Teachers’ pay, allowances and qualifications

Qualifications

Teachers enter the salary scale at different steps, depending on their qualifications. Salary assessment uses six qualification groups, each one with a minimum and a maximum salary step.

Salary
group
Number of
teachers
Percentage of
teachers
NQF*
level
Example of qualification
One 4,863 10 5 Diploma in Professional Cookery
Two 1,760 3 6 Advanced Trades Certificate
Three 12,551 25 7 Bachelor of Teaching
Three+ 22,512 44 7 Bachelor of Arts and Graduate Diploma of Teaching
Four 3,834 7 8 Honours degree
Five 2,116 4 9 or 10 Masters or PhD

*NQF = National Qualifications Framework.

The Primary, Secondary and Area Teachers’ Collective Agreements all have different salary scales. For example, here are the entry and maximum steps and salaries for teachers in the 3+ qualification group in a primary, secondary, and area school.

This graph shows the percentage of secondary, primary and area school teachers in each of the qualifications groups.

Notes

  • Teachers can earn more than their maximum salary step if they hold units or allowances.
  • There are about 2,569 day-to-day relievers at their salary maximum; this represents around 5% of trained teachers.
  • There are about 881 untrained teachers; this represents around 2% of the teaching workforce.
  • Group One and Two teachers can move above their maximum step, to step 13, if they hold permanent units.

Primary teachers' by qualification group:

This graph shows the percentage of primary school teachers in each of the qualifications groups.

Secondary teachers' by qualification group:

This graph shows the percentage of secondary school teachers in each of the qualifications groups.

Area school teachers by qualification group:

This graph shows the percentage of area school teachers in each of the qualifications groups.

Base salary

The teachers’ base scale differs slightly in different sectors (primary, area school and secondary). A teacher's starting point on the scale will depend on their qualifications and experience when obtaining a job, it is very rarely at the minimum point of the scale.

  • The base salary scale for trained primary and kindergarten teachers ranges from $35,021 to $71,900. The actual salary will depend on a teacher’s qualifications and experience.
  • The base salary scale for trained area school teachers ranges from $35,244 to $71,900. The actual salary will depend on a teacher’s qualifications and experience.
  • The base salary scale for trained secondary teachers ranges from $44,400 to $71,900. The actual salary will depend on a teacher’s qualifications and experience.
  • Untrained primary teachers can progress to $32,327; untrained area teachers can progress to $37,955.
  • Untrained and unqualified secondary teachers can progress to $36,888 or $66,265 if they have or gain subject or specialist qualifications during their teaching career.

The base salary scale for trained teachers

Salary qualification group Primary teachers Area school teachers Secondary teachers
Group 1 entry $35,021 $35,244 -
Group 2 entry $37,715 $37,955 -
  $41,754 $42,020 -
Group 3 entry $45,796 $46,087 $44,844
  - - $46,460
Group 3+ entry $47,330 $47,559 $47,874
Group 4 entry $49,164 $49,400 $49,894
Group 5 entry $51,856 $52,314 $53,025
Group 1 max $56,177 $56,255 $56,459
Group 2 max $60,236 $60,178 $60,499
  $65,396 $65,145 $65,796
Group 3 max $68,074 $68,074 $68,755
Group 3+/4/5 max $71,900 $71,900 $72,645

The base salary scale for untrained teachers

  Primary teachers   Area school teachers Salary group Secondary teachers
Entry $30,979 Entry $31,176 Group 1 entry $30,603
Max $32,327   $32,533 Group 2 entry $31,934
      $35,244   $34,596
    Max $37,955 Group 3 entry $37,257
          $41,247
        Group 4 entry $45,239
        Group 5 entry $46,571
          $48,567
          $51,226
        Group 1 max $55,220
        Group 2 max $59,211
          $64,666
        Group 3 max $66,928

Many teachers receive an allowance in addition to their base salary.

Allowances and units

Allowances are made up of units, management allowances, role-related allowances, and incentive allowances. The annual cost of these allowances to the Government is over $252 million. On average, allowances add about $5,900 to a teachers’ base salary.

Units

In state primary, secondary and area schools, one unit is worth $4,000.  The purpose for awarding units to teachers differs slightly depending on the sector.

