The current shortage in New Zealand as a whole and in Auckland in particular, is affecting childcare centres like Te Atatu South Childcare, despite their excellent working conditions and the well known mana of the centre, and their strong, dedicated teaching team that have been together for a number of years.
Just over half of New Zealand primary schools say they do not have all the teachers they need, and a survey by the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) has found that 30 per cent of primary school principals say there are no suitable applicants for the jobs they need to fill. More than half (52 per cent) said they did not have all the teachers they need this term, and 28 per cent have had to increase class sizes this term because they can't find enough teachers.
The teacher shortage has been a major justification for the pay claim, as the institute says it has become harder to recruit teachers as their starting salaries, now $49,588 a year, have slipped from 25 per cent above the national median wage in 2001 to 1 per cent below the median last year. NZEI president Lynda Stuart said children's education was suffering already and without urgent action, the crisis was destined to become a disaster. "This is why we had a day of action on August 15 – this is desperate and the Government has to take the bold steps to make teaching a sustainable career choice again. We simply can't wait," she said.
Auckland's primary schools will soon have 100 unfilled vacancies and principals around the country are nervous about finding enough teachers for 2019, school leaders say. Meanwhile, universities said schools were trying to recruit students graduating from teacher education this year. University of Waikato associate dean of education Bev Cooper said schools had been asking the university for letters so they could employ graduating teachers in term four. "More students have been requesting that type of information and more schools are saying we would like to use these student teaches as relievers in term four.”