom unprepared to teach. However, more Māori new teachers report being prepared than their non-Māori colleagues in several areas of professional practice (for example, managing behaviour and adapting teaching strategies).

Once in the role, Māori teachers receive a range of supports, and are more likely to receive several key supports than non-Māori teachers. However, they are often called on to do extra duties relating to supporting tikanga and te reo Māori in the school.

Part 7: Findings and areas for action

The four key questions we asked for this evaluation have led to 17 key findings that sit across this work. Based on these findings, we have identified three areas for action, which together have the potential to strengthen pathways and support for new teachers. This section sets out our findings, areas for action, and our recommendations for improvement.

This evaluation has answered four key questions about new teachers.

  • How prepared are they when they start to teach?
  • How do pathways into teaching impact their preparedness?
  • How does their reported capability improve on the job?
  • What support on the job has the most impact on improving teachers’ reported capabilities?

Our evaluation led to 17 key findings, across four areas.       

  • Area 1: Preparedness for teaching
  • Area 2: Pathways into teaching
  • Area 3: Characteristics that support new teachers
  • Area 4: Support for on-the-job learning

Three areas for action are set out at the end of this chapter offering suggestions for how new teachers might be better set up to succeed.

Findings

Preparedness for teaching

Finding 1: Nearly all new teachers enjoy teaching.

Ninety-three percent of new teachers report they enjoy teaching.

Finding 2: Nearly two thirds (60 percent) of principals report their new teachers are unprepared.

Despite being passionate about teaching, nearly half (49 percent) of new teachers report being unprepared when they started teaching. Less than a third (29 percent) report being prepared.

Many people start in new roles or professions not feeling totally prepared, but it is concerning that only one in five principals report their new teachers are prepared for the role.

New teachers are responsible for their classes and need to be able to manage different aspects of the classroom when they start teaching, so how prepared they are matters for student outcomes.

Finding 3: New teachers and principals agree new teachers are well prepared in some areas, but are least prepared in four key areas of professional practice.

New teachers need to be prepared in a range of teaching practices. While they report being prepared in their professional knowledge of teaching strategies, working with teachers, planning lessons, and creating an engaging environment, they are least prepared for:

  • managing challenging behaviour (35 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • working with parents (27 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • adapting teaching to different students (25 percent of new teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching)
  • using assessments (particularly in primary where 32 percent of new primary teachers report they were not capable in their first term teaching).

This is very concerning, given the level of behaviour issues in our classrooms, and the need to increase the use of assessment.

Finding 4: Primary school teachers have to teach many subjects, but new primary school teachers report not being prepared to teach all subjects when they start teaching.

While they report being prepared to teach English, health and physical education, and the arts, they are less prepared to teach in five subject areas. In their first term:

  • forty-nine percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach languages
  • thirty-eight percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach technology
  • thirty-two percent report being unprepared to teach science.
  • thirty percent of new teachers report being unprepared to teach te reo Māori
  • twenty-four percent report being unprepared to teach maths.

Pathways into teaching

Finding 5: Over a quarter of new teachers find their initial teacher education ineffective.

Although half of new teachers (50 percent) reported they found their initial teacher education (ITE) effective, over a quarter (28 percent) described it as ineffective. Those who found it ineffective also report being unprepared for teaching.

Finding 6: Qualification type does not make a difference to how prepared new teachers are. But there is a significant difference in new teachers’ preparedness based on where they studied.

For graduates from universities, there is a range in how prepared they were. University graduates’ overall preparedness ranges from 20 percent to 34 percent prepared.

University graduates’ capability in their first term for different practice areas also varies significantly. For example, 51 percent of graduates from one university report being capable to manage behaviour in their first term, but only 39 percent of graduates from another university reported they were.

Finding 7: Graduates from non-university providers are twice as likely to report being prepared.

Graduates from non-university providers (including wānanga, Polytechnics/Institutes of Technology and Private Training Establishments) report being more prepared than those from universities. Overall, 26 percent of university graduates overall felt prepared, compared to 54 percent of non-university graduates.

Finding 8: New teachers who receive more time in the classroom during their teacher education report being more prepared.

School placements while studying provide student teachers opportunities to observe real classroom situations, and gradually take charge of teaching with close support and feedback. We found:

  • new teachers who spend two or more days per week in schools report being more prepared in their first term teaching
  • many new teachers face logistic or financial challenges completing their school placements, as they often have to move away from where they are studying.

Characteristics that support new teachers

Finding 9: Older new teachers report being more prepared to work with parents and whānau, and manage behaviour.

  • Just over half (51 percent) of older new teachers report being prepared to manage behaviour in their first term, compared to 42 percent of younger new teachers.
  • Nearly two thirds (65 percent) of new teachers who are 36 years old or older report being prepared to work with parents and whānau in their first term teaching. Only two fifths (40 percent) of younger new teachers report being prepared to do this.

Finding 10: Māori new teachers report being more prepared in several key areas. They are also one and a half times as likely to stay in the profession.

Key differences for Māori new teachers are set out below.

  • Fifty-nine percent of Māori new teachers report being capable managing behaviour in their first term, compared to 42 percent of non-Māori new teachers.
  • Eighty-two percent of Māori new teachers report being capable giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi, compared to 56 percent of non-Māori new teachers.
  • Māori new teachers are more likely to stay in teaching for five years or longer.

Finding 11: Teachers who achieved an excellence endorsement in NCEA Level 3 are twice as likely to stay in teaching. 

New teachers are high achievers, and this matters.

  • Ten percent of new teachers achieve NCEA Level 3 with an excellence endorsement. This is almost double the proportion of school leavers overall (6 percent).
  • Teachers who achieved Excellence in NCEA Level 3 are twice as likely to stay in teaching for five years or longer.

