He Whakaaro: New teacher retention in New Zealand schools

Publication Details

This He Whakaaro | Education Insight paper looks at retention of new teachers/kaiako in New Zealand schools and kura.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: October 2019


This paper examines the rates at which new teachers remain employed in New Zealand state and state-integrated schools and kura in the years after they were first hired. We first look at long term retention rates for domestic Initial Teacher Education (ITE) graduates and then explore how these rates vary by school sector. We then compare these rates to those for teachers who arrive from overseas. We also look at how retention differs by the type of employment status (permanent, fixed term or day relief) a new teacher starts employment on and how these new teachers progress from fixed term and day relief roles to permanent positions.

Key Findings

  • Domestic ITE graduates have a high level of retention, with 78% of the graduates who started teaching in 2014 still employed in 2018. Over 60% of domestic ITE trained teachers starting in 2004 were still employed 15 years later.
  • New teachers who subsequently leave teaching are more likely to do so in the first five years of employment than in the following years.
  • Retention rates for domestic trained teachers have been improving. The year 5 retention rate for the 2004 cohort was 71%. This compares to 74% for 2011 cohort and 78% for the 2014 cohort
  • Retention rates for overseas trained teachers were lower than for ITE graduates, with 59% of new overseas trained teachers starting in 2014 still employed in 2018.
  • Retention rates are higher for teachers who start in permanent roles than for those who start in fixed term or day relief positions.
  • However, teachers who start on more casual employment terms and remain in teaching do tend to shift into permanent positions over time. Of the new teachers starting in 2014, 21% commenced in a permanent role but, by 2018, 56% of this cohort were in permanent positions.

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