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The Government is not doing enough to resolve the teacher shortage according to even its own numbers while it continues to drag its heels on the longer term strategy which will make the real difference, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.

“The data provided by the Ministry of Education to allow teachers to be added to the essential skills list indicates school growth demand alone could be for as many as 1000 more teachers per year over the next five years. While this package may help, today’s target of 850 shows the Government is coming up short.

“What the Government must deliver is the long term workforce development strategy started by National more than a year ago to ensure we can fill our classrooms now and prevent other shortages in the future.

“This strategy must get to the core of the issue around how we can better attract people into teaching and retain our best teachers. Ideally it will bring back experienced teachers who left over workload and pay issues and won’t leave schools reliant on offering incentives to attract new graduates and people from overseas.

“The fact the strategy has not been released yet shows the Government is struggling.

“National took a number of steps to help try and address the shortage including boosting the number of TeachNZ Scholarships, the voluntary bonding scheme and, for the first time, investing in promoting teaching as a career to tertiary students studying STEM subjects. We provided funding for recruitment and relocation and we welcome the Government today announcing it will build on that.

“National also had work underway to extend voluntary bonding cash incentives to a much larger group of teachers in areas like Auckland but that was scaled back by Education Minister Chris Hipkins.

“Importantly, teachers are waiting for the Government to reduce workloads and increase pay. Primary teachers overwhelmingly rejected their second pay offer last week and are now pursuing strike action while secondary teachers have also rejected the Government’s first offer.

“The Government needs to do more in both the short term and long term to ensure we don’t have disruption for students and we have teachers in classrooms where they are needed.”

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