Support for on-the-job learning

Finding 12: New teachers often lack job security. One in three new teachers are employed on fixed term employment agreements. In primary schools this is half of new teachers.

  • Thirty-three percent of new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements.
  • Forty-nine percent of primary school new teachers are on fixed term employment agreements.
  • New teachers on fixed term employment agreements may have limited experiences of support, and lack stability of employment.

Finding 13: When they start their first job, most new teachers receive an induction. Not all inductions are good, and new teachers in schools in low socioeconomic communities are less likely to receive an induction.

  • Ninety-eight percent of new teachers in schools in high socioeconomic areas receive an induction, compared to 90 percent in low socioeconomic areas.
  • Fifty-four percent of new teachers find their introduction to school policies as part of their induction effective, but 17 percent of new teachers find their induction ineffective.

Finding 14: New teachers receive a large range of support.

Schools invest in supporting their new teachers. More than 90 percent of new teachers receive mentor meetings, have their teaching observed, and have time to reflect on their teaching.

Finding 15: Support for new teachers matters for their wellbeing, and intentions to stay in the role.

New teachers who receive wellbeing check-ins are two times more likely to see themselves in teaching for the next 5 years.

Finding 16: New teachers need to have more time observing other teachers (in their own or other schools).

  • Only 37 percent of new teachers observe teachers in other schools.
  • This is concerning, given we found observing other teachers (alongside having time to reflect on their own teaching) makes the biggest difference in new teachers’ reported capability.
  • New teachers who observe others are two times more likely to say they feel capable overall.

Finding 17: New teachers learn quickly on the job, but after two years, not all new teachers are confident in their practice.

Teachers develop their capability through their first two years’ teaching.

  • Managing behaviour and working with parents and whānau are areas where new teachers reported the biggest improvement in confidence from the first term of teaching. However, after two years, one in 10 new teachers report they are still not capable in these areas.
  • In primary schools, after one year in the job, teachers’ confidence improves in all subjects, but:
    • nine percent are still not confident in teaching maths
    • thirteen percent are not confident in teaching science
    • fifteen percent are not confident in teaching technology.

Based on these 17 key findings, ERO has identified three areas that require action to help ensure new teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand’s English-medium schools are set up to succeed.

  • Action Area 1: Attract new teachers who are most likely to have the skills and characteristics to succeed in teaching.
  • Action Area 2: Strengthen ITE programmes, focusing on the areas new teachers are least prepared.
  • Action Area 3: Provide more structured support for new teachers in their first two years.

Recommendations

Action Area 1: Attract new teachers who are most likely to have the skills and characteristics to succeed in teaching

Considering our aging teacher workforce, it is critical we attract and retain highly skilled teachers. ERO has the following recommendations:

Recommendation 1: Increase the status and the attractiveness of the profession, including options for career progression within teaching, and promoting both through careers education and to the public (Ministry of Education, Teaching Council).

Recommendation 2: Over time, raise the entry requirements into initial teacher education, particularly for maths and science, and ensure we are recruiting for the dispositions to be successful as a teacher (Teaching Council).

Recommendation 3: Remove barriers to teaching, including through reducing the cost and accessibility of initial teacher education (Government).

Recommendation 4: Further incentivise STEM graduates, those who achieved well in STEM subjects in NCEA, and those proficient in te reo Māori into teaching (Ministry of Education).

Recommendation 5: Deliberately attract more high achieving students, Māori students, and career changers into teaching (Ministry of Education).

Action Area 2: Strengthen ITE programmes, focusing on the areas new teachers are least prepared

Our findings show considerable variation in how well new teachers are prepared, depending on where they complete their ITE programme. New teachers particularly lack confidence in their ability to adapt teaching to different students, use assessment, work with parents/whānau, and manage challenging behaviour. We know that high quality, extended placement experiences, learning to teach in the classroom, are a critical driver of new teachers’ confidence, and the Teaching Council recently made changes to the minimum requirements for placement, but barriers to placements still exist. ERO has the following recommendations:

Recommendation 6: Link initial teacher education more closely to the knowledge, skills and evidence based practices teachers need to succeed in the classroom (Teaching Council, initial teacher education providers, schools).

Recommendation 7: Ensure programmes more adequately teach:

  • adapting teaching to different students
  • using assessment
  • working with parents and whānau
  • managing challenging behaviour (Teaching Council).

Recommendation 8: Reduce the variation in quality between providers.

  • Put in place stronger moderation of programmes (including student assessment) (Teaching Council and initial teacher education providers).
  • Introduce an exit assessment from initial teacher education (Teaching Council and initial teacher education providers).
  • Report on relative effectiveness of initial teacher education providers (Teaching Council).

Recommendation 9: Reduce the barriers to in-classroom training through:

  • removing financial barriers for student teachers to participate in placement, for example through a placement allowance
  • increasing the support for schools and associate teachers to host student teachers on their placement (Government).

Recommendation 10: Expand programmes which have more in-classroom training, including field-based providers (Teaching Council and Ministry of Education).

Action Area 3: Provide more structured support for new teachers in their first two years

New teachers are expected to develop their capability and confidence across their provisionally certificated period. Our findings show the importance of skilled mentor teachers to guide new teachers through this time, and the need for focused learning and support on the areas new teachers need to develop the most. ERO has the following recommendations:

Recommendation 11: Provide new teachers with greater employment certainty and stability for the critical first years, and explore guaranteed employment for the provisional certification period (Ministry of Education).

Recommendation 12: Evaluate the extent to which boards provide their new teachers with quality development and support (ERO).

