Nicholas Jones is a New Zealand Herald political reporter.

Fast-track teacher scheme Teach First NZ to be extended

Teach First NZ graduate Matthew Dadley at Mangere College. Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the scheme will be fast-tracked. Photo / Michael Craig.
Teach First NZ graduate Matthew Dadley at Mangere College. Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced the scheme will be fast-tracked. Photo / Michael Craig.

A fast-track teaching scheme that has been at the centre of legal action by an education union will be expanded.

The Teach First NZ scheme attracts top university graduates and, after an intensive training programme, puts them in a paid teacher position in a low-decile secondary school for two years.

It has proven popular with principals at schools where graduates have been employed.

Education Minister Hekia Parata announced today that the programme would be extended for a further three years, and would be expanded to include more places for teachers focussed on science, technology and maths.

"This means there will be up to 50 newly trained teachers from this programme by the end of 2018."

The extension of the Teach First programme comes after legal action taken by the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA).

That resulted in the Employment Relations Authority rule that the Teach First scheme had been breaking the law.

That was because it places selected graduates into teaching positions that are not advertised.

With the long-term future of the programme unclear, an agreement was reached between the Ministry of Education, Teach First NZ, the University of Auckland and PPTA.

All parties agreed that Teach First NZ participants would now apply and be considered for jobs in schools alongside other teachers.

The PPTA considered the spirit of that agreement had been undermined by Parata when in June she introduced an amendment to education legislation, which would create a separate employment process for student teachers.

Act leader David Seymour said the decision to extend Teach First was a good one.

"If programs like Teach First are producing better results than traditional teacher training, then so be it. The purpose of teacher qualification should be to improve outcomes for students, not to protect the status quo."

Teach First


• Takes high-achieving university graduates for its on-the-job training programme.
• Begins with an intensive residential programme.
• Graduates then move in to low-decile schools. They are paid a full-time salary but have a maximum of 12 hours a week contact time with students. Mentoring is ongoing.
• Had 300 applications for its 20 places for 2016.

- NZ Herald

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