Ruby Hale enjoys the feeling of community at Alfriston College. Photo / Jason Oxenham

Ruby Hale enjoys the feeling of community at Alfriston College. Photo / Jason Oxenham

A controversial on-the-job teacher training programme has become so popular it is receiving 15 applicants for each available place.

Teach First NZ, which sees high-flying graduates placed in low-decile high schools, is hoping to increase the number of participants it can take next year, in light of the success.

The programme had about 300 applications for its 20 places for next year.

…Teach First NZ chief executive Shaun Sutton says that of the 15 inaugural alumni from its 2012 class, 13 have stayed in New Zealand, and all of those are continuing to teach.


…The focus on low-decile schools aimed to help in getting the best teachers in front of those kids, in schools which struggled to retain high-quality staff.

Alfriston College principal Robert Solomone said his school was one of the first to get the programme, and was reaping the benefits.

“They have picked some very high calibre young people who would otherwise not have thought about getting into the teaching business,” Mr Solomone said.

“They are already highly qualified and are showing a real passion for the job. They want to try new things and are doing it well.”

He said the school’s board was committed to the programme and would continue it. Teach First NZ is now aiming to grow to 60 incoming participants by 2019, and to expand further than Auckland and Northland.

To qualify for the programme, applicants needed to meet a range of achievement, leadership and attitude criteria, as well as having a bachelor degree with strong subject knowledge in the topic they wished to teach.

Kirsty Johnston A Newspaper