Recommendation 13: Embed opportunities for new teachers to observe other teachers as part of their provisional certification period, including making it a requirement of the induction and mentoring programme for full certification (school boards, Teaching Council).

Recommendation 14: Promote the role of mentor teacher as a valuable career pathway, ensure mentor teachers are recognised for the critical role they play, and are supported to do this (Teaching Council, Ministry of Education).

Recommendation 15: Make specific professional learning a requirement to obtain full certification (Teaching Council).

Conclusion

New teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand are passionate about teaching, and have all completed dedicated qualifications to become teachers. Changes to initial teacher education alone will not turn around student achievement in Aotearoa New Zealand, and these changes will take time to translate to changes in student outcomes. It is, however, an important element of the changes we need to make, to achieve the improvement in student outcomes we want. ERO’s recommendations are designed to better set up our new teachers for success, for the benefit of Aotearoa New Zealand’s students now and into the future.

Appendix 1: Methodology

What we mean by ‘evaluation’: We are examining the education sector, and its support for new teachers. We do this through assessing the effectiveness of supports in place for new teachers, and how prepared new teachers are.

What we mean by ‘impact’: Our approach to impact is to measure new teachers recognised and reported improvements, retrospectively, and to identify components of the education system that are statistically associated these reported improvements.  Neither assessment approach suggests causality, but rather makes clear those statistically significant associations between the points of interest.

What we mean by ‘mixed-methods approach’: Our mixed-methods approach integrates and triangulates evidence from different sources in forming our findings.

Our evaluation questions

This evaluation looked at pathways, preparedness, and support for new teachers. We answered four key questions.  

  • How prepared are they when they start to teach?
  • How do pathways into teaching impact their preparedness?
  • How does their reported capability improve on the job?
  • What support on the job has the most impact on improving teachers’ reported capabilities?

Mixed methods approach to data collection

ERO used a mixed methods approach of surveys and interviews. This report draws on the voices of new teachers, principals, mentor teachers, and sector experts to understand new teachers’ experiences, and how to best support teachers during their provisional certification period. This evaluation used a complementary mix of quantitative and qualitative data sources to ensure breadth and depth in examining the key evaluation questions.

Our mixed-methods approach integrates quantitative data (IDI and surveys) and qualitative data (interviews), triangulating the evidence across these different data and sources. We used the triangulation process to test and refine our findings statements, allowing the weight of this collective data to form the conclusions.  The rigour of the data and validity of these findings were further tested through iterative sense-making sessions with key stakeholders.

Ensuring breadth to provide judgement on the key evaluation questions occurred through:

  • online survey of a sample of new teachers
  • online survey of principals
  • a literature review, administrative data, and interviews with key informants and experts
  • statistical analysis of administrative data.

Ensuring depth in understanding what good looks like and what needs to improve occurred through: 

  • interviews with new teachers
  • interviews with principals
  • interviews with mentor teachers.

Teachers’ and leaders’ reports of new teachers’ preparation, confidence, and capability

Throughout the report, we share teachers’ and leaders’ reports of new teachers’ preparation, confidence, and capability. While this is also the measure used in internation studies such as TALIS(74), new teachers’ self-reported data does not necessarily show their ability to perform the job required of them. We therefore strengthen this with principals’ observations of new teachers’ abilities.

Quantitative analysis

In our quantitative analysis, numbers and percentages are rounded to the nearest full number, except where rounding errors lead to incorrect totals.  In these instances the numbers are rounded to minimise rounding error.

In practice this means:

  • 40- > 20 (rounding error 0.4)
  • 45 -> 21 (rounding error 0.55)

To test the relationships between the relevant education-system factors and feelings of preparedness, confidence, and capability, we used logistic regression analyses. In regression analyses, our model was specified in the design stage as theoretically relevant to the outcomes of interest. These included variables that would likely influence our outcomes, and requiring control (e.g. age, gender, and school characteristics) in order to detect the effect size of our variables of interest (e.g. supports received, qualification received).

We further examine the relationships between pairs of variables, comparing school-level (Equity Index group, rurality, primary/secondary school) and person-level (age, gender, ethnicity, experience with children, length of time teaching, ITE qualification level) using the statistical tests relevant to the question and data – namely, chi-square tests and k-wallis tests.

For all tests, results were treated as significant if the p-value was equal to or less than 0.05.  

All results presented in the report are unweighted.

Interviews

Interviews with new teachers

We conducted online interviews with 23 new teachers.

New teachers volunteered for our interviews through our new teacher survey. Enough new teachers were interviewed until interviewers reached a point of saturation, where the same themes were being voiced repeatedly.

Interview questions were based on our key evaluation questions. For new teachers, questions covered eight key indicators: pathway into ITE; type of ITE; joining the profession; induction; mentoring; teaching practice; recommendations for improvement; personal reflection.

Interviews were conducted throughout September of 2023. Interviews were semi-structured, and varied dependent on each new teachers’ experience and pathways. Each interview was led by two evaluators. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, while extensive notes were also taken.

Interviews were thematically analysed inductively as the interviewer coded key themes from each interview under the main research questions. Cross-interview themes were established according to characteristics of interest, such as primary/secondary schools, Māori, or Pacific.

Quotes were gathered from verbatim recordings.

Interviews with principals

We conducted online interviews with seven school leaders.

School leaders were selected through the Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) and Teaching Council recommendations.

Interview questions were based on our key evaluation questions. For school leaders questions covered seven key indicators: employment; best pathways; best ITE; induction; mentoring; new teacher practice; recommendations for improvement.

Interviews were conducted throughout September of 2023. Interviews were semi-structured, and varied dependent on each principals involvement and expertise. Each interview was led by two evaluators. Interviews were recorded and transcribed, while extensive notes were also taken.

