Voluntary Bonding Scheme

The Voluntary Bonding Scheme (VBS) was introduced in 2009 to encourage newly graduated teachers to teach in certain areas of need. In 2018, the scheme was expanded to include more schools, settings and subjects.  

The table below shows the eligibility criteria, payments, and other information for both schemes - the ongoing Voluntary Bonding Scheme, and the Voluntary Bonding Scheme expansion.

The VBS expansion only applies to graduate teachers who started teaching between 2018 and up to 2022, if they meet the criteria. Graduate teachers must be teaching at least one of the defined subjects for at least 0.5 full-time teaching equivalent (FTTE). 

To apply for VBS, download the application form.

Please note: It will normally take 4-6 working weeks to receive the outcome of your application, with a further 2-4 weeks for payment if your application is approved. No retrospective payments will be processed. 

 Voluntary Bonding Scheme (ongoing)Voluntary Bonding Scheme expansion
Eligible schools Decile 1 (nationwide)
Severely isolated schools (nationwide)
Decile 2 or 3 (Auckland region)
>Māori Medium settings (nationwide)

Defined subjects (nationwide):

  • All science subjects 
  • All technology subjects
  • All mathematics subjects
  • Te Reo Māori

$10,500 after the third year of consecutive employment at 0.5 FTTE or more

$3,500 after the fourth year of consecutive employment at 0.5 FTTE or more

$3,500 after the fifth year of consecutive employment at 0.5 FTTE or more  

$10,500 after the third year of consecutive employment at 0.5 FTTE or more


Applications are due within 12 months of completing three, four or five years’ consecutive employment 

Applications are due within six months of completing three years’ consecutive employment

Retirement of Decile System – Impact on Eligibility

The phasing out of deciles and the introduction of the new Equity Index will have an impact on a number of Ministry initiatives, including several of our workforce initiatives. To help manage the transition and to minimize impact on schools and kura, our workforce initiatives will continue to use existing eligibility settings, including decile, until the end of the 2023 school year.

Eligible Schools/Kura:

Schools/kura who are currently eligible for the Voluntary Bonding Scheme (Original) OR Voluntary Bonding Scheme (Expansion) due to their decile will maintain their current eligibility until the end of the 2023 school year. Eligible teachers who begin teaching in 2023 at your school/kura, or who are already in the Scheme at your school/kura, will be eligible for all subsequent payments provided they meet all other requirements of the Scheme.

Eligible Teachers

If you are already teaching at an eligible school due to its decile, you will maintain eligibility to your subsequent payments after 2023 provided you meet all other requirements of the Scheme. More information regarding eligibility will be made in 2023 for the 2024 school year as more decisions are made.

What will you be replacing decile with?

Eligibility settings for 2024 will be decided and communicated in 2023.
If you have any questions, please reach out to us.

More information

For more information please contact us at:

Phone: 0800 550 790
Email:  voluntary.bonding@education.govt.nz

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