Collective bargaining update

Please attribute Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement.

NZEI and PPTA members are voting on strike action, which will cause disruption to children, parents and all involved.

It is important in this environment that the facts being reported are clear.

The latest data shows that more people are training to be teachers, more teachers are entering the workforce and more teachers are staying in the profession.

Teacher retention in New Zealand classrooms remains high at over 90%. It is also high for qualified teachers who are starting their career. Around three quarters of newly graduated teachers (76%) who began teaching in 2012 were still teaching five years later.

Pay parity between primary and secondary teachers has not been undermined. The Ministry’s overall settlement offers to NZEI members and PPTA members have been comparable. However, each of the unions have made different choices about how to apply that settlement to their members.

Differences in rates of pay exist because of decisions taken by the NZEI. In some cases primary teachers are actually paid more than secondary teachers.

Members of both unions have a wide range of claims and concerns. Not all of these need to be resolved in contract negotiations.

Already outside of contract negotiations the Government has provided for 600 Learning Support Coordinators, at a cost of $217 million.

These Coordinators, who will be trained teachers, will support teachers who are working with children and young people with additional learning needs.

The Government has also:

  • removed national standards, which primary school teachers told us was driving workload
  • is advancing a review of NCEA, with an eye to reducing workload for teachers and students
  • has made good progress on securing the supply of qualified teachers.

We have increased our offers to the members of both unions.

The total cost of the revised offer for secondary teachers is $496 million, compared to the first offer, worth $367 million. The total cost of our revised offer to primary teachers and primary principals is $698 million. This is $129 million more than our September offer.

At $1.2 billion we have exhausted the funds available to settle these collective agreements.

Further information

Retention of new teachers

Retention rates for new graduate teachers are high. Of those who started teaching in 2012, 92% were still employed the following year and 76% remaining in teaching after five years.

Retention rates for all new teachers starting in 2012 was 64% after five years. This includes teachers with no recorded qualification who have lower retention rates. This is not unanticipated as untrained teachers may be engaged by schools for a variety of operational reasons including the delivery of specific expertise such as music tutors, te reo Māori and specialist technology. We would expect schools to adjust the staff engaged in these roles as schools’ needs change.

In 2018 nearly 400 more domestic students started beginning teacher training compared to 2017 – a 9.8% increase. This included a 16% increase in primary enrolments. There were 4,300 domestic students who started teacher training overall.

In 2018 more beginning teachers were given permanent full time roles than in previous years. This helps them start their careers and stay teaching in the long term. Around 90% of new primary teachers and 82% of new secondary teachers starting in permanent roles in 2014 were still employed in 2017.

Workforce data release April and May 2019

Pay parity

While our overall settlement offers to NZEI and PPTA members have been comparable, unions make difference choices about how to apply the settlement.

For example in 2015 secondary teachers accepted a three year collective employment agreement with three annual pay increases. In 2015 primary teachers accepted a two year collective employment agreement with two annual pay increases. Primary teachers received broadly the same pay increases for the first two years of their two year agreement as secondary teachers did for the first two years of their three year agreement.

The salary rates for primary and secondary teachers are different, but depending on their qualifications and years of teaching that does not mean that all primary teachers are, or have been, paid less than secondary teachers. For example, a teacher with a teaching degree beginning employment in a primary school this year will have a higher starting rate than if they were employed in a secondary school.

Our Pay offers

The total cost differs between primary and secondary due to the number of teachers working in each sector.

* Ammended 18 May to provide link to more information.


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