Similar to analysis of new teacher interviews, analysis was done thematically.

Interviews with mentor teachers

We conducted online interviews with four mentor teachers.  

Mentor teachers were selected through recommendations from Teaching Council and a Mentoring PLD provider.

The interview and analysis process mirrored that of interviews with school leaders.

Surveys

In terms of survey development, domains were developed as follows:

  • professional practice areas were derived from the effective teaching standards in the Teaching Council’s Standards for the Teaching profession
  • supports were selected from the Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring (Teaching Council), and were shaped by key experts
  • subjects were selected from curriculum areas.

Further questions were designed by the ERO team, and broadly considered for internal consistency and clarity. The subsequent questionnaires were tested with experts from the Ministry of Education, and two new teachers, and modifications made based on their feedback.

We invited all Provisionally Certificated Teachers to complete surveys. The Teaching Council emailed a link to our survey to their list of Provisionally Certificated Teachers. Principals were invited to take our survey through an email invitation from Te Ihuwaka.

We used a non-probability sampling approach, namely self-selection sampling, allowing new teachers to choose to take part in research. As part of this technique, it’s important to reach as many new teachers as possible. Teacher surveys were sent out by the Teaching Council to new teachers who graduated under the new requirements set by the Teaching Council in 2019, as well as a broader set of new teachers. Links were also sent by principals to their new teachers, peak bodies and TEFANZ, who were told to distribute the survey to their alumni database of students who have graduated from primary and secondary ITE programmes in the past three years.

Survey of new teachers

In October 2023, we received survey responses from 751 new teachers. Below is a breakdown of the new teacher participants against what we know of new teachers overall.

Demographic

Number

Percentage of participants

Population percentage (IDI)

NZ European

553

74%

82%

Māori

117

16%

12%

Pacific

35

5%

7%

Female

563

75%

79%

Male

172

23%

21%

Below is more detail on our sample that could not be compared to the overall new teacher population.

  • Ethnicity: 5 percent were Asian, and 1 percent were MELAA.
  • Region: 31 percent were from Auckland, 15 percent were from Canterbury/Chatham Islands, 12 percent were from Wellington, 10 percent were from Waikato, 8 percent were from Southland/Otago, 7 percent were from Manawatu/Whanganui/Manawatu, 5 percent were from Bay of Plenty/Waiariki, 5 percent were from Hawkes Bay/Tairawhiti, 4 percent were from Marlborough/Nelson/West Coast, and 3 percent were from Tai Tokerau.
  • Area: 74 percent were from a main urban area, 13 percent were from a minor urban area, 8 percent were from a rural area, and 5 percent were from a secondary urban area.
  • School size: 37 percent are in large schools, 28 percent are in medium schools, 25 percent are in very large schools, 8 percent are in small schools, and 2 percent are in very small schools.

Survey of principals

In October 2023, we received survey responses from 278 principals. The profile of the principals who responded is set out below.

  • Region: 28 percent were from Auckland, 13 percent were from Canterbury/Chatham Islands, 12 percent were from Wellington, 11 percent were from Southland/Otago, 10 percent were from Waikato, 8 percent were from Bay of Plenty/Waiariki, 7 percent were from Manawatu/Taranaki/Whanganui, 5 percent were from Marlborough/West Coast/Nelson, 4 percent were from Tai Tokerau, and 2 percent were from Hawkes Bay/Tairawhiti.
  • Area: 58 percent were from a main urban area, 17 percent were from a rural area, 15 percent were from a minor urban area, and 10 percent were from a secondary urban area.
  • School size: 43 percent are in medium schools, 27 percent are in large schools, 14 percent are in very large schools, 13 percent are in small schools, and 3 percent are in very small schools.

Interviews with sector experts

Interviews were conducted with 20 key experts and stakeholders across the sector in the scoping stage of our project, including experts from:

  • The Ministry of Education
  • Teaching Council
  • ITEAG
  • TEFANZ
  • Council of Deans

These were a mix of group interviews, and one-on-one interviews.

Analysis of administrative data

The Social Wellbeing Agency undertook a comprehensive statistical analysis of the characteristics and pathways of new teachers using the IDI. The IDI is a secure database containing linked and confidentialised data from many different government agencies. This analysis included an examination of new teachers’ NCEA attainment, whether they had worked prior to teaching, their ethnicity, age and gender, and their retention in teaching.

Teachers were identified on the basis of having a recorded qualification consistent with a recognised teaching qualification (degrees or graduate diplomas such as education or teaching), as well as recorded employment in March 2023 (from Inland Revenue data) in the school industry. New teachers were identified as those who did not have a record of employment in the school industry prior to 2021.

The analysis also involved creating a statistical (logistic regression) model focused on the cohort of new teachers beginning employment in the school industry in 2018, predicting whether they are still employed in schools in 2023. For more details on the methods used in this analysis, contact info@swa.govt.nz.

StatsNZ disclaimer:

Access to the data used in this study was provided by Stats NZ under conditions designed to give effect to the security and confidentiality provisions of the Data and Statistics Act 2022. The results presented in this study are the work of the author, not Stats NZ or individual data suppliers.

These results are not official statistics. They have been created for research purposes from the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) which is carefully managed by Stats NZ. For more information about the IDI please visit https://www.stats.govt.nz/integrated-data/.

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data’s ability to support Inland Revenue’s core operational requirements.

Inland Revenue Department disclaimer:

The results are based in part on tax data supplied by Inland Revenue to Stats NZ under the Tax Administration Act 1994 for statistical purposes. Any discussion of data limitations or weaknesses is in the context of using the IDI for statistical purposes, and is not related to the data’s ability to support Inland Revenue’s core operational requirements.

