The cost of living, especially housing, in Auckland is now so high that Catholic schools in the city are struggling to recruit suitably qualified staff from outside of Auckland.

A newsletter from the Catholic Schools’ Office in Auckland diocese stated that recruitment is the main concern for principals of Catholic schools in the city.

Two areas are of particular concern.

Firstly, it is hard to get suitably qualified teachers for teaching certain subjects in secondary schools.

And in primary schools, it is getting harder and harder to find experienced teachers to fill tagged positions, in which the applicant must be a Catholic and a regular member of a parish community. Such positions include those who teach religious education.

“The pool of suitable applicants is small to non-existent,” wrote Auckland Catholic Education Services manager Philip Mahoney in the newsletter.

He noted that state schools have similar concerns over recruitment in Auckland.

Other issues for Auckland teacher recruitment include better paid employment opportunities outside teaching and an aging workforce, he added.

Mr Mahoney told NZ Catholic that many of the applications for tagged positions in Auckland Catholic primary schools are coming from newly qualified  first year teachers.

He said taking on such a teacher presents an extra administrative, supervisory and mentoring workload for schools.

For more senior tagged positions, applicants often come only from within the school staff, meaning there is less chance of “new blood” coming into a school, he added.

In the newsletter, Mr Mahoney noted that Education Minister Hekia Parata has a $9million plan to address the wider recruitment issue.

“The immediate focus of the plan is to attract back New Zealand trained teachers currently overseas and recruit overseas teachers from the UK and Canada,” he wrote.

“Incentives for Kiwis to trains as  teachers in shortage areas and to increase the quota of trainees are also on the table.”

He said one solution could be extra pay for Auckland teachers, in a way similar to the “London allowance” in the UK.

But this suggestion has not found favour with Government, he said.

Mr Mahoney finished the newsletter article noting that “as I undertake Special Character Reviews around our schools, I am impressed and grateful to meet so many teachers who can and do witness to that integration of faith with life and have such a positive impact on the learning and faith of our young students”.

“I pray that in these difficult times, others will come forward to join them in this great task of Catholic education.”

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