Government announces $9.5m teacher shortage package

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has announced an emergency fund of $9.5 million to address a "major shortage of teachers".

The money will go toward urgently recruiting teachers for next year from the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and Fiji.

It will also expand the voluntary bonding scheme for new teachers in low decile schools in Auckland, and will be used to pay the practising certificates of experienced teachers to continue teaching or to lure back retired teachers.

Mr Hipkins says the money will be available immediately, with a priority for teachers in the area of science, technology, maths and te reo Māori.

"Principals have been telling the Government for many months they are desperately trying to plug a major shortage of teachers in locations such as Auckland," he says.

"After years of ignoring the problem, National’s late and panicked promise to help had zero funding attached to it."

Mr Hipkins says the money will also be available for schools needing to attract and retain teachers with limited authority to teach in skill areas that are in short supply.

"The funding, which is approved by Cabinet, will support more graduates into permanent teaching positions, support experienced teachers back into the profession and recruit new graduates into teaching," he explained.

Cabinet approved the emergency funding boost on Monday.