Teacher Supply for the 2021 school year update

The Ministry’s teacher supply update for the 2021 school year has been released.

The Teacher Demand and Supply Planning Tool(external link) helps in the understanding and planning for the numbers of school teachers needed for our classrooms.

Taking into account the impact of COVID-19, it includes projections for any additional teachers needed by schools during 2021. It shows that overall there will be more teachers available to fill roles in classrooms.

  • For the primary sector, demand will be met by available supply from 2021 for at least three years. There remains an ongoing need to provide targeted support to help schools find primary teachers in certain locations, and kaiako for Māori medium.
  • For the secondary sector, 80 more secondary teachers may be needed during 2021, 30 teachers during 2022, and rising again to 100 teachers during 2023. There remains an ongoing need to grow the supply of secondary teachers, especially in hard-to-staff subjects such as te reo Māori and STEM and in certain locations.

COVID-19 has affected teacher supply in several ways and our current projections show this will continue in future years. We anticipate even higher teaching retention rates, more Initial Teacher Education (ITE) graduates, more qualified teachers interested in returning to the workforce (including those returning from overseas), and fewer international students resulting in reduced demand. On the other hand, our borders remain closed to overseas teachers.

We have observed significant growth in the teaching workforce in 2019 and so far in 2020. The total number of regular teachers increased by 905 in 2019 and is projected to increase by a further 1,100 by the end of this year.

There is a steady supply of school teachers, with 71,453 already in New Zealand classrooms. The vast majority of teachers are staying in the profession, with retention rates at above 90%. Estimates show these are set to increase with even more teachers staying in the profession in 2020. There are increasing numbers of teachers entering the workforce and fewer leaving, showing a trend
of a growing workforce.

  • In 2019, 6,445 teachers entered the workforce, at a rate of 9%; this is the highest it has been since 2010.
  • Of the teachers entering the workforce in 2019, the majority were new to teaching in New Zealand classrooms (3,929 or 61%).

Teaching is a strong, stable and growing profession which has always been highly regarded. With nearly 75% of New Zealand Year 7-10 teachers saying they would become teachers again, we are encouraging people to stay in or join teaching as their career of first choice. A significant investment has been made in improving pay, wellbeing and workload for school teachers in recent years.

Workload measures are progressing, most recently with the Teaching Council removing performance appraisals which should help reduce unnecessary workload. The Teaching Council has worked with Accord partners and other stakeholders to design and introduce a new Professional Growth Cycle fostering a high trust, low compliance, learning focused environment.

  • $16 million investment for a COVID-19 wellbeing package to benefit our educators and to increase their access to support services.
  • Settled collective agreements increasing teacher salaries - by 2021 most teachers will receive a pay rise of at least $12,000 when compared to the pay rates at the beginning of 2019. At least 23,500 (44%) experienced teachers will be able to earn at least $90,000.

Since December 2017, there has been a $135 million investment focused on getting New Zealand trained teachers to return to and stay in the profession and encouraging people to train as teachers, including support for career changers and a range of scholarships.

With our borders closed to overseas teachers, funding has been reallocated to bolster domestic teacher recruitment. This includes new targeted initiatives including relocation support for teachers, domestic recruitment support and more Teacher Education Refresh enrolments to help teachers return to or stay in the profession.

What we have done so far includes:

  • Continuing to subsidise teachers enrolled in Teacher Education Refresh to return to or stay in the profession (2,677 enrolments since January 2018)
  • Offering 1,294 scholarships to support people train as teachers
  • Supporting 1,253 teachers to relocate to New Zealand with the Overseas Relocation Grant
  • Supporting 285 beginning teachers into first roles with the National Beginning Teacher Induction Grant
  • Promoting teaching as career of choice through marketing campaigns
  • Expanding Teach First with their employment-based initial teacher education programme
  • Supporting schools hiring people with a limited authority to teach with 3R National Fund Payments
  • Expanding the Voluntary Bonding Scheme to attract new graduates to more lower decile schools in Auckland and hard-to-fill roles such as te reo Māori, Māori Medium and STEM
  • Setting targets with Tertiary Education Commission to increase secondary ITE enrolments.


Full-year ITE enrolment data for 2020 will be available from April 2021.

The 2019 data for the number of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first-time, showed:

  • First-time domestic students enrolling in an ITE qualification increased by 1.2% in 2019 compared to 2018, to reach 4,350. This was the result of an increase of 9.9% in ECE ITE students, while the number of primary ITE students decreased by 1.7% and the number of secondary ITE students decreased by 4.4%.

The Teacher Demand and Supply Planning Tool - 2020 results are available to view on the Education Counts website(external link).

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback