Government announces support for expanding the Teach First NZ programme

Press releases - 17 May 2017

Today the Minister of Education, Nikki Kaye, announced additional government funding for the expansion of the Teach First NZ initial teacher education and leadership development programme.

Release Date: 17 May 2017

Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu has welcomed additional government funding, announced today by Minister Nikki Kaye MP, for an expansion of the Teach First NZ initial teacher education and leadership development programme. The new funding will enable the charity to serve a greater number of schools across New Zealand.

As part of the announcement, the government has committed additional funding for the employment-based programme which will make 45 new teachers available for schools serving lower-socio-economic-status communities in time for the 2018 academic year, and a further 45 for the 2019 academic year.

Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu is an independent charity working to address educational inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand that launched in 2011. One of its first initiatives has been to establish a programme to recruit high achieving graduates into teaching. This initial teacher education programme provides an initial intensive, campus-based academic programme followed by two years on-the-job training for the new teachers in the classroom. Now in its fifth year, the Programme has achieved support from schools, and shown strong results based on a number of independent assessments.

Teachers completing the Programme go to secondary schools serving lower-socio-economic-status communities. As well as complementing traditional teacher education, the Programme aims to draw a new pool of talented individuals into teaching, and provide them with the leadership skills they need in order to have a long-term, systemic impact on educational inequality.

Jay Allnutt, Teach First NZ CEO, said “Aotearoa New Zealand has a great education system by world standards, but some groups face considerable, persistent inequality. The continued and increased support from the government is very welcome as it will help us to contribute to the effort to address this inequality for more young people”.

Having worked initially with the University of Auckland as its tertiary partner, Teach First NZ is now working with the Mind Lab by Unitec to deliver the teacher education element of the Programme for its cohorts in 2018 and beyond. In early 2017 Teach First NZ developed a new Initial Teacher Education (ITE) qualification with the Mind Lab by Unitec, which is now going through the regulatory approvals process. Participants on the programme receive extensive and ongoing in-school and external support to help them achieve their teaching qualification alongside leadership development.

Jay said “The new qualification draws on what we have learned over the last six years in supporting our participants to become great teachers and leaders, making the greatest possible difference for their schools”.

The additional funding will enable the Programme to expand from 30 to 45 participants annually.

“We look forward to serving an additional number of schools and continuing to work in partnership with the government, schools and others to help reduce educational inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand,” he said.

About Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu 
Teach First NZ: Ako Mātātupu is an independent charity working to help reduce educational inequality in Aotearoa New Zealand. The charity has been delivering its flagship two-year, employment-based initial teacher education and leadership development programme in partnership with the University of Auckland since 2012.

The Teach First NZ programme has been supported to date by the Ministry of Education. This support has included covering the costs of the teacher education qualification and in-school support. The Teach First NZ Charitable Trust is funded by philanthropically with supporters including; the Next Foundation, Woolf Fisher Trust and the Aotearoa Foundation.

To date Teach First NZ has recruited and supported more than 100 participants to complete the Teach First NZ Programme. The charity has partnered with 30 secondary schools serving decile 1 to 5 communities across Auckland and Northland. Ninety four per cent of participants who have completed the programme have continued to teach, the majority in lower-decile secondary schools. Twenty per cent of Teach First NZ participants have moved into a school leadership position within their first four years in the profession.

To view the governments full announcement head to

For media enquiries contact Jay Allnutt at or call +64 (0) 22 645 4660

For enquiries about applying to join the programme contact or visit

Applications to join the 2018 Cohort to start the Programme in November this year are currently open. For enquiries from schools about appointing a Teach First NZ participant to a vacancy for the 2018 Academic year contact

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