Recently a few of our team at Education Personnel have had beginning teachers approach them with questions about relieving in schools and centres. These teachers want to know when relief demand will pick up so they can make financial plans for the year ahead. This is really useful information for every beginning relief teacher to know, so we’ve put together a short guide on term-by-term relief demand.
While it’s virtually impossible to to get the numbers of every relief placement in every schools and centre in New Zealand, the graphs below which are based on the number of placements made by Education Personnel’s relief team in 2013 will give you a good idea of the term-by-term demand for relief teachers.
Last March, EP’s General Manager sent out an email to the team to let us know that our relief service was going to get a whole lot busier. The following quote from his email sums up relief in Term 1 perfectly:
“In December relief activity dozes off for a long nap... and then slowly wakes up and stretches around Feb, In March it sits up, scratches and drinks some coffee. In April it goes mental and starts running round naked swinging a golf club.”
This is true for both ECE and primary/secondary relief, though as you can see in the above graphs ECE relief is much more ‘awake’ than primary/secondary in the first term. As we discussed in our last blog post, most ECE centres don’t run on a term system, and as a result its job market is less affected by the time of year.
In comparison, for primary and secondary schools the first term is a hugely important in terms of setting up and settling in new classes. As such many teachers choose not to undertake professional development or anything else which might take them away from the classroom and disrupt children’s learning during the first several weeks.
TERMS 2 AND 3
In Term 2, relief activity suddenly skyrockets for primary and secondary teachers, and increases slightly for ECE teachers. There are a number of reasons for this:
Teachers tend to get sicker more as the weather becomes colder. Teachers in their first year in particular tend to get sick as they haven’t had the chance to build up their immune systems.
If teachers are parents, they may have to look after their sick children.
Teachers often take professional development in the second and third terms.
At ECE centres, the number of enrolments may increase throughout the year but not enough to hire a new teacher, or there may be extra ‘casual’ children on a given day so they need another teacher to make up ratios.
Relief activity usually peaks in the third term, with the coldest months of July and August.
Term 4 tends to be quieter in terms of relief, especially towards the end of the year, with December the least busy month. For primary, this isn't a huge drop, but for ECE the drop-off is quite dramatic. Again, there are a number of reasons for this:
The weather improves and teachers don't get sick as often.
Teachers tend to not take leave towards the end of the year with the summer holidays so close.
Many ECE centres hire in the middle of the year so may have enough teachers to meet their ratios.
Relief in secondary schools is very scarce once senior students go on exam leave in mid-November.
Relief in January is non-existent for primary and secondary teachers, and very quiet for ECE teachers.
Hopefully this will help beginning teachers starting in relief to understand the demand throughout the year.