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Decisions to better prepare an entire generation of new teachers

08 December 2017

The Education Council is sharing a range of decisions today that mark a first-phase milestone in its long-term strategy for strengthening future-focused initial teacher education (ITE). These decisions come after two years of close collaboration with representative groups from across the teaching profession.

“We’re determined to do everything we can to raise learner achievement, and we believe strongly that one critical way to do this is to raise ITE standards and so better prepare an entire generation of new teachers,” says Education Council chief executive, Dr Graham Stoop.

“This work is based on solid evidence of effective practice we’ve gathered from New Zealand and overseas, focusing on ITE in countries with high-performing education systems.”

After publishing a consultation document ‘Educating Teachers for Our Changing World’ setting-out its proposals for future-focused ITE in June 2017, the Council ran an extended consultation, which resulted in over 200 submissions.

“We were delighted to receive strong support for strengthening ITE programmes from across the profession and the decisions we’re making reflect that feedback,” Dr Stoop says. “This vital work is a priority for us as it will take several years before students graduate from the new ITE programmes and their expertise begins to have an effect on our learners.”

The Council’s ITE decisions have the Standards of the Teaching Profession at their heart, which means that from 2021, all ITE providers’ programmes will be designed around them.

These plans will also enable closer, more authentic partnerships between the profession and ITE providers.

“It’s critical that the programmes our providers develop give all new teachers the best-possible mix of practical and theoretical expertise and cultural competence,” says Dr Stoop. “That’s because we know this will give them – and the profession they are entering – far greater confidence that the abilities they have are the abilities our kura, early education centres and schools need.”

A further decision concerns strengthening the relationships between professional leaders and highly-experienced teachers with new teacher graduates - the Council plans to work with ITE providers to help make sure these experienced professionals can become great mentors through professional learning opportunities.

Raising selection and entry requirements for all ITE programmes, particularly around literacy and numeracy, is another key change the Council is pursuing.

ITE providers will also be given greater flexibility to develop programmes designed to support Māori medium kura to grow their teaching workforce, prepare some teachers to teach different age ranges and to offer more postgraduate options, especially for those seeking pathways into specialist and leadership roles.

“Our bold strategy for strengthening ITE means the whole system will be strengthened by teachers’ commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and to Māori learners achieving as Māori. The duality of our education system is unique across the world; our children and young people deserve to have the opportunity to learn in Māori or English to the same standards of excellence,” says Dr Stoop.

Together, the Education Council’s decisions are designed to enhance the ITE system to better support graduates in developing their practice, meeting future learning challenges and reaching full certification.

The Education Review Office (ERO) has published its own report concerning the current ITE environment. In its report, ERO has made a number of recommendations for the Education Council.

“We welcome ERO’s report on new graduate teachers as it adds weight to our findings, and our proposals and decisions about strengthening ITE that we’re sharing today,” Dr Stoop says. “We’ve been working alongside ERO and they shared their initial findings with us.”

More details about the Education Council’s consultation process and its decisions for the future of ITE can be found here.

About the Education Council

The Education Council is an independent statutory body established in July 2015 as the professional body for teachers. It represents all teachers from early childhood education through to primary and secondary schooling in English and Māori medium schools.

Our role is also to support system changes that will improve the quality of teaching and educational leadership and contribute to the understanding of educational issues that impact on the learning and well-being of children and young people.

More details concerning our governance can be found here.