Beginning teachers 2000-2004 Publications
This report looks at where beginning teachers are teaching, their demographic profile, employment trends, qualifications of beginning teachers, and subjects taught by secondary beginning teachers.
Author(s): Siobhan Murray, Ministry of Education.
Date Published: March 2006
Beginning teachers are a small yet significant group within the teaching workforce. Because they represent the future of the teaching workforce it is vital to ensure that their experiences in their first few years of teaching are conducive to them becoming effective registered teachers. It is also important that the mix of beginning teachers entering the workforce matches demand.In many respects beginning teachers mirror the overall teaching workforce, yet their age and level of experience mean that in some areas, such as employment conditions and when they choose to leave the teaching workforce, beginning teachers are very different. This paper paints a picture of beginning teachers using already existing Ministry of Education data. It documents some areas of difference and highlights some issues of concern.
Where beginning teachers are teaching
Overall, beginning teachers match the teacher population in terms of the split between primary and secondary and by their distribution over the different regions.
Although beginning teachers are relatively evenly spread across schools in each individual decile, they are consistently more likely to teach in low decile schools and less likely to teach in high decile schools than teachers overall. In particular, they are less likely to teach in decile 10 schools. Although beginning teachers are overrepresented at low decile schools, there appears to be sufficient experienced teachers at low decile schools to mentor them. At an individual school level, however, this may not be the case.
Beginning teachers are predominantly female, as is the teacher workforce overall. It looks as though even more of the secondary teacher workforce may be female in the future, as the proportion of male beginning teachers at secondary level is lower than the proportion of male secondary teachers already working.
Beginning teachers tend to be younger than teachers overall. Over half of beginning teachers are in their 20s. However, a sizeable minority (20%) are over 40 years old.Beginning teachers also appear to be more ethnically diverse than other teachers.
Just over half of all primary teacher education graduates and around two-thirds of secondary teacher education graduates can expect to find employment in state schools within two years of finishing their teaching qualification.
Unlike teachers overall, first year beginning teachers are likely to be employed on limited term contracts. Most beginning teachers become permanent within the first three years of teaching. However, a small proportion of beginning teachers remained in teaching, some with broken service, without becoming permanent over the five year period covered in this paper. This is of concern as these teachers are less likely to have had consistent support and mentoring than beginning teachers who have remained at the same school while provisionally registered and have become permanent.
The proportion of a beginning teacher cohort still in teaching declines with each year. We can expect around 60% of beginning teachers to still be employed in the state sector four years after they started teaching. Younger beginning teachers are more likely to leave than older beginning teachers. By far the most common reason for leaving is to go overseas to work or travel. Losses due to leave without pay (includes parental leave) account for an increasing proportion of all losses for each extra year beginning teachers stay in teaching.There is some evidence that beginning teachers benefit from being in a group of beginning teachers within a school. While most beginning teachers are employed in schools with other beginning teachers, just over a third of primary beginning teachers are the only beginning teachers in their school. Due to the small size of many primary schools it would be impractical for them to take on more than one beginning teacher at a time. Forming local clusters of beginning teachers is one possible way for schools to reap the benefits that come from beginning teachers sharing their experiences.
In terms of teaching qualifications, beginning teachers are more homogenous than teachers overall. The most common teaching qualification for primary beginning teachers is a teaching degree, while for secondary beginning teachers it is the graduate teaching diploma. Teachers overall are more likely than beginning teachers to hold post graduate teaching qualifications and also more likely to hold lower than diploma-level teaching qualifications. The greater variety of teaching qualifications that teachers overall hold is explained by the changing expectations over time of how qualified teachers should be. Post graduate teaching qualifications are likely a result of professional development while teaching.Beginning teachers are more likely to hold non-teaching qualifications than teachers overall. Moreover, primary beginning teachers are more likely to hold a degree level non-teaching qualification than primary teachers overall. However, secondary beginning teachers are less likely than secondary teachers overall to hold post graduate non-teaching qualifications. This may be due to teachers undertaking study while employed, which beginning teachers have not had time to do.
Beginning teachers are most likely to teach in the learning areas of English and health & physical well-being. They are less likely than teachers overall to teach mathematics. The proportion of beginning teachers who teach in the learning area of technology has declined between 2001 and 2004.For subjects where there are incentive schemes in place to encourage graduates to enter teaching, only in English has the proportion of beginning teachers increased between 2001 and 2004. In other subjects the proportions are very similar in 2001 and 2004. Other types of incentives may therefore be necessary to increase the proportion of beginning teachers in certain subjects.
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