Analysis, sensemaking and testing of recommendations

Following analysis of the data from the surveys and interviews, external sense-making discussions were conducted to test interpretation of the results, findings, and areas for action with:

  • ERO specialists in reviewing school practice
  • key individuals and organisations in the sector (Teaching Council, Tertiary Education Commission, NZQA, Ministry of Education)
  • the project’s Steering Group, made up of ERO and Teaching Council representatives.

We then tested and refined the findings and recommendations with the following organisations to ensure they were useful and practical:

  • Ministry of Education
  • Teaching Council
  • Tertiary Education Commission
  • Steering Group.

Informed consent

Before interviewing, new teachers, principals, and mentor teachers were sent a consent form with an information sheet on the project, and how their data will be used. Participants signed their consent forms and sent them back prior to the interviews.

New teachers consented to: participate in an interview about their experiences as a new teacher, including their pathways and support; have their interview recorded; have their views inform ERO’s evaluation and report.

Principals and mentor teachers consented to: participate in an interview about their experiences as a principal/mentor teacher, including the support and guidance they supply; have their interview recorded; have their views inform ERO’s evaluation and report.

Before completing surveys and interviews, new teachers and principals were also provided with information on the project, including how their responses will be used. Participants consented to the survey by continuing onto the questionnaire.

In interviews, all participants confirmed that they consented to being recorded, and were reminded how their information may used in the evaluation.

Privacy

All data captured as part of this research was treated in accordance with the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982, Privacy Act 1993, and the Public Records Act 2005.

Audio files and notes from all interviews will be stored digitally for a period of six months after the research is completed. During this time, the data will be held in secure password protected project folders with access limited to project team members only.

Throughout the report, point estimates (e.g. proportions) are reported based on this sample of data, which were largely representative of new teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand. For simplicity, we do not report the relevant confidence intervals. You can request to see this data by emailing teihuwaka@ero.govt.nz.

[i] OECD (nd). The teaching and learning international survey. https://www.oecd.org/education/talis/

Appendix 2: Approved ITE Providers

Approved ITE providers in New Zealand are:

  • Ako Mātātupu - Teach First NZ
  • Auckland University of Technology
  • Bethlehem Tertiary Institute
  • Eastern Institute of Technology
  • ICL Graduate Diploma Teaching (ECE) Programme
  • Laidlaw College
  • Manukau Institute of Technology
  • Massey University
  • New Zealand Graduate School of Education
  • New Zealand Tertiary College (NZTC)
  • Open Polytechnic
  • Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand
  • Te Wānanga o Aotearoa
  • Te Wānanga o Raukawa
  • Te Wānanga Takiura o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori o Aotearoa
  • Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
  • Toi-Ohomai
  • UCOL
  • UNITEC Institute of Technology
  • University of Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • University of Otago
  • University of Waikato
  • Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington
  • Waikato Institute of Technology

Appendix 3: New teacher survey

Demographics

What ethnic group(s) do you belong to? (You can choose more than one)

New Zealand European / Pākehā

Māori

Samoan

Cook Island Māori

Tongan

Niuean

Fijian

Other Pacific Peoples

Chinese

Indian

Other Asian

Other European

Middle Eastern

Latin American

African

Southeast Asian

Don't know

Prefer not to say

Another ethnic group (please tell us)

 

Are you?

Female

Male

Gender diverse

Prefer not to say

Other

 

Select your age

Under 25

25-35

36-45

46-55

56+

 

Have you had any teaching role since you graduated initial teacher education?

Yes

No

 

How long have you been teaching?

Less than a term

More than a term, but less than a year

More than a year

More than two years

 

How many schools have you worked in since qualifying as a teacher?

1

2

3

4

5+

 

What are the employment contract conditions in your current role? (Tick all that apply)

Fixed-term

Parent leave cover

Permanent

 

Part-time (less than .5)

Full-time

Casual/Relieving

 

 

How long did it take you to find your first teaching job?

Less than a month

1-3 months

3-6 months

More than 6 months

 

What Education Region is your current school in?

Auckland

Tai Tokerau

Bay of Plenty / Waiariki

Canterbury / Chatham Islands

Waikato

Wellington

Hawke's Bay / Tairawhiti

Taranaki / Whanganui / Manawatu

Nelson / Marlborough / West Coast

Otago / Southland

Other (please specify)

 

 What school do you work at? (Type the first letter of your school name)

 

 What pathway best describes your journey into teacher education?

 

Went straight into studying teaching/education after school

Completed tertiary study in another area and then studied education

Worked in a different career (outside education)

Worked in schools or ECE services (without studying education)

Other (please specify)

 

Do you have experience working with children or young people, outside of a school or ECE context?

Yes

No

 

What is your initial teacher education qualification? (Tick all that apply)

Bachelors degree in primary teaching

Bachelors degree in secondary teaching

Graduate diploma in primary teaching

Graduate diploma in secondary teaching

Post-graduate diploma in primary teaching

Post-graduate diploma in secondary teaching

Master’s degree in primary teaching

Master’s degree in secondary teaching

ECE qualification

Employment based initial teacher education

 

Where did you receive your initial teacher education qualification?

 

Overall, how effective did you find your initial teacher education at preparing you for your first teaching role?

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

 

How long was the school-based component of your initial teacher education?

Up to 6 weeks in a year

More than 6 weeks in a year

2 to 3 days every week

Fully delivered in school

Other (please specify)

 

If you are a secondary teacher, what subjects do you teach?

 

What was your undergraduate specialisation in? (If applicable)

 

Have you ever been on a fixed-term contract in teaching?

Yes

No

 

How many hours of release time do you have in a week?

Less than 4 hours

4 hours/half day

8 hours/1 day

More than 8 hours

Not applicable

 

Thinking back to your first term of teaching, how prepared did you feel overall for the role?

