Initial Teacher Education Statistics

Students enrolled in and completing initial teacher education qualifications by a range of demographic and other characteristics

This initial teacher education (ITE) statistics page gives an overview of trends in the number of students enrolling in and completing initial teacher education qualifications that may lead to registration by the New Zealand Teaching Council.

People can enrol in and complete additional ITE qualifications throughout their career. They do this for a variety of purposes, including: career progression, specialisation and remuneration gains. These people will already be qualified to teach.

The overview focuses on students enrolling in initial teacher education for the first time and people completing their first ITE qualification. This gives a sense of the number and characteristics of people who may be available to join the teaching workforce for the first time in the future.

A link to detailed ITE statistical tables is also provided in the Downloads section, as well as technical information on how the ITE data is compiled.

What does the data show?

Domestic students enrolled in ITE for the first time

Overall trends by teaching sector (see Figure 1)

  • Between 2017 and 2018, the number of domestic students enrolling in an ITE qualification for the first time increased by 9.8%. This represented an increase of close to 400 students. This was the result of an increase of 16% in primary sector students (285 students) and an increase of 5.6% in ECE sector students (70 students). The number of first-time ITE students in the secondary sector was relatively unchanged in 2018 compared with the previous year, but was 12% higher than in 2016 (close to 100 students).
  • The recent increase in first-time students follows a period of several years where numbers declined from a peak in 2010 that coincided with the Global Financial Crisis and regulatory changes in the ECE sector. Between 2010 and 2016,  the number of first-time domestic ITE students in all teaching sectors decreased by 45%, the number of first-time ECE sector students decreased by 58%, the number of first-time primary sector students decreased by 37%, and the number of first-time secondary sector students decreased by 41%.

Figure 1: Number of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Note: where students enrol in or complete an ITE qualification which prepares them to teach in more than one sector, we report them in each of these sectors.

Demographic characteristics (see Figures 2-4)

  • Over time, first-time ITE students have been generally been getting younger in the ECE and primary sectors. In the secondary sector, the proportion of first-time students aged under 25 has declined from 54% in 2014 to 35% in 2018. During the same period the proportion of first-time students in the 25 to 34 age group increased from 29% to 39%. This reflects a shift away from ITE provision in this sector at the undergraduate level to the graduate/postgraduate level
  • First-time students in the ECE sector were almost exclusively women (97% in 2018), with lower proportions of women in the primary (80% in 2018) and secondary sectors (57% in 2018). These proportions have not changed significantly over time.
  • The proportion of first-time students who were Māori has been gradually increasing over time in both the ECE and primary sectors. In 2018, 21% of ECE first-time students were Māori, compared with 12% in 2010. In the primary sector, the proportion of first-time students who were Māori was 26% in 2018, compared with 20% in 2010.
  • The low number of first-time students who are Pacific People makes identifying trends difficult. But, the proportion of first-time students in the primary sector in the Pacific Peoples ethnic group has increased over time from 5.0% in 2010 to 10% in 2018.

Figure 2: Age distribution of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Figure 3: Gender distribution of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Figure 4: Ethnic group distribution of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Study-related characteristics (see Figures 5 and 6)

  • With the phasing out of diploma-level qualifications, the majority of first-time students in the ECE and primary sectors study at the bachelors degree level. In 2018, 81% of ECE students and 66% of primary students were enrolled in bachelors degrees. In the secondary sector, bachelors degree provision has decreased in recent years so that now students are enrolled almost exclusively at the graduate diploma and masters degree level.
  • Since the last of the colleges of education (CoEs) were merged with them in the mid 2000s, universities have dominated first-time ITE student provision in the primary and secondary teaching sectors. In 2018, 85% of primary sector students and 84% of secondary sector students were studying at universities. Provision in the ECE sector is more evenly distributed, with private training establishment (PTEs) having the largest proportion of first-time students in this sector in 2018 (43%) followed by ITPs (29%), and universities (27%).
  • In 2018, almost half of first-time ECE students studied on an extramural basis, compared with 19% of primary students and 21% of secondary students.
  • In 2018, almost all first-time primary sector students were studying full-time (93%), compared with 85% of students in the secondary sector and 77% in the ECE sector.

Figure 5: Distribution of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by qualification type and indicative teaching sector

Figure 6: Distribution of domestic students enrolling in ITE for the first time by sub-sector and indicative teaching sector

Domestic students enrolled in Māori medium ITE qualifications

  • The number of first-time students enrolling in Māori medium ITE qualifications increased by 5% in 2017 and 29% in 2018. In total, 270 students started study in 2018.
  • In 2018, just over half (51%) of Māori medium first-time ITE students were enrolled in immersion programmes.
  • The vast majority of Māori medium first-time ITE students were enrolled in programmes at the primary sector level. In 2018, 94 % of first-time students were enrolled in primary programmes. The remaining students were enrolled in programmes at the ECE level.

