The below analysis highlights differences between the old and new data series (created in 2018). The new data series has been recast back to 2004 and is updated annually in the Teacher Workforce page.


There were two drivers for the increase in teacher headcount when comparing the new data series to the old. The new schooling workforce data series:

  • is based on a full year and not a snapshot as at the beginning of April;
  • includes day relief teachers.

Figure 1 - Headcount

Around one-third of the increase related to moving to a full year data collection.  The remaining increase related to the inclusion of day relief teachers.

In recasting the data for 2012, we had to deal with some data issues in the payroll data extract that Novopay started providing the Ministry.  These were addressed; the data are robust for use at the national and regional level.

Coinciding with the move to Novopay was a review of day relief teacher data quality.  This led to teachers being reclassified from day relief to fixed term.  This led to a decrease in headcount of day relief teachers between 2012 and 2013; and corresponding increase in the non-day relief headcount during the same time period.  This had minimal impact on the new headcount data, as both day relief and fixed term teachers were counted.  However, this change did create a discontinuity in the full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE) data from 2014.


As with the headcount measure the move to a full year and inclusion of day relief teachers had increased the number of FTTEs.  Approximately one third of the growth was due to a move to full year data, with the inclusion of day relief teachers making up the rest of the increase.

Figure 2 - FTTEs

The reclassification of teachers from day relief to fixed term had a bigger impact on FTTEs than on headcount. This can be seen by the dip in the above data series.

Calculating an FTTE for a day relief teacher is based on a working year of 950 hours; their working year excludes weekends and holidays.  By making the same person a fixed term teacher their FTTE is calculated on 1,300 hours as we now include weekends and holidays.  This reclassification causes a 27% reduction in their FTTE.  It should be noted that this is purely a definitional change these individuals do not work any less or get paid any less, they merely contribute less to the FTTE calculation.  This change has effectively created a discontinuity from 2014.

Definitions and methodology

Time Period

The new schooling workforce data series is based on a calendar year, rather than a point in time (single pay run) as occurs with the current measure.  The existing measure is based on the first pay run in April.  The new data series therefore includes a greater number of teachers.

The new data series covers a twelve month period with the start of the year being the first pay period that is fully within January.

Some teachers who have resigned towards the end of the year will receive their last payment just before the start of term 1.  These teachers would therefore be inappropriately included in the next year’s data and are excluded.

Counting teachers

Everyone who is employed on a teaching agreement and received at least one ‘normal’ salary payment for the year is counted as a teacher.  There are two exclusions:

  • we do not count teachers at Te Kura who are employed on an Early Childhood teaching agreement
  • we exclude teachers who work for only a small fraction of the year, that is, less than one day

We define teachers as employees on a teaching agreement.  All types of teachers are included - fixed term, permanent and day relief staff.

Multiple positions

Data on each role in the Teacher Payroll Data Warehouse (TPDW) an employee has during the year, including non-teacher roles, is captured.  This is used for detailed analytical work, but, for standard reporting the main teacher role for the year is used.

The main teacher role is defined as the role where the employee worked the most full-time teacher equivalents (FTTEs) during the entire year as a teacher; note this may not be their most recent role.  All of their teaching FTTE, from multiple positions, will be reported against this main job.  If an employee works in a non-teacher role and a teacher role then they will be counted as both a non-teacher and a teacher.  The non-teacher and teacher role will have their generated FTTEs; there will be no double counting.

Calculating Full-Time Teacher Equivalents (FTTEs)

For all permanent and fixed term teachers FTTE is calculated as the number of hours worked during the year divided by the total number of hours a full time teacher (ie 1 FTTE) would work.

For Day Relief teachers FTTE is calculated as the number of days they worked during the year divided by 190. This calculation acknowledges that a day relief teacher is normally only employed during school terms.

Our approach looks at the number of hours for which a teacher is paid.  Ad-hoc lump sum payments, such as medical retirement, redundancy and grievances are excluded in the new methodology.

Primary and secondary sectors

The new schooling workforce data series includes composite schools in the secondary sector.  This matches standard Ministry practice where sectors are defined by school type.  Special schools are counted under the primary sector.

Recasting the data series

The data has been recast from 2004 to 2017.

In recasting the data for 2012 we had to deal with some data issues in the payroll data extract that Novopay started providing the Ministry.  These have been addressed and the headcount data are robust for use at the national and regional level.

There is a discontinuity within FTTEs data series in 2013.  This is partially due to poor quality Novopay data in 2012, but, predominantly because of a review of the day relief teachers which saw many being reclassified from day relief to fixed term positions and a recalculation of their FTTEs based on a longer working year.

Note: although our annual time series only starts in 2004, it is supplemented with pre-2004 data.  For example, for a field that identifies the year that the employee first started teaching, this is based on all of the payroll data held, not just 2004 onwards.

What breakdowns can we get from the data?

Headcount and FTTE data will continue to be published.  All standard breakdowns will be available.  These include:

  • Teacher demographics (age, gender, ethnicity, etc.)
  • Teaching job information (teacher designation, permanent or day relief, etc.)
  • School characteristics (sector, school type, region, decile, etc.)

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