National admits there is 'definitely teacher shortages in certain geographical areas and subjects'

Both National and Labour say they are committed to addressing the teacher shortage in New Zealand, after a survey revealed almost a quarter of schools have had to drop subjects from the school's curriculum due to the lack of staff, and teachers are having to teach outside their expertise areas. 

The National Party education spokesperson accepted there were shortages in certain geographical areas and subjects. Source: 1 NEWS

Eighty-four per cent of Auckland principals say the teacher shortage is so bad, it'll be even harder to fill jobs next year.

On TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, National party education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said, there was "definitely teacher shortages in certain geographical areas and subjects".

She said New Zealand has the number of teachers "that we need, but not subject areas and geographical areas".

"We take it really seriously."

She said National has recently announced about $20 million worth of initiatives which will help address the shortage. 

"I think we're doing everything possible in the short term... to fix this."

Another influencing factor of the shortage was a lack of a long-term workforce development strategy for New Zealand," Ms Kaye said.

The education spokesperson said addressing retention issues, workload, and training teachers in the right areas would help fix the situation. Source: Breakfast

However, Labour's education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said the "harsh reality" was that it would take a number of years to train more teachers to fix the issue.

"The first thing we need to do is look at retention issues, we need to make sure we're retaining the teachers we've got."

"We know we've got a baby-boomer cohort nearing retirement. Part of the problem too is that younger teachers stick around for five years or so then they go off and do something else." 

He said workload levels was also a huge issue. 

Mr Hipkins said it was "not OK" for teachers to be teaching subjects that were not their specialist areas, and "part of the problem" was that teachers aren't being trained in the right areas. 

Mike Williams of Pakuranga College says he was astounded to hear the comments last week. Source: Breakfast

Pakuranga College Principal Mike Williams said on TVNZ 1's Breakfast this morning said the "only real concern" of the survey it was not being taken seriously.