Figure 7: Number of students enrolling in Māori medium ITE qualifications who were enrolling in ITE for the first time, by indicative teaching sector.

International students enrolled in ITE for the first time

The number of international students studying an ITE qualification for the first time is relatively low, meaning the data exhibits volatility. The numbers of first-time international students ranged between 315 and 145 over the period between 2005 and 2018.

Domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time

Overall trends by teaching sector (see Figure 8)

  • Between 2017 and 2018, the number of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time decreased by 4.1% to reach 3,315. This was the result of an increase of 1.2% in secondary sector graduates, a decrease of 1.0% in primary sector graduates, and a decrease of 12% in ECE sector graduates.
  • The number of domestic ITE students completing an ECE sector qualification for the first time has been decreasing since 2013, which is in line with a decrease in domestic students starting ECE qualifications between 2011 and 2016. However, the stabilisation in the numbers of first-time ECE students in 2017 and 2018 indicates that the number of ECE graduates should stabilise from around 2020. This is because there is a lag before the graduate numbers stabilise as students starting ECE bachelors degrees take time to complete their multi-year qualification.
  • Although the number of domestic first-time ITE primary graduates has remained relatively unchanged between 2016 and 2018, the number of graduates should start to increase from around 2019. This is when the increase in students starting a primary ITE qualification in 2017 and 2018 should begin to be reflected in the graduate numbers. As was the case with the ECE graduates, there is a lag between a change in the number of students starting an ITE qualification flowing through into graduate numbers as a majority of primary ITE students enrol in bachelors degrees.
  • The increase in the number of domestic first-time ITE secondary graduates in 2017 mirrors the pattern of an increasing number of students starting a secondary ITE qualification in that year. As most secondary ITE starters are doing one year programmes there is not the same lag time between starting a qualification and graduating as is seen in the ECE and primary sectors.

Figure 8: Number of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Note: where students enrol in or complete an ITE qualification which prepares them to teach in more than one sector, we report them in each of these sectors.

Demographic characteristics (see Figures 9-11)

First-time ITE graduates display very similar characteristics to first-time ITE students.

  • First-time ITE graduates have been getting younger in the ECE sector, but in recent years have been getting older in the primary and secondary sectors. This reflects a shift away from undergraduate provision in these sectors.
  • First-time graduates in the ECE sector were almost exclusively women, with women being a relatively smaller proportion, but still a majority, of primary and secondary sector graduates.
  • The proportion of first-time ITE graduates who were Māori has been gradually increasing over time in the primary sector. There was a very slight increase in the proportion of primary and secondary graduates in the Pacific Peoples ethnic group over time.

Figure 9: Age distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Figure 10: Gender distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Figure 11: Ethnic group distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Study-related characteristics (see Figures 12 and 13)

First-time ITE graduates display very similar characteristics to first-time ITE students.

  • In the ECE and primary sectors, the majority of first-time graduates now complete bachelors degrees, while in the secondary sector first-time graduates mainly complete graduate diplomas and masters degrees.
  • Universities have dominated the number of ITE first-time graduates in the primary and secondary teaching sectors, while PTEs now have the largest number of first-time ECE graduates.

Figure 12: Distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by type of qualification and indicative teaching sector

Figure 13: Distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by sub-sector and indicative teaching sector

Domestic students completing Māori medium ITE qualifications

  • The number of students completing a Maori medium qualification increased by 5.3% in 2017 and then decreased by 20% in 2018. In total, of those students completing an ITE qualification for the first time in 2018, 160 students completed an ITE Māori medium qualification.
  • Around 90% of Māori medium ITE students are enrolled in bachelors degrees. This means there is at least a three year lag before the increase in students starting an ITE  qualification in 2018 are likely to start appearing in the graduate data.
  • In 2018, 63% of graduates were from immersion programmes.
  • In 2018, 94% of graduates were in primary sector programmes. The remaining students were in ECE-level programmes.

Figure 14: Number of domestic students completing Māori medium ITE qualifications who were completing their first ITE qualification

International students completing an ITE qualification for the first time

The number of first-time ITE international graduates with an ITE qualification was relatively unchanged in 2018. The number of first time graduates in 2018 was 290, compared with 295 in 2017.

Technical Notes

How do these initial teacher education (ITE) statistics differ from other field of study data published by the Ministry of Education?

Although the Ministry of Education publishes other enrolment and graduate data for students who studied in the field of education, the ITE statistics exclude qualifications that do not lead to provisional teacher registration (such as certificates that are preparatory qualifications). In doing so, the initial teacher education statistics present a more accurate picture of teacher training in New Zealand.

Determining the likely sector of teaching of initial teacher education students/graduates

Using the administrative data reported to the Ministry of Education by tertiary education providers, the following process was used to determine the likely sector of teaching (early childhood education (ECE), primary, or secondary) for each student/graduate:

Step 1:

The New Zealand Classification of Education (NZSCED) code for the initial teacher education qualification the student was enrolled in (or completed) was used to map the qualification to a sector of teaching. The mapping used is presented in Table 1. For example, a student enrolled in or completing a qualification with an NZSCED code of 070101, 070118, or 070120, was assigned to the ECE sector.

