New teachers not set up to succeed in role, in need of more support

Teachers are the most important influences on student outcomes in schools. New research from the Education Review Office (ERO) has found that new teachers are not set up to succeed, despite the hard work of schools and new teachers themselves. 

“Although almost all new teachers enjoy teaching, nearly two-thirds of principals say their new teachers are coming into the role unprepared,” says Ruth Shinoda, Head of ERO’s Education Evaluation Centre. 

“Concerningly, we have found that new teachers are not prepared in key areas that really matter. For example, over a third of teachers said they were not able to manage classroom behaviour when they started in the role and a third of new primary school teachers said they were unprepared to teach science.”

ERO has found that teacher education is often not preparing new teachers for the role.

“We know that schools are working hard to support new teachers and they quickly learn on the job, but we need to ensure initial teacher education better prepares new teachers.” 

“We are particularly concerned that there is so much variation in the quality of teacher education across New Zealand. Some courses are setting up teachers well, but we need all courses to do this. ERO has found that over a quarter of new teachers say their teacher education was ineffective,” says Ms Shinoda.

ERO is recommending that teacher education programmes are strengthened to link more closely to the knowledge and skills teachers need in the classroom. ERO found that new teachers who spend more time in the classroom during their education are more prepared and recommends expanding programmes with more in-classroom training. 

“We also need to attract our best and brightest into the teaching profession – we know that teachers who achieved Excellence in NCEA Level 3 are twice as likely to stay in teaching for five years or longer,” says Ms Shinoda.  

“It is therefore important to increase the status of the profession, as well as remove barriers to becoming a teacher including the cost and accessibility of initial teacher education.”

To achieve the government’s ambition to raise student achievement, it is critical that our teaching workforce is well prepared and supported. The Minister of Education announced on 29 April that improving teacher training to develop the workforce of the future is a key priority. 

The report can be found on ERO's evidence and insights website: Ready, set, teach: How prepared and supported are new teachers? (