Stress of the job is one of the factors being blamed for teachers and principals quitting their jobs at state and state-integrated Rotorua schools.

New data, released to the Rotorua Daily Post under the Official Information Act, showed 109 teachers and six principals voluntarily left their jobs in the Rotorua District in the first 10 months of last year.

Of those, 14 resigned, six retired, 25 transferred to another school and 15 left the education service altogether.

The 109 compared with just 79 teachers leaving in 2015, 144 in 2016 and 123 in 2017.


No principals left in 2015 but four left in both 2016 and 2017.

The figures come amid continuing discussions between the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Education Institute and off the back of strike action in 2018.

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh said teachers left their roles last year for a variety of reasons.

"We had six leave last year and the reasons are indicative of the teaching profession currently.

John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh. Photo / File
John Paul College principal Patrick Walsh. Photo / File

"I had two leave for an international school in China with better pay conditions. Another left to become an engineer because he didn't see a future in teaching.

"It's very sad, we're losing the best and the brightest."

Walsh said he had spoken with the school's 170 or so Year 13 students recently and just one wanted to be a teacher.

"Students see what teachers do, the extra work, the stress. While they admire the commitment, they don't want that for themselves."


Walsh said without an adjustment in wages "we're putting at risk the future education of our children".

Rotorua Principal's Association chairman and Mokoia Intermediate principal Rawiri Wihapi said stress and high workloads could be contributing to teachers and principals leaving.

"We are not just dealing with children with difficult behaviour anymore, it's extreme. And that extreme means there's not enough help out there for those children.

"Dealing with children with high anxiety is something we have not experienced or had professional development around.

"It's a whole different kettle of fish."

Wihapi said while Government action could help with teacher and principal retention, it was also up to schools to address stress.

"Part of it is to ensure teachers have resources to be able to do what we want them to do and put in place systems that are thorough."

Among the teachers to have left was Pracey Gregory-Holmes who taught full time for two and a half years.

"I love teaching itself but it's everything else that goes with it. It's a really hard job.

"It's a love-hate job. You love the kids and the results you get but it's also disheartening, it wears you down.

"Because you're spread so thin you're trying to do everything for everyone."

Gregory-Holmes now spends her days with her young son and relieves occasionally. She said she wouldn't want to go back to fulltime teaching.

Otonga Rd Primary School principal Linda Woon said the figures didn't surprise her.

Otonga Road Primary School principal Linda Woon. Photo / File
Otonga Road Primary School principal Linda Woon. Photo / File

"We've got a range of factors ... the stress, the workload, poor work-life balance and the pay simply doesn't recompense."

Ministry of Education deputy secretary of early learning and student achievement Ellen MacGregor-Reid said the Government had committed an extra $10.5 million to help boost teacher supply in October 2018 on top of $29.5m announced in 2017.

At a Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) meeting in Rotorua earlier this month, president Jack Boyle announced association members would strike on April 3 if pay negotiations weren't resolved.

Post Primary Teachers' Association president Jack Boyle. Photo / File
Post Primary Teachers' Association president Jack Boyle. Photo / File

On Monday members of New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa will have a paid union meeting to discuss whether to accept the Ministry of Education's latest offer or refuse it.

President Lynda Stuart said the issues in the offer tied in with teachers and principals leaving their jobs.

"A number of principals are finding they are just not getting the time they need to do the job they know is absolutely essential.

"Teachers are feeling exactly the same they are just not getting the time and support they need.

"A number have found the load is just too much so they have decided to leave."

NZEI national president Lynda Stuart. Photo / File
NZEI national president Lynda Stuart. Photo / File