  • In primary schools a unit can be awarded for the purposes of management, responsibility, recruitment, retention and/or reward. The employer (school boards of trustees) shall consult with its teachers in determining a policy to determine the use of units at its school.
  • In secondary schools the employer (school boards of trustees) determines the use of units after consultation with the teaching staff.
  • In area schools a unit can be awarded for the purposes of management, responsibility (which may include responsibility for the curriculum), recruitment, retention and/or reward. The employer (school boards of trustees) determines the use of units following consultation with the teaching staff.

In addition to these are the role-related allowances, allowances for some schools that are geographically isolated or hard to staff, and management allowances which differ according to the sector.

Primary teachers

  • 43% of primary teachers are allocated units on top of their base salary (allocations range from one to nine). The annual cost is about $99 million.
  • Primary teachers can get a role-related allowance if they teach at a Normal School, teach Sign Language, or teach in a Māori Immersion school or classroom.

Secondary teachers

  • 47% of secondary teachers are allocated units on top of their base salary (allocations range from one to seventeen). The annual cost is about $88 million.
  • Most middle and senior management allowances in secondary schools go to unit holders. The annual cost is about $9.5 million.
  • Secondary teachers can get a role-related allowance if they teach in a Māori Immersion school or classroom, if they are a Specialist Classroom Teacher, or if they are a Careers Advisor.

Area teachers

  • 49% of area school teachers are allocated units on top of their base salary (allocations range from one to ten). The annual cost is about $11 million.
  • Most middle management allowances in area schools go to unit holders. The annual cost is about $0.5 million.
  • Area school teachers can get a role-related allowance if they are a Specialist Teacher, if they teach in a Māori Immersion school or classroom or if they are a Careers Adviser.

Payments for recruitment, retention and responsibility (3R payments)

Boards may make these payments from their operational funding to individual teachers, with the objective of enhancing educational outcomes.

The 3R payment is $2,750 for primary and up to the value of $4,000 for area and secondary teachers. Teachers may be allocated more than one payment.

Superannuation

Teachers may choose to join KiwiSaver and receive employer contributions in accordance with the scheme rules (currently set at 3% of gross earnings).

Separately, teachers may be members of a number of schemes that are now closed to new members. These include:

  • Teachers Retirement Savings Scheme and State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme – the employer matches a teacher’s contribution up to 3% of the gross salary. Teachers can elect to make voluntary contributions in excess of their subsidised contribution.
  • The Government Superannuation Fund – the employer contribution is either 10.7% or 7% of the gross salary.
  • National Provident Fund – the employer matches the teacher’s contribution up to 3% of the gross salary.

Average pay1 (salary and allowances) since 2000

Between March 2000 and 2012, overall average teacher pay (salary plus allowances) in state and state integrated schools increased as follows.

  • Secondary teachers’ average pay increased 54.8%, from $47,764 to $73,955.
  • Primary teachers’ average pay increased 64.5% from $42,358 to $69,660.
  • Area school teachers’ average pay increased 57.8% from $45,936 to $72,470.
  • Overall, teachers’ average pay increased 60.6% from $44,542 to $71,526.

Inflation increases1

Inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), increased by 40.2% to the March 2012 quarter.

Labour Cost Index and Average earnings1

The Labour Cost Index (LCI), which measures changes in wages and salaries, increased by 35.7% to the March 2012 quarter and average earnings increased by 56.1%.

Percentage increases achieved through bargaining

The three teacher collective agreements have provided percentage increases to teachers’ base salary rates as follows.

2002-2004

  • Total increase of 6.6% over three years.
  • Total increase of about 12.1% for teachers who moved to the new G3+ salary group.

2004-2007

  • Total increase of 8.7% over three years.
  • Additional $500 lump-sum payment, representing a further 0.9% increase to the salary rates.

2007-2010

  • Total increase of 12.5% over three years.
  • Additional $750 lump-sum payment, representing a further 1.2% increase to the salary rates.

2010-2012 – Primary teachers

  • An increase of 2.75% over 20.5 months.
  • Additional $300 lump-sum payment, representing a further 0.4% increase to the salary rates.

2011-2013 – Secondary teachers

  • Average increase for trained teachers of 2.86% over 22 months.
  • Additional $300 lump-sum payment, representing a further 0.4% increase to the salary rates.
  • No salary increase for untrained teachers; a lump sum payment of $800, representing an increase of between 2.7% and 1.2% (depending on the teacher’s salary).

2011-2013 – Area school teachers

  • Average increase of 2.77% over 22 months.
  • Additional $300 lump-sum payment, representing a further 0.4% increase to the salary rates.

1 Base year = March 1999