More than 7300 overseas teachers are keen to work in New Zealand, of which nearly 1000 have been screened and are available for interviews, says the Ministry of Education.

The ministry has projected a shortage of 850 teachers this year.

Ellen MacGregor-Reid, the ministry's Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement, said its recruitment agencies are now supporting the teachers to be considered for roles, having interviews, accepting job offers and completing all the requirements to come to New Zealand.

"There has also been an ongoing focus on growing the number of Kiwi teachers. We want to help beginning teachers start their careers, as much as attracting career-changers into the profession.

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"At the same time we are encouraging Kiwis to return to teaching if they have taken a break or, if they are overseas, to teach here again," MacGregor-Reid said.

The Secondary Principals' Association has asked the Government to expand the Teach First NZ scheme, which provides nine weeks of intensive training before giving trainees control of classes.

The ministry plans to continue to support principals with their teaching vacancies beyond the start of the first term and well into the school year with a range of supply initiatives.

"If principals have any remaining teaching vacancies that they would like help to fill, we urge them to get in touch.

"Our focus has been on making available sufficient qualified teachers for principals to consider for vacancies, through a comprehensive and expanded supply package," MacGregor-Reid said.