The recommendations of the Secondary Teacher Supply Working Group cover a range of ideas for recruiting and retaining teachers, tweaks to scholarships and so forth. However, the fundamental issue of teacher base salary pay and value of units and middle management allowances (MMAs) is the elephant in the room that the combined group failed to address.
A significant improvement to teacher salaries required
While we have kept teachers’ salaries on or above the increases in the CPI throughout the recession they have suffered, as all public sector pay increases have, from the State Services Commission’s refusal to allow public sector salary settlements to be higher than those of the private sector. This has further weakened the relativity of teachers’ salaries compared to the New Zealand median salary - see
Teacher Supply (extract from 2017 PPTA Annual conference paper - PPTA industrial strategy for 2018 – and beyond!).
For example in 2004 teachers’ top of the basic scale (TBS) salary was 1.81 times higher than the annualised median income, and by 2016 this relativity had reduced to 1.58. Had the TBS kept pace with increases in median wage and salary change between 2004 and 2016 it would now be $86,987.
Increase value of units and middle management allowances (MMAs) needed
Also, while we have had some slight increases in a few allowances, we have had no increase in the value of units since 2009 or of MMAs since they were first introduced in 2005.
Address relativity between middle management units and the Within School Teacher (WST) role allowances
There are, of course, other specific issues that impact on recruitment and retention which will need to be addressed in this round. A major one is the issue of relativity between middle management units and the Within School Teacher (WST) role allowances, both in time and money. We pointed this out repeatedly in the Investing in Educational Success (IES) working groups and in the subsequent negotiations for the allowances of this role and gave prior warning to the ministry that the value and time allowances for units and MMAs would need to be addressed in the collective agreement round after the Community of Learning (CoL) positions have begun to be filled in schools.
Address teacher supply issues into the next decade
We have a triple whammy beginning to seriously erode teacher supply at this time.
- A large proportion of ‘baby boomer’ teachers will leave the teaching workforce in the next 10 years.
- More teachers are leaving teaching to take up more rewarding careers early or mid- career.
- Fewer people are being attracted into teaching.
The report of the Supply Working Group identified the workforce trends and current issues as being:
- The workforce is ageing. 45.4% of secondary teachers are over 50 years of age.
- Fewer beginning teachers are entering the profession, and the proportion that start in permanent full time positions has lessened considerably.
- There is a high rate of attrition among beginning secondary teachers. Just under half leave teaching within the first five years of joining the profession.
- There are not enough new teachers in the sciences (including physics, biology, and chemistry), technology, mathematics and Te Reo Māori to meet demand.
- Teacher vacancies are increasing. Following the 10 year low during the global financial crisis, job advertisements are rising, and we expect this trend to continue in the short to medium term.
- Teacher shortages create pressure across the education pathway and impact on student achievement. Employers report that they are forced to compromise on quality to fill positions.
- Supply and demand issues are nuanced, differ by school and location, and are being experienced across deciles. There is a concentration of issues in Auckland, but also in some regions and rural areas particularly in sciences, technology engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and Te Reo Māori.
The forecasts of increased secondary student rolls indicate the need for serious increases of teacher numbers immediately and secondary rolls will continue to rise for the next nine years.
If the ministry is serious about alleviating the dramatic teacher shortages from now on, it will have to consider measures to reduce the shortages of today and keep pace with those predicted over the next decade. However it is likely they will continue with their ostrich-like refusal to address the impending crisis unless pressured very strongly by our members, both teachers and principals, and by our allies in the wider community.
Teacher Supply (extract from 2017 PPTA Annual conference paper - PPTA industrial strategy for 2018 – and beyond!)