Our revised offers to primary teachers and principals

The Ministry of Education has made significant new offers to primary teachers and principals.
The total cost of the revised offer is $698 million over four years, $129 million more than our previous offer. It means most teachers would get between $9,500 and $11,000 extra annually in their salaries by 2020 – that is an average increase of around $10,000.

The offer also provides for additional progression on the pay scale.

The offer takes into account the significant investment being made by the Government into learning support, to address both the needs of children, increase teacher supply and ease workload on teachers.


What are the revised salary increases?

  • Primary teachers with a teaching qualification (degree or advanced diploma), would see their base salaries increase from a range of $47,980 to $71,891, to a range of $52,429 to $82,992. At the top of the range this means an increase of $11,101 over the term. This new offer is an increase of $4,435 over the previous offer.
  • Primary teachers with both a teaching qualification and a subject degree – for example a Bachelor of Science – would see their base salaries increase from a range of $49,588 to $75,949, to a range of $54,186 to $85,481, At the top of the range this means an increase of $9,532 over the term, $2,489 more than the previous offer.
  • Currently, more than one in three teachers (38 per cent) are paid above the top of the base scale. They receive extra payments in recognition of management and leadership responsibilities. For example, a teacher at the top of the scale and receiving one unit for extra responsibilities (worth $4,000) is paid $79,949. After the new offer, this increases to $89,481.
  • The offer is a 3 percent pay increase to teachers’ base salaries each year for the next three years. That’s a cumulative increase of 9.3 percent over three years.
  • It also includes an additional step at the top of the scale and an increase to the maximum base salary for all qualification groups.


Our previous pay offer to primary principals is significant and remains open.

Principals have asked for more support for their colleagues in smaller rural schools. To address this we have now offered an increase to operational grant funding to small schools who currently have an entitlement to fewer than two fulltime equivalent teachers (including the principal). This would ensure all those schools have two fulltime equivalent staff during the school day.

Our offer to Principals:

  • A new principal of a school with 50 students or fewer would see their roll-based salary component salary increase from $81,553, to $85,223. That would increase to $89,058 next year and $92,976 in 2020.
  • A principal with at least nine-years’ experience leading a school of 851-1025 students would see their core remuneration (made up of the roll-based component, the base leadership payment and a career payment) increase from $135,517 to $139,216. It would then increase to $143,027 next year and $146,951 in 2020.
  • Most primary principals would receive 3 percent per year for three years. That’s a cumulative increase of 9.3 per cent.
  • Principals at the smallest and harder to staff schools (under 100 students) would receive increases of 4.5 percent each year for two years, and 4.4 percent for the third year, a cumulative increase of 14 per cent.

The cost of the Ministry’s offer for teachers and principals is $698 million over four years – an increase of $129 million over the previous offer.

The first increase would take effect when the collective agreement is settled, the second increase 12 months later and the third 24 months later.

Outside collective bargaining, the government has made a large investment to address issues of concern to teachers:

Learning Support - $500 million

  • Budget 18 provided $283 million in additional funding for Learning Support. The government has now announced a further $217 million commitment that would fund around 600 Learning Support Coordinators for schools.
  • Budget 18 included more funding for Early Intervention (to recruit more specialists, increase places, and increase study awards); increased funding for teacher aides; expansion of the Intensive Wraparound Service; and addressed cost pressures for the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme, Sensory Schools and NZSL, and English for Speakers of Other Languages.
  • The new Learning Support Coordinators will work alongside teachers in schools and kura to connect students with the additional learning and behaviour services they need. This funding will allow about 1,000 schools to have a full or part time Learning Support Coordinator from 2020.

What about workload?

  • The Government has a wide range of work underway, which will help to address workload. This includes:
  • A $40 million investment to increase teacher supply
  • Working with the sector to develop an Education Workforce strategy 
  • Reviewing how we think about the curriculum and understanding progress children make at different stages and achievement with the sector, which will inform thinking about resourcing for different year levels
  • The Government has already removed National Standards in response to teachers’ claims it was a large driver of workload
  • A joint taskforce has been set up to identify the compliance-related administrative tasks that can be reduced or eliminated to free up time for principals and teachers.
  • An Education Professional’s Wellbeing Framework has been endorsed and a plan for implementation is being developed.
  • We are also reviewing how teachers assess learning, which teachers have told us also impacts on workload and their ability focus on teaching.

How are concerns about Teacher Supply being addressed?

Teacher Supply - $40 million:

  • In October 2018 the Government committed a further $10.5 million for initiatives to boost teacher supply. This is on top of the $29.5 million for supply initiatives that’s been announced since late last year.
  • This funding supports initiatives that will get more graduates into permanent teaching positions, help experienced teachers get back into the profession, attract New Zealand teachers back from overseas, and encourage overseas-trained teachers to come and teach in New Zealand.
  • The extra $10.5 million provides funding for up to 230 grants of $10,000 for schools to get more graduate teachers into classrooms. It also includes funding to support the overseas recruitment campaign targeting the recruitment of 900 NZ trained and overseas trained teachers into New Zealand classrooms.
  • As at 4 November 2018, 3383 overseas teachers have applied to work in New Zealand, 2410 have been assessed and 565 candidates are ready and looking for a teaching job in the schooling sector. Schools have lodged 189 vacancies with overseas recruiting agencies.
  • Budget 18 provided an extra $59 million for teacher aides. The NZEI and the Ministry are currently engaged in a pay equity inquiry for teacher aides.

How many primary teachers and principals are there?

There are around 40,000 primary teachers including relievers and 1943 primary principals.

How many students?

The 2017 July roll had 464,442 students enrolled in primary and intermediate (excluding composite and special).

How many schools are there in the primary sector?

There are around 1943 primary, intermediate and special schools (the school types covered by the primary teachers' and principals’ collective agreements).

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback