23 Sep 2015

Teacher training focus on key subjects, regions

6:52 pm on 23 September 2015

Nearly $80 million in teacher training is to be re-focused on high-priority subjects such as maths and science and on poorly performing regions such as Northland and the East Coast.

Teacher and student at Linwood Primary School, Christchurch.

Teacher and student at Linwood Primary School, Christchurch. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

Education Minister Hekia Parata said the government was overhauling the way teachers were upskilled once they were in their jobs in order to raise children's achievement.

She said the changes would make teachers' professional learning and development a lot more focused.

"We are saying what the national priorities will be over the next three years. And of course they're going to be maths, science, reading, writing, digital fluency and we're going to do a pilot in health and physical education."

Ms Parata said there would also be a focus on priority areas, where children's performance is not so good such as Northland, Gisborne and the East Coast.

She said the changes would see teachers and their subject associations helping to decide out what teaching methods were most effective and needed to be taught.

The education ministry will then contract people and organisations to provide that training.

Principals' Federation president Denise Torrey said the changes would improve children's achievement.

"We'll see an impact I would imagine in the next two or three years on outcomes for children."

Ms Torrey said the government's changes are based on the work of an advisory group consisting of teachers and principals and will give the teaching sector a lot more input into their professional learning.

Post Primary Teachers Association president Angela Roberts said the overhaul was good news.

"It's long overdue. It's wonderful the government has finally acknowledged it's broken and it needs fixing."

Ms Roberts said the new system would help make sure teachers could get the training they needed.

"We're going to have an opportunity to feed into how we better support teachers, and matching up the demand, so what the profession needs whether it is an individual or a whole school, to what is provided."

Ms Parata said she expected the Education Council, which registers and disciplines teachers, would eventually take over responsibility for teachers' professional development.

She said existing contracts for in-service training had been rolled over for 12 months.

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