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Teacher perspectives from NZCER’s 2023 national survey of area schools

Mohamed Alansari, Mengnan Li

As part of the National Survey of Schools project, part of NZCER’s Te Pae Tawhiti programme of research, we collaborated with the New Zealand Area Schools Association (NZASA) to survey area school teachers between 15 June and 21 July 2023. 

A total of 652 area teachers across 64 area schools completed the survey, with questions focusing on: 

  • Views on the year ahead
  • Support for Māori students
  • Support for Pacific students
  • Student wellbeing
  • Teachers’ working experiences, career plans, and support
  • Professional learning and development (PLD).

This data report provides a summary of teacher responses to the survey, providing an aggregate picture of teachers’ experiences of working in area schools. 

Key findings from the data report 

  • Many area school teachers (78%) felt supported by staff who are committed to making a positive difference to all their students and their communities.
  • Around 60% felt confident and optimistic about the year ahead. However, only 43% had a clear idea of upcoming policy initiatives or changes affecting their work.
  • Many teachers reported that their schools actively explore how to honour te Tiriti o Waitangi in their work (73%). They also reported engaging in a range of positive practices to support Māori learners (62–73%), supported by useful PLD over the past three years (57–64%).
  • Fewer teachers reported that their students have regular access to positive Māori role models (48%), or that they involve whānau in their Māori language planning (34%).
  • Fewer teachers reported practices for supporting Pacific students (13–35%), and less than half of teachers reported receiving useful PLD to improve outcomes for Pacific students (38–43%).
  • Student wellbeing is both a focus and a concern for most area school teachers (85–88%). This was also found in our 2021 secondary teacher survey, where teachers indicated similar views and experiences.
  • Many teachers plan to stay in the profession and/or seek further learning and development opportunities. But 13% felt unclear on career plans and progression, and further 7% felt unsupported with their career aspirations.
  • Area school teachers enjoy their jobs (82%). In terms of workloads, 42% reported that their workload was fair. However, high workloads were reported by just under a third of teachers (30%), with a similar proportion indicating that the level of work-related stress is not manageable. It is likely that these act as a barrier to positive working experiences.
  • The main things teachers would change about their jobs include working conditions (e.g., improving pay and status), learning and development (e.g., more time for reading and reflection and PLD, and non-contact time with other teachers), and workload (e.g., reduce admin/ paperwork, number of initiatives at once, and more support staff)
Year published: 
Publication type: 
Research report
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