This sheet explains the six entry criteria you must meet to be considered for a teacher training programme at NZGSE.

1. Have a suitable academic background

As the name implies, New Zealand Graduate School of Education trains graduates as teachers.  This means that you must have a degree to be considered for entry to one of our programmes.

An applicant for the secondary programme must have papers to at least 300 level in a teaching subject appropriate to the secondary school curriculum.  (Applicants who wish to teach a technology subject in a secondary school, and who do not meet the requirement to have a degree plus 300 level papers, should contact us to discuss their qualifications.)

If you have an overseas degree, you will need to arrange for the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to assess your qualification.  This will normally need ot be done before we process your application.

2. Be competent at communicating in English

A person’s ability to teach is limited by their ability to communicate with their students.  Mastery of spoken and written English is imperative for any person working in New Zealand schools.

An extra requirement applies to applicants for whom English is not their first language.  If you fall into this category, you must provide evidence that you have completed the academic version of the IELTS test within one year prior to applying for the programme, and that you achieved at least 7.0 in all components of the test.  This is a minimum standard before your application can be considered.  We will want further information about your success at functioning in an English-speaking environment from your referees or from our own assessment of your English.  Applicants born in New Zealand are exempt from this requirement.

Competency in English is also an important requirement for applicants who speak English as their first language.