Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.



The Training of Post-primary Teachers

Traditionally there was little, if any, special provision for the training of post-primary teachers. About 25 years ago small groups of graduates were admitted to the teachers' training colleges for a one-year course in post-primary teaching. In 1944 post-primary graduate teacher training was concentrated on a special post-primary department at the Auckland Teachers' College, and in 1954 a similar department was established at the Christchurch Teachers' College. In 1964 the post-primary department in Auckland was given the status of an independent teachers' college under its own principal.

A young person wishing to qualify as a graduate post-primary teacher normally completes two years in the sixth form at a post-primary school and attends university full-time on a post-primary teacher studentship. Under this scheme he has his fees paid and receives allowances which are generous enough to enable him to be economically independent. Post-primary teacher bursaries (of less value than studentships) are available to pupils who have had only one year in the sixth form and who wish to take a university diploma course in physical education, home science, or fine arts. Holders of post-primary studentships and bursaries are attached to the nearest teachers' college in a university centre, and receive guidance and supervision with their courses from specially appointed members of the college staff.

On completing his university course, the holder of a studentship or bursary enters the graduate post-primary course at Auckland Post-primary Teachers' College or Christchurch Teachers' College for a one-year course of teacher training (related to the subjects taken in the university course-e.g., arts, mathematics/science, home science, physical education, fine arts, or music). At the present time considerable numbers of students are permitted to enter the one-year post-primary course with incomplete degrees, and they continue their university studies concurrently with their college course. Graduates or near-graduates who have not been holders of a post-primary studentship or bursary are also accepted for the post-primary one-year course immediately following their university course or direct from some other occupation.

The teachers' college programme covers: general studies in education; principles and practice of teaching; practical and theoretical aspects of the teaching of the student's special subjects and related subjects; study of aims and teaching methods for other subjects of the post-primary curriculum; and study of subjects of general value to all post-primary teachers (e.g., music, art, physical education). The student also spends about one-third of his time in supervised observation and practice-teaching in post-primary schools.

On completing the post-primary teacher-training course, the young teacher is free to take up a permanent position in a post-primary school. He is paid on the teachers' salary scales immediately but is not certificated until the end of his first year of teaching.

Non-graduate training courses are run in a number of specialist subjects. Some of these are for pupils leaving post-primary school and some are for adults wishing to enter post-primary teaching from industry or commerce. Girls who have had at least one year in the sixth form may enter a two-year course for commercial teacher-training at Auckland, or a two-year course for mathematics and science teacher-training at Auckland and Christchurch. On completion of either of these courses, the trainee serves for a year as a probationary assistant in a post-primary school before being awarded a specialist-teacher certificate in the case of commercial teachers, and a trained teachers' certificate in the case of mathematics/science teachers. For girls who have been awarded University Entrance or Endorsed School Certificate or who wish to become homecraft teachers (preferably at the Form I-II level) a two-year teachers' college course, followed by a one-year probationary assistantship, is available at the Auckland Post-primary and Dunedin Teachers' Colleges. Those completing this course are given specialist-teachers' certificates.

For adults with practical or academic qualifications related to the post-primary curriculum, there are various teacher-training courses. Experienced craftsmen are trained as teachers of woodwork or metalwork at Auckland Teachers' College, and teachers of woodwork at Christchurch Teachers' College. For experienced office workers wishing to enter teaching, there is a one-year course in the teaching of shorthand, typing, book-keeping, and commercial practice at the Wellington Polytechnic.

Two emergency courses are at present in operation: one (of one year's duration) in homecraft subjects, for single women, at the Christchurch Teachers' College; and short one-term courses at selected post-primary schools for graduates over 25 years of age who are paid teachers' salaries from the time they start training.

In 1964 the numbers of trainees in the various post-primary teacher training courses (except the one-term emergency courses for older graduates) were:

Homecraft trainees 152
Metalwork and woodwork trainees 46
Commercial trainees 51
Trainees in graduate post-primary teacher training courses 382
Holders of post-primary teacher studentships and bursaries 1,739
Total 2,370