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 2018 and 2019, the number of domestic students enrolling in an ITE qualification for the first time increased by 1.2% to reach 4,350. This represented an increase of 50 students. This was the result of an increase of 9.9% in ECE ITE students (130 students), while the number of primary ITE students decreased by 1.7% (35 students) and the number of secondary ITE students decreased by 4.4% (40 students).

Although decreasing slightly in 2019, the number of domestic first-time primary ITE students remains 15% higher than the low point in enrolments in 2016. The number of first-time secondary ITE students decreased for the first time in two years in 2019, but remains 8.0% above the low point in 2016.

The recent increase in domestic first-time students overall follows a period of several years where numbers declined from a peak in 2010 that coincided with the Global Financial Crisis and funding 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, although in the ECE sector the first-time students were older in 2019 than in the previous year. In the secondary sector, the proportion of first-time students aged under 25 has declined from 54% in 2014 to 35% in 2019. 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 2019), with lower proportions of women in the primary (81% in 2019) and secondary sectors (60% in 2019). These proportions have not changed significantly over time.

The proportion of first-time students who were Māori decreased in both the ECE and primarysectors in 2019. In 2019, 16% of ECE first-time students were Māori, compared with 21% in 2018. In the primary sector, the proportion of first-time students who were Māori was 22% in 2019, compared with 26% in 2018. In the secondary sector, the proportion of first-time students who were Māori increased slightly from 13% in 2018 to 14% in 2019.

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 2019.

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 2019, 79% of ECE students and 64% 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 2019, 88% of primary sector students and 86% 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 2019 (51%) followed by ITPs and universities (both 24%).

In 2019, almost half of first-time ECE students studied on an extramural basis, compared with 20% of primary students and 26% of secondary students.

In 2019, almost all first-time primary sector students were studying full-time (94%), compared with 83% of students in the secondary sector and 71% 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

In 2019, the number of first-time ITE Māori medium students decreased by 23% to reach 205. This followed an increase of 29% in 2018. The number of first-time Māori medium students in 2019 (205) was similar to what was observed in 2016 (200) and 2017 (205).

In 2019, over half (59%) 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 2019, 95% 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 550 and 145 over the period between 2005 and 2019. In 2019, around 75% of first-time international students were enrolled in an ECE qualification.

Domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time

Overall trends (see Figures 8 and 9)

Overall

Between 2018 and 2019 the number of domestic students completing their first ITE qualification decreased by 0.9% to reach 3,295 (a decrease of 30). This was the result of:

  • an increase of 1.3% in primary ITE graduates (an increase of 20)
  • a decrease of 5.1% in secondary ITE graduates (a decrease of 45)
  • a decrease of 1.0% in early childhood education (ECE) ITE graduates (a decrease of 10)
  • an increase of 8.8% in Māori medium ITE graduates (an increase of 15).

Although the number of domestic ITE graduates decreased in 2019, as the higher number of students starting multi-year ITE qualifications in 2018 and 2019 complete their studies, the numbers of graduates should begin to increase from 2020.

ECE

The number of first-time domestic ECE ITE graduates in 2019 (945) represented the lowest number of graduates over the 2005-2019 period.

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 2017. However, the rate of decrease in graduates slowed in 2019, with the number of graduates being just 10 fewer than in 2018.

The increase in the number of first-time ECE students in 2018 and 2019 indicates that the number of ECE graduates should start to increase from around 2020. This is because there is a lag before the graduate numbers increase as students starting ECE bachelors degrees take time to complete their multi-year qualification.

Primary

The number of first-time domestic primary ITE graduates in 2019 (1,520) is now 3.4% higher than the low point in graduates in 2016 (1,470).

As was the case with the ECE graduates, in the primary sector there is also 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 primary ITE graduates in 2019 mirrors the increase in students starting a primary ITE qualification in 2017. The increase in first-time ITE students in 2018 should result in further increases in graduate numbers in 2020.

Secondary

The number of first-time secondary ITE graduates decreased for the first time in two years in 2019 to reach 830, but remains 8.5% above the low point in 2016 (765).

As most secondary ITE students 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. Therefore, the decrease in secondary ITE graduates in 2019 reflected the decrease in the number of students starting a secondary ITE qualification in 2019.

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

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.

Māori medium

In 2019, the number of first-time ITE Māori medium graduates increased by 8.8% to reach 185 (an increase of 15). This followed a decrease of 30 graduates in 2018.

In 2019, 62% of graduates were from immersion programmes.

In 2019, 95% of graduates were in primary sector programmes. The remaining students were in ECE-level programmes.

Figure 9: Number of domestic students completing Māori medium ITE qualifications who were completing their first ITE qualification

Figure 9: Number of domestic students completing Māori medium ITE qualifications who were completing their first ITE qualification

Demographic characteristics by teaching sector (see Figures 10-12)

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 generally 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 ECE and primary sectors, with the proportion of Māori graduates in ECE ITE in 2019 (16%) representing the highest proportion over the 2005-2019 period.

The low number of first-time graduates who are Pacific People makes identifying trends difficult.  In 2019, the proportion of graduates who were Pacific People decreased in all sectors, with the decrease in ECE being the largest from 8.4% in 2018 to 5.3% in 2019.

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

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

Figure 12: Ethnic group distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by indicative teaching sector

Study-related characteristics by teaching sector (see Figures 13 and 14)

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

Figure 14: Distribution of domestic students completing an ITE qualification for the first time by sub-sector and indicative teaching sector

International students completing an ITE qualification for the first time

The number of first-time ITE international graduates with an ITE qualification increased by 21% in 2019 to reach 350 (an increase of 60). Of these 2019 graduates, 63% were in the ECE sector, with the remainder relatively evenly split between the primary and secondary sectors.

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
SectorNZSCED
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.

Assigning a student as intramural or extramural

To assign a student as intramural or extramural the study load in courses/papers they are enrolled in within the qualification in a year is examined and if the majority of the study load is on an intramural basis they are assigned to that status (and vice versa). So a student who is classified as intramural may still be doing an extramural based paper.

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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Domestic students enrolled in ITE. Domestic students completing ITE.

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