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

 

In your first term of teaching as a Provisionally Certificated teacher:

 How capable did you feel:

 

In your professional knowledge of teaching strategies

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Planning lessons

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Adapting teaching strategies for learners        

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Creating an engaging learning environment

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Managing classroom behaviour

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Working with parents and whānau

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Working with other teachers and teacher aides

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi in your teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Using assessments to inform teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

How prepared do you think you were in your subject content knowledge:

English

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Te reo Māori

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

The Arts

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Health and physical education

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Learning languages

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Mathematics and statistics

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Science

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Social sciences

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

Technology

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

The following questions are about the support you have received since you started teaching

 

In the last term, how often did you receive the following support?

 

Time to look at school policies and procedures (e.g. behaviour management and

restraint policies)

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

One-on-one mentor meeting

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Support with assessment and planning

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Support with resourcing

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Formal wellbeing check in

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observations and feedback on your teaching

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observation of other teachers in your school

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observation of teachers in other schools

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Team teaching with experienced teachers

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Time to reflect on your teaching practice

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Targeted PLD

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

How effective have you found the following elements of support in your current teaching role?

 

General induction

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Time to look at school policies and procedures (e.g. behaviour management and

restraint policies)

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

One-on-one mentor meeting

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Support with assessment and planning

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Support with resourcing

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Formal wellbeing check in

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Observations and feedback on your teaching

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Observation of other teachers in your school

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Observation of teachers in other schools

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Team teaching with experienced teachers

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Time to reflect on your teaching practice

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Targeted PLD

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

I haven't received this

 

Overall, how capable do you feel in your role now?

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Thinking about your current teaching practice:

 

How capable do you feel now:

 

In your professional knowledge of teaching strategies

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Planning lessons

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Adapting teaching strategies for learners        

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Creating an engaging learning environment

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Managing classroom behaviour

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with parents and whānau

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with other teachers and teacher aides

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi in your teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Using assessments to inform teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 How confident do you think you are now in your subject content knowledge:

 

English

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Te reo Māori

Very unprepared

Unprepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Prepared

Very prepared

Not applicable

 

The arts

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Health and physical education

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Learning languages

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Mathematics and statistics

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Science

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Social sciences

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

Technology

Very unconfident

Unconfident

Neither confident or unconfident

Confident

Very confident

Not applicable

 

 Do you work in a bilingual unit?

Yes

No

 

If yes, how effective was your initial teacher education in preparing you to work in your bilingual context?

Very ineffective

Ineffective

Neither effective or ineffective

Effective

Very effective

 

Do you enjoy teaching?

Yes

No

 

How likely are you to be teaching in 5 years?

Very unlikely

Unlikely

Neither likely or unlikely

Likely

Very likely

 

What would you recommend ITE providers do to help new teachers?

What would you recommend school leaders do to support new teachers once they have started teaching?

Appendix 4: Principal survey

What Education Region is your current school in?

Auckland

Tai Tokerau

Bay of Plenty / Waiariki

Canterbury / Chatham Islands

Waikato

Wellington

Hawke's Bay / Tairawhiti

Taranaki / Whanganui / Manawatu

Nelson / Marlborough / West Coast

Otago / Southland

Other (please specify)

 

 What school do you work at? (Type the first letter of your school name)

 

How many Provisionally Certificated Teachers are currently employed at your school?

None

1-3

4-6

More than 6

 

How long did it take you to recruit a qualified new teacher for your most recent vacancy? (if applicable)

Less than a month

1-3 months

3-6 months

More than 6 months

 

How easy or difficult has it been to retain new teachers in the past 3 years?

Very easy

Somewhat easy

Neither easy nor difficult

Somewhat difficult

Very difficult

 

How many hours of release time do/does your new teacher/s receive in a week?

Less than 4 hours

4 hours/half day

8 hours/1 day

More than 8 hours

I don't know

 

In your experience, which pathway into initial teacher education best prepares new

teachers for the teaching role?

Went straight into studying teaching/education after school

Completed tertiary study in another area and then studied education

Worked in a different career (outside education) and then studied education

Worked in schools or ECE services (without studying education)

Other (please specify)

 

In your experience, which type of initial teacher education best prepares new teachers for the teaching role? (Tick all that apply)

Bachelor’s degree in teaching

Graduate diploma in teaching

Post graduate diploma in teaching

Master’s degree in teaching

ECE qualification

Employment based initial teacher education

 

Have you been invited to contribute to the design of the ITE programme(s)?

Yes

No

 

Does your school have a partnership with one or more ITE providers?

Yes

No

 

Thinking about Provisionally Certificated Teachers in your school, who graduated from their initial teacher education in the last three years:

 

Overall, how prepared for teaching do you feel they were in their first term of

teaching?

Very prepared

Prepared

Neither prepared or unprepared

Unprepared

Very unprepared

 

How capable do you feel your new teacher/s are in the following areas in their first term of teaching:

 

In your professional knowledge of teaching strategies

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Planning lessons

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Adapting teaching strategies for learners        

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Creating an engaging learning environment

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Managing classroom behaviour

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with parents and whānau

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with other teachers and teacher aides

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi in your teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Using assessments to inform teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

We would like to know if your induction and mentoring programmes for new teacher/s include the following and how often they occur:

Time to look at school policies and procedures (e.g. behaviour management and

restraint policies)

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

One-on-one mentor meeting

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Support with assessment and planning

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Support with resourcing

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Formal wellbeing check in

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observations and feedback on your teaching

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observation of other teachers in your school

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Observation of teachers in other schools

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Team teaching with experienced teachers

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Time to reflect on your teaching practice

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

Targeted PLD

Weekly

Fortnightly

Monthly

Not applicable

Only once

 

How capable do you feel your new teacher/s are now in the following areas:

In their professional knowledge of teaching strategies

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Planning lessons

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Adapting teaching strategies for learners        

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

 

Creating an engaging learning environment

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Managing classroom behaviour

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with parents and whānau

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Working with other teachers and teacher aides

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Giving effect to te Tiriti o Waitangi in your teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

Using assessments to inform teaching

Very incapable

Somewhat incapable

Neither capable or incapable

Somewhat capable

Very capable

 

What are your recommendations for improvements in initial teacher education to better prepare New Teachers for the job?

