Studying while employed as a trainee teacher


Employment-based initial teacher education (ITE) aims to attract high calibre students into teaching and give them the skills and knowledge they need to meet the needs of diverse learners.  Under employment-based ITE, teacher trainees are employed by schools as teachers while studying for their teaching qualification, instead of being based in universities.

It allows you to earn while you learn, build confidence with more in-classroom experience, while being supported by a strong mentoring programme. The Ministry of Education provides funding for a mentor teacher to work with you.

The role of mentoring a trainee teacher is a partnership between the ITE provider, the Board and the fully registered associate teacher(s). The ITE provider will be able to supply information setting out the roles and responsibilities of each partner.

How does the process work?

A trainee teacher position must be authorised before the school/kura can advertise the position, and you must be accepted onto an approved employment-based ITE programme before you are employed by the school. Currently Teach First NZ is the only employment-based ITE programme in New Zealand.

During the time that you are teaching, you must hold a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) as approved by the Teaching Council.

Trainee teachers are paid according to the untrained employee or teacher rate stated in the relevant Collective Agreement. The correct step is assessed by the Salary Assessment Unit, depending on your experience and qualifications. Appointments will be fixed-term. For example, while you are working as a trainee teacher, you may be studying at 0.2 full-time teaching equivalent (FTTE), working with your mentor 0.2 FTTE, and teaching between 0.4 and 0.6 FTTE.

Study fees

You are responsible for paying for your own study fees. You can apply to StudyLink for a student loan to cover fees if you are eligible.

As a part-time student, studying less than 0.8EFTS, you can also apply for a TeachNZ Scholarship. If successful, you will receive a fees-only scholarship unless you begin studying at 0.8EFTS or more.

You could also ask your Board if they can help fund your study fees, either fully or partially.

Withdrawing from your course

There will be a period during which you can withdraw from your programme without any financial penalty. You will need to check the conditions for withdrawal with your tertiary provider. If you withdraw from your study programme, your Board must inform the Ministry of Education by writing to

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