Budget 2024: Education Minister Erica Stanford seeks to boost teaching workforce by 1500

The Government will spend almost $53 million on recruitment drives aiming to boost the teaching workforce by 1500.  

Unveiling the pre-Budget announcement on Sunday morning, Education Minister Erica Stanford said the $53m would fund 1200 school onsite training programmes over four years, 425 overseas finders' fees and extend the overseas relocation grant for 300 teachers wanting to come to New Zealand. 

In addition, 670 study awards and support grants for current teachers would be offered each year for "professional learning and development".  

Stanford said the $53m would help attract, train and retain teachers.  

"We are being proactive in addressing the forecast future need for teachers, with recent estimates showing up to 680 more secondary teachers could be needed within the next three years."  

Stanford said the Government was trying to address demand by "growing the domestic and overseas pipeline of teachers".  

"Our Government is committed to delivering better public services. These initiatives provide much needed support and stability of funding for these critical frontline positions."  

The Coalition had listened to principals who had stressed "the importance of new trainees spending more time in the classroom with experienced mentors", Stanford said.  

"With this significant investment in our teachers, a knowledge-rich curriculum, investment of $67 million over four years into structured literacy and a focus on teaching the basics brilliantly, this coalition Government will lift student achievement to ensure all Kiwi kids can reach their full potential."

Labour's education spokesperson Jan Tinetti said continuing the previous Labour Government's work on teacher training and bringing more teachers into New Zealand is a good thing.

"In Government we added more than 1300 teachers in just over 12 months, Erica Stanford's plan to grow the amount by 1500 over four times as long will go nowhere near as far," she said in a statement.

"It's a shame the Government is picking and choosing education targets based on what they see as easiest to achieve and is refusing to commit to a target on ending New Zealand's teacher shortage.

"Currently there are over 80 pathways to becoming a teacher in New Zealand, today's announcement also does nothing to ensure consistency across teacher education programmes to build better outcomes."