What are your recommendations for improvements to “on the job” support for New Teachers?

Appendix 5: TALIS (2013) and TALIS (2018)

The OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS) is a large scale, international survey designed to gather the inputs from teachers on key areas, such as professional learning and development, the beliefs and attitudes about teaching and practice, the support that teachers received. Over 50 OECD countries and partner economies participate.

TALIS provides an opportunity for participants to provide input into educational policy analysis and development. Cross-country analyses provide the opportunity to compare countries facing similar challenges and to learn about different policy approaches and their impact on the learning environment in schools.

Internationally, TALIS has been held three times. Previous cycles were conducted in 2008, 2013, and 2018. New Zealand teachers for Year 7-10 participated in TALIS in the 2013 and 2018 cycles.

Key findings from TALIS 2013

New Zealand teachers are more confident than the TALIS average on several areas of teaching practice, such as:

  • making expectations about students’ behaviours clear (94 percent, compared to 91 percent*)
  • getting students to follow classroom rules (90 percent, compared to 89 percent)
  • providing an alternative explanation (96 percent, compared to 92 percent*)
  • implementing alternative instructional strategies (82 percent, compared to 77 percent*)
  • getting students to believe they can do well in school work (91 percent, compared to 86 percent*)
  • helping students value learning (86 percent, compared to 81percent*)
  • helping students think critically (83 percent compared to 80 percent*).

New Zealand teachers are similarly confident, or just very closely below, the TALIS average in areas such as:

  • controlling disruptive behaviour (87 percent)
  • calming a student who is disruptive or noisy (85 percent)
  • motivating students who show low interest in school work (70 percent)
  • using a variety of assessment strategies (81 percent, compared to 82 percent)
  • crafting good questions for students (85 percent, compared to 87 percent*).

New Zealand teachers spent more class time on teaching and learning (81 percent, compared to 79 percent TALIS average*), and less class time on keeping order (12 percent, compared to 13 percent TALIS average) and administrative tasks (7 percent, compared to 8 percent*).

New Zealand teachers participated in professional development more than TALIS average (97 percent, compared to 88 percent).

(*) statistically significant

Key findings from TALIS 2018

  • New Zealand teachers reported more confidence to support student learning through the use of digital technology than OECD average (76 percent, compared to 67 percent).
  • New Zealand teachers reported similar levels of confidence in making their expectations about student behaviour clear (94 percent, compared to 91 percent), and using a variety of assessment strategies (79 percent, compared to 80 percent).
  • However, there has been a slight drop in confidence in classroom management, using a range of assessment strategies for New Zealand teachers, compared to TALIS 2013.
  • New Zealand teachers also reported a reduction in class time spent teaching and an increase in class time spent on keeping order and administration tasks since the 2013 survey.
  • Almost all teachers (98 percent) had engaged in some professional development in the past 12 months.  The largest reported barrier to participation in professional development was that it conflicts with the teacher’s work schedule (56 percent).

Comparing experienced teachers and new teachers:

  • New Zealand experienced teachers reported more confidence than new teachers in managing behaviour and using assessments.
  • They are similarly confidence compared to new teachers in engaging students in learning.
  • They are less confidence than new teachers in using digital technology.

Regarding new teachers:

  • New teachers were generally well-prepared to enter the teaching profession.New Zealand teachers were asked which of 10 teaching elements had been covered in their formal education or training. On average, they reported covering eight of these elements.
  • Almost all (96 percent) novice teachers reported engaging in formal or informal induction at their first or current school.
  • Fifty-six percent of novice teachers (with fewer than five years teaching experience) had an assigned mentor at their current school, significantly more than the OECD average of 22 percent.

Sources:

Appendix 6: Recent New Zealand research

ERO (2017) Newly graduated teachers (NGTs): Preparation and confidence to teach 

ERO has found a lack of confidence in the selection, professional education and capabilities of many NGTs as they enter the profession. These concerns are compounded by systemic issues such as variation in ITE programmes and components of theory and practice, and lack of clarity about the expectations and relative responsibilities of ITE providers and associate teachers in supporting student teachers.

Key findings from the reports are set out below.

About the system:

  • At the system level, teacher shortages continue in areas of greatest need, such as science, digital technology, and mathematics, and of teachers with particular knowledge and skills such as te reo Māori.
  • NGTs had difficulties in gaining initial permanent employment. This reduces NGTs’ confidence that they will be able to complete their full certification requirements with the support and guidance they need.

About the ITE:

  • There were a number and variety of ITE providers and programmes, but opinions are mixed about the relative merit of different programmes.
  • School leaders expressed concern about processes for selection for entry into ITE. Many look for the personal qualities of graduates rather than relying on their ITE to prepare them for the workforce.
  • Many NGTs reported insufficient opportunities to learn the practice of teaching and to understand the depth and breadth of the curriculum. They also reported variable quality of guidance by associate teachers during the ITE period.
  • NGTs said it was useful to have practicum opportunities across contexts during their ITE
  • Associate teachers play an important role in mentoring, coaching, and assessing students teachers.

