The Teaching Council has signalled that it’s time to ‘grasp the nettle’ of major change to the way primary teachers are prepared when they enter the teaching profession – and that’s going to cost.

“We welcome the interest that the Government and others are bringing to the area of teacher preparation,” said Teaching Council Chief Executive Lesley Hoskin. “Now let’s knuckle down and make the changes that we know are needed.”

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers have been working hard to ensure their graduate teachers are well prepared, and the mentor teachers in schools are heroes of our system. The Council believes teachers, both new and experienced, are passionate, dedicated and capable. But for too long they have been let down by a system that doesn’t give them the structure or the resources they need.

Hoskin continues, “the teaching profession, including the Teaching Council, has been advising Governments for many years about the changes that are needed. In 2017 we set out the following roadmap towards Positioning Teaching as a Postgraduate Profession”:

  • A post-graduate qualification becoming the benchmark for entry to the teaching profession.
  • Ensuring that the programme design, quality, rigour, and expectations meets the expectations of an advanced qualification.
  • Attracting higher calibre candidates into teaching through higher entry requirements;
  • Ensuring all graduate teachers have subject knowledge relevant to the curriculum, in particular English, maths, and science.
  • Providing greater opportunities to undertake practice-related research and lift data literacy.
  • Rationalising the range of programmes and ensure greater consistency across provision.

To make it work requires investment – in programme design, delivery, paying teachers what they need during placement and after they graduate, and resourcing schools to deliver a high-quality coherent programme on induction and mentoring.

“Our country has got to stop cutting corners on teacher preparation (pre- and post- qualification) to fit the amount of money that’s been made available,” says Hoskin. “I’m signalling today that the Teaching Council is going to ‘grasp the nettle’ and set out the system we want and need. Then, of course, we’ll work with Government about how to pay for it. But the cash needs to fit what’s needed, not the other way around.”

The Teaching Council wants to start with a focus on primary teaching. A number of particular challenges have been identified with the preparation of teachers entering primary schools. The Teaching Council also believes we have an historic opportunity, because we’re in a rare demographic ‘sweet spot’ where teacher supply isn’t a binding constraint at primary level now.

The Teaching Council will work with the teaching profession and everyone else involved in teacher preparation to re-test our roadmap from 2017 and update it to take account of changes in technology, impacts and learnings from COVID-19, and the latest research. We’ll ensure that programmes incorporate a strong and well-supported experience component and maintain a focus on diversity of new teachers, by creating more pathways into teaching. We will work with the Māori-medium sector to ensure the approach is appropriate and suited for their needs.

Hoskin says, “we’ll present this to Government as a bold way to achieve the step forward we need. This is the change that people have been calling for, and no one more so than the profession itself. How fast we can move towards it will depend on the ability and willingness of the Government to make the necessary financial commitment.”

(*Please note, if taking quotes from this press release, please attribute them to Teaching Council CE, Lesley Hoskin.)

For more information:
Holly Scotson – Media
Phone: 021 191 8928