The teachers union says the record number of vacancies at early childhood centres proves it’s sadly no longer a desirable career for many people.
The number of jobs on offer at ECE’s has doubled in the last six months reaching 500 vacancies, that’s 48 per cent higher than six months ago.
“People are having to readvertise two, three, four times to find teachers,” says NZEI’s Virginia Oakly.
“What this shows is that early childhood education is not a desirable career for people and we need to turn this around.”
The union says it wants smaller teacher-to-children ratios, allocated non-contact time for admin and better pay.
While the Government has increased salaries, this only applies to those at the lowest end of the pay band. One centre has told 1 NEWS the pay rise doesn’t affect a lot of its staff.
“It will help entice people into the profession but it's not retaining people, and we can't have centres run with just beginning teachers,” says Megan White from Capital Kids Cooperative.
The Early Childhood Council says the shortage was getting to a critical point and some centres have had to “shut their doors”.
Peter Reynolds, the council’s chief executive, estimates at least one ECE was shutting a week.
The Education Ministry says it recognises the shortage in the early childhood education workforce.
It says its, “priority is to have more domestically trained teachers and our work with the ECE sector is ongoing about the best way to do this”.
The ministry’s initiatives include a national marketing campaign to get teachers who have quit to re-join, as well as a financial assistance to those studying towards an ECE qualification.