He Whakaaro: Teacher turnover in New Zealand schools

Publication Details

This He Whakaaro introduces insights into the levels and trends of regular teacher/kaiako turnover in New Zealand state and state integrated schools and kura.

Author(s): Ministry of Education

Date Published: October 2019


This report will initially look at the national picture for teacher turnover before examining the underlying components of turnover – that is, those moving schools and those leaving regular teaching roles. We then explore whether turnover differs by teacher employment status, and by region. In particular, we seek to understand whether teachers are leaving Auckland (the region with significantly more teachers than any other) to work in other regions in increasing numbers, and whether this is impacting the total supply of teachers in the region.

Key Findings

  • In 2017, 21% of teachers either moved schools or left the regular teaching profession. This figure has been broadly flat over the last five years.
  • About half of this turnover is due to teachers moving between schools, and about half is due to teachers leaving regular teaching.
  • Turnover of fixed term staff is substantially higher (44% in 2017) than for permanent staff (14% in 2017).
  • Between 2010 and 2017, turnover rates for primary teachers were consistently higher, by around 5 percentage points, than those in secondary schools.
  • These differences in turnover between the primary and secondary sectors are driven entirely by higher moving rates in primary schools.
  • Turnover in Auckland has been trending slightly upwards since the start of the decade, and has in 2017 reached levels (23.5% for primary teachers, 20% for secondary teachers) similar to those in Canterbury and Wellington.
  • Auckland is seeing a small but increasing number of teachers who move to schools in a different region. However, this is offset by an overall net increase of teachers in the region – with more new and returning teachers entering the regular teaching workforce in Auckland than are leaving it.

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