About NGTs’ preparedness and confidence:

  • NGTs are emerging from their ITE programmes needing to substantially develop their understanding of:
    • pedagogy and curriculum: school leaders said NGTs had foundational, theoretical understanding, but did not know how to apply it in practice to teach diverse groups of children, manage behaviours, promote bicultural practice and social competence
    • assessment practice: NGTs are not prepared to use assessment information to inform teaching strategies, and to use different assessment approaches and techniques. This is the areas with the weakest link between theory and practice
    • working with parents and whānau: NGTs did not usually get opportunities to work with parents and whānau in practicum. This impact their confidence in working collaboratively with parents and whānau, especially on children’s learning and behaviours.

Supporting early career teachers and kaiako: Experiences of mentoring, induction, and PLD. NZCER (2023). Watson, S., Boyd, S. & Maguire, T.

This report explores the support that early career teachers and kaiako (ECT|K) in English‑medium early childhood education, primary, and secondary centres need.

Overall Findings

  • Induction practices varied a lot between centres and sectors.
  • Mentors and release time are valued, but this support varies.
  • PLD was valued, but many were not aware of it.
  • New Teachers and mentors value support networks, and want more.
  • New Teachers need ongoing learning about key aspects of practice.
  • New Teachers need wellbeing support.
  • Māori and Pacific teachers need their expertise explicitly valued.

Pathways

Māori and Pacific ECT|K had strong drivers for being a teacher that included a clear sense of wanting to make a difference to ensure ākonga got a better educational experience than past generations. They were passionate about contributing to their community. This workload tension was evident for the Māori ECT|K we talked to, who were often asked to take on extra roles as cultural and reo Māori champions.

ITE experiences

Most valued aspects of ITE were:

  • practicum placements were the most highly valued aspect of ITE
  • the networks of peers ECT|K built during ITE
  • Māori and Pacific ECT|K valued the way ITE acknowledged their cultural identities and focused on diversity.

What needed to improve:

  • ITE courses were too weighted towards theory, rather than the practical aspects of teaching that they were now experiencing on the job. Many felt they developed most of their curriculum knowledge in their first year of teaching and would have valued more opportunities to do practical assignments that focused on exploring the curriculum or planning.
  • Variability in induction processes. Some teachers had a comprehensive just-in-time induction that continued throughout the year. Others had a one-day session that covered a few aspects of practice, and some had no formal induction.

Support

Mentoring

Teachers reported that their in-centre mentor was their primary form of support. There was a wide variety of mentoring programme approaches. The quality of the mentor varied - some teachers felt their mentor wasn’t well equipped to provide them with the support they needed and some needed more time with their mentors.

It was common for teachers to have more than one mentor, particularly if they worked in a larger primary or secondary school, or a mentor who worked with them on a specific aspect of their practice. They valued mentors who were adaptive and responded to their immediate support needs. In smaller schools, their mentor also acted as their appraiser.

Wellbeing

Almost all felt having access to quality wellbeing support was critical to their developing self-image as an emerging teacher However, their experiences of this support varied.

PLD

There were three main areas of PLD and support networks that ECT|K thought were particularly important. These were: access to and awareness of external PLD; formal communities of practice; and access to expert cultural support.

External PLD was viewed by many teachers as being an essential part of their ongoing learning and development. The majority of teachers in this study had not attended external PLD for PCT.  However, those who had attended were mostly positive about their experience. A key challenge for many teachers was knowing about external PLD opportunities. Teachers based in more rural areas had fewer opportunities for face-to-face PLD.

Support networks

Being connected with other new teachers was considered a critical form of support.

Teachers wanted better communication about the range of support networks that were available, including access to local communities of practice.

Who Teaches the Teachers? Reforming Initial Teacher Education in New Zealand. New Zealand Initiative (2023). Johnston, M. & Martin, S.

This presents an analysis of the ITE programmes currently offered by New Zealand’s universities and recommends ways to improve ITE for primary and secondary education.

Analysis includes:

  • there are difficulties with using the Standards for the Teaching Profession to ensure effective practice and consistency of ITE assessment
  • allocation of suitable mentors is often ad hoc, may vary in quality, mentor roles carry considerable workload and responsibility are not well remunerated
  • implementation of release time for new teachers may sometimes be compromised by staff shortages
  • coursework in ITE programmes focuses on the wrong elements. It is overly sociocultural and mostly neglects teaching practice supported by scientific evidence
  • ITE programmes do not pay sufficient attention to assessment literacy or pedagogical content knowledge, especially in mathematics and science
  • teachers-in-training have too little practicum experience, and the quality of support and feedback they receive from associate teachers is too variable. There is also insufficient connection between coursework and practice in both timing and substance
  • sociocultural pedagogies dominating university-based ITE do not encourage teachers-in-
  • training to see themselves as causal in their students’ learning
  • delivering and supporting practicum through universities presents practical difficulties (e.g. constraints on timetabling) and challenges in integrating theory and practice
  • the assessment of classroom readiness is also too variable, in part because there are too many associate teachers to make the process reliable, and in part because the assessment criteria are insufficiently based on effective teaching practice.

Recommendations are to:

  1. repeal and replace Education and Training Act 2020 to strengthen the registration and certification of teachers. Amending this Act to enable more than one professional body for the teaching profession to be established would promote competition between different bodies and provide incentives for providers to offer quality ITE
  2. encourage alternative approaches to ITE for example, by removing the need for ITE staff in universities to carry out research and prioritising teaching, and credentialing teacher educators
  3. professional support for teachers-in-training and early-career teachers. This could involve accreditation of associate and mentor teachers on demonstration of highly effective pedagogy and curriculum knowledge, and targeted funding for professional development for experienced teachers working in challenging school environments.

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