Table 1: Mapping of NZSCED codes to teaching sector

Sector

NZSCED
Code

NZSCED Name

ECE

070101

Teacher Education: Early Childhood (Pre-Service)

070118

Bilingual Early Childhood Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

070120

Immersion Early Childhood Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

Primary

070103

Teacher Education: Primary (Pre-Service)

070122

Bilingual Primary Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

070124

Immersion Primary Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

Secondary

070105

Teacher Education: Secondary (Pre-Service)

070126

Bilingual Secondary Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

070128

Immersion Secondary Teacher Training (Pre-Service)

Step 2:

A number of initial teacher education qualifications do not identify a single sector of teaching via an NZSCED code, as they can produce graduates for more than one teaching sector.

In these cases, to determine the likely sector of teaching for each student/graduate, the courses a student enrolled in as part of the initial teacher education qualification were analysed. The study load (as measured by equivalent full-time students (EFTS)) in courses assigned to any of the initial teacher education NZSCED codes in Table 1 (or in courses that had a name that identified a sector of teaching) was then aggregated and a student was assigned to a teaching sector where they had the largest study load.

Where the likely sector of teaching for a student/graduate could not be identified using Step1 and Step 2 the sector was treated as "unknown".

Because the likely sector of teaching is a derived characteristic, it should be treated as indicative only.

Determining who is enrolling in ITE for the first time or completing their first ITE qualification

People can enrol in and complete additional ITE qualifications throughout their career. They do this for a variety of purposes, including: career progression, specialisation and remuneration gains. These people will already be qualified to teach.

To get a sense of people who are new to teacher training we split the enrolment data into those enrolling in ITE for the first time in that year and those who have been enrolled in ITE qualifications in previous years. We can now take this approach due to work undertaken to identify ITE qualifications prior to 2008.

To identify the students new to ITE, we look back to 1994 using historical datasets to see if they have studied previously. If we don’t see a prior enrolment, they are treated as new to ITE in that year. As the unit record data only goes back to 1994, there may be older students who we identify as being new to ITE who may in fact already have studied an ITE qualification in the period prior to 1994.

Similarly, for ITE completion data, we report who is completing an ITE qualification for the first time and those who have already completed an ITE qualification in the past. This gives a sense of how many graduates may be available to join the teaching profession.

This is a change from ITE statistics published in previous years where students were reported as starters each time they enrolled in a new ITE qualification. The number of ‘first-time’ students in each sector is much lower than the number of students starting an ITE qualification. This is because a significant number of people who started an ITE qualification in a particular year had enrolled in a different ITE qualification in previous years.

Focusing on 'first-time' students gives a more accurate picture of who may be available to join the teaching profession for the first time in the future.

More detail on this is provided in the Technical notes sheet in the Excel statistical tables.

Treatment of multi-teaching sector qualifications

In the reporting of official ITE statistics, where students enrol in or complete an ITE qualification which prepares them to teach in more than one sector, we report them in each of these sectors.

More detail on this is provided in the Technical notes sheet in the Excel statistical tables.

Region of study

In the ITE enrolment statistics, where a student is studying intramurally, the delivery site of the courses they enrolled in is used to identify study region. Where a student is studying extramurally, the postal code of the term address of the student is used to determine study region. Where study region cannot be determined we treat the study region as unknown.

For the ITE completions data, the study region of the last year of enrolment in the qualification is used to determine the study region.

It should be noted that the region an ITE student studies in may not be related to the region where they commence teaching.

The field of study for secondary sector graduates

The initial teacher education data in sheet ITE.COM8 presents the field(s) of study of the initial teacher education qualification and any prior awarded qualifications (at the bachelors or higher level) for secondary sector graduates.

Field of study data is available from 2003 onwards, so if the initial teacher education graduate obtained their qualification prior to this time or attained the qualification overseas, there is no data on the field of study of any prior qualifications for them. Or, if the student graduates in initial teacher education before completing the other qualification, this won't be captured in the data.

It is important to note that the field(s) of study reported in sheet ITE.COM8 does not necessarily identify the curriculum teaching areas that the initial teacher education graduate is qualified to teach in.

The initial teacher education data is compiled at the qualification level

The initial teacher education statistics reported here were compiled at the qualification level. Therefore, if a student was assigned to a particular sector of teaching, all of the EFTS for that student in that qualification in that year were assigned to that sector.

Māori medium statistics

The Māori medium statistics are reported for programmes that meet Teaching Council requirements for Māori medium. The Māori medium data is available from 2016 onwards as the Teaching Council requirements for Māori medium came into force on 1 January 2016.

As well as reporting the total number of students enrolled in and completing Māori medium ITE qualifications, we have split the data into bilingual or immersion provision. This terminology is in line with NZSCED definitions.

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