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Principals' survey: intentions for 2018

12 December 2017

We've asked primary, intermediate and area school principals for an idea of how their budgets were looking in 2018.

The unfortunate story is that much like last year's survey, the prognosis doesn't look good. Many principals are telling us that they'll need to make cuts to teacher aide hours to stay within their operational budget.

Meanwhile, the ongoing teacher shortage means that principals are struggling to fill teaching vacancies or find relievers.

See our full report below.


Data summary from Principals' Staffing and Resourcing Survey November 2017

Target Population: Members of NZEI Te Riu Roa Primary Principals’ CA and Area School Principals
Total population: n = 1948
Total respondents: n = 623
Confidence Level: 95%
Margin of error: +/-3%

Notes of caution

  • Respondents to this survey were self-selected, and caution needs be applied in interpreting results due an element of bias that this can introduce.
  • Due to rounding error percentages may total to slightly more or less than 100%.

What region are you in?

Northland 37 6 %
Auckland 132 21 %
Waikato 80 13 %
Bay of Plenty 35 6 %
East Coast 15 2 %
Taranaki 21 3 %
Hawkes Bay 30 5 %
Manawatū/Whanganui 41 7 %
Wellington 72 12 %
Nelson/Tasman 11 2 %
Marlborough 6 1 %
West Coast 10 2 %
Canterbury 65 10 %
Otago 45 7 %
Southland 23 4 %

What is your school's decile?

All regions

Decile 1 56 9%
Decile 2 59 9%
Decile 3 58 9%
Decile 4 67 11%
Decile 5 61 10%
Decile 6 62 10%
Decile 7 75 12%
Decile 8 58 9%
Decile 9 60 9%
Decile 10 67 11%

Auckland only

Decile 1 16 12%
Decile 2 14 11%
Decile 3 12 9%
Decile 4 14 11%
Decile 5 8 6%
Decile 6 4 3%
Decile 7 11 8%
Decile 8 16 12%
Decile 9 15 11%
Decile 10 22 17%

Are you planning to cut teacher aide hours in 2018 to meet budget?

All regions

Yes 273 44%
No 264 42%
Not sure 86 14%

Auckland only

Yes 46 35%
No 63 48%
Not sure 23 17%

Number/proportion planning to cut teacher aide hours by decile

All regions

Decile 1 Yes 18 33%
No 25 45%
Not sure 12 22%
Decile 2 Yes 27 46%
No 26 44%
Not sure 6 10%
Decile 3 Yes 30 51%
No 17 29%
Not sure 12 20%
Decile 4 Yes 36 54%
No 25 37%
Not sure 6 9%
Decile 5 Yes 29 48%
No 26 43%
Not sure 6 10%
Decile 6 Yes 31 50%
No 27 44%
Not sure 4 6%
Decile 7 Yes 35 47%
No 30 40%
Not sure 10 13%
Decile 8 Yes 25 43%
No 20 34%
Not sure 13 22%
Decile 9 Yes 18 30%
No 33 55%
Not sure 9 15%
Decile 10 Yes 24 36%
No 34 51%
Not sure 9 13%

Auckland only

Decile 1 Yes 3 19%
No 9 56%
Not sure 4 25%
Decile 2 Yes 3 21%
No 9 64%
Not sure 2 14%
Decile 3 Yes 6 50%
No 2 17%
Not sure 0 0%
Decile 4 Yes 8 57%
No 5 36%
Not sure 1 7%
Decile 5 Yes 4 50%
No 4 50%
Not sure 0 0%
Decile 6 Yes 3 75%
No 1 25%
Not sure 0 0%
Decile 7 Yes 5 45%
No 5 45%
Not sure 1 9%
Decile 8 Yes 4 25%
No 6 38%
Not sure 6 38%
Decile 9 Yes 4 29%
No 9 64%
Not sure 1 7%
Decile 10 Yes 6 27%
No 13 59%
Not sure 3 14%

If you answered yes, what percentage of total teacher aide hours are you planning to cut?

All regions

= 331

0 - 10% 116 35.05%
11 - 20% 105 31.72%
21 - 30% 51 15.41%
31 - 40% 22 6.65%
More than 40% 37 11.18%

Auckland only

n = 63

0 - 10% 29 46.03%
11 - 20% 19 30.16%
21 - 30% 9 14.29%
31 - 40% 2 3.17%
More than 40% 4 6.35%

If the government goes ahead with its promise to fund an extra $150 per student to schools that don't ask for whānau donations, are you planning to take up the offer?

All regions

Yes, we will be better off 475 76%
Yes, we will receive about the same as we do now from donations 24 4%
Yes, although it will be a bit less than what we receive now from donations 9 1%
Yes, although it will be a lot less than what we receive now from donations 3 0.5%
I'm not sure at this stage 69 11%
No, we receive much more in donations 35 6%
No (other reason) 8 1%

Auckland only

n = 132

Yes, we will be better off 79 60%
Yes, we will receive about the same as we do now from donations 7 5%
Yes, although it will be a bit less than what we receive  now from donations 0 0%
Yes, although it will be a lot less than what we receive now from donations 0 0%
I'm not sure at this stage 24 18%
No, we receive much more in donations 20 15%
No (other reason) 2 2%

If you would receive more funding by scrapping donations and taking up the extra $150 per student, what will be your NUMBER ONE spending priority?

All regions

n = 577

Increasing teacher aide hours 237 41%
Increasing hours of other support staff 15 3%
Purchasing classroom resources 22 4%
Subsidising school trips and  other activities 69 12%
Keeping up with general school costs 138 24%
Purchasing assistive technology or other physical resources for learning support 11 2%
Accessing specialist learning  support other than teacher aide hours 43 7%
Other 42 7%

Auckland only

n = 110

Increasing teacher aide hours 40 36%
Increasing hours of other support staff 5 5%
Purchasing classroom resources 5 5%
Subsidising school trips and  other activities 9 8%
Keeping up with general school costs 36 33%
Purchasing assistive technology or other physical resources for learning support 2 2%
Accessing specialist learning support other than teacher aide hours 8 7%
Other 5 5%

Do you expect to have all the teaching staff you need at the beginning of 2018?

All regions

n = 623

Yes 412 66%
It's too early to say 122 20%
No, we will be 1 or 2 short 87 14%
No we will be 3 or 4 short 2 0.5%
No we will be 5 or more short 0 0%

Auckland only

n = 132

Yes 70 53%
It's too early to say 35 27%
No, we will be 1 or 2 short 25 19%
No we will be 3 or 4 short 2 2%
No we will be 5 or more short 0 0%

It was easy to find suitable relieving staff this year

All regions

n = 623

Strongly agree 16 3%
Agree 147 23%
Disagree 264 42%
Strongly disagree 196 31%

Auckland

n = 132

Strongly agree 2 2%
Agree 14 10%
Disagree 58 44%
Strongly disagree 58 44%

Fast facts

  • 44% of respondents said that they would need to cut teacher aide hours.
  • Principals’ top spending priorities if they received any extra funding:
    • 41% would hire more teacher aides
    • 24% would spend it on general running costs
    • 12% would spend it on school trips and activities
  • 74% said it was hard or very hard to find reliever teachers this year, while 79% believe it will be hard or very hard to find reliever teachers next year.

How it compares

Last year we surveyed principals in primary, area, intermediate and secondary schools to ask them how the operations grant freeze would affect their decisions in 2017. Here's what we learned.