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Supporting early career teachers and kaiako: Experiences of mentoring, induction, and PLD

Sophie Watson, Sally Boyd, Teresa Maguire

This report explores the support that early career teachers | kaiako (ECT|K) in English-medium early childhood education, primary, and secondary centres need. It includes an examination of aspects of the mentoring process that are working well for both ECT|K and their mentors and suggests ways this support could be improved. 

Additionally, the study included a specific focus on the experiences of Māori and Pacific ECT|K working in English-medium centres. These teachers had many commonalities with other ECT|K, as well as unique differences that are explored. 

Key findings:

  • Induction practices varied a lot between centres and sectors
  • Mentors and release time are valued, but this support varies 
  • PLD was valued, but not many are aware of it 
  • ECT|K and mentors value support networks, and want more 
  • ECT|K need ongoing learning about key aspects of practice 
  • ECT|K need wellbeing support
  • Māori and Pacific ECT|K need their expertise explicitly valued
  • ECT|K and mentors need a one-stop shop 
  • Centres need models of good practice 

Suggested supports from the research include: 

  • Support tailored to mentors, ECT|K and school leaders, such as a one-stop shop or other form of delivery
  • A clear definition and rationale for induction, as well as a range of examples of effective induction practices o criteria for selecting suitable mentors and matching mentors and mentees
  • Good practice models for supporting new mentors and managing mentor wellbeing 
  • A clear definition of the mentoring role and the boundaries of the role, including expectations around educative support, supporting ECT|K to be ready for appraisal, and pastoral and wellbeing support
  • Information about the pathway from ITE to full certification and the actions ECT|K need to take at each step (this could include a checklist and examples of completed certification documents/templates) 
  • A portal for OTT registration or certification that combines all requirements in one place
  • Links to key documents such as the Teaching Council’s Our Code, Our Standards and Guidelines for Induction and Mentoring and Mentor Teachers
  • Clear guidelines about what to expect from an induction at their centre

Research questions:

  1. What are the critical needs of early career teachers and kaiako, including PCTs, OTTs, and teachers returning to the workforce, particularly within the first 2 years of teaching?
  2. Are there any gaps in our knowledge of this topic, and how could we fill those gaps?
  3. What is known about meeting the critical needs of early career teachers from national and international research?
  4. What does the literature tell us about how well current models are meeting the needs of early career teachers and kaiako in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  5. What do early career teachers, kaiako, and mentors tell us about how well current models are meeting the needs of early career teachers in Aotearoa New Zealand?
  6. How can mentors of early career teachers in education centres be supported to grow the capability of early career teachers and kaiako?

This report was produced by NZCER for the Ministry of Education, based on data collected in 2022 and published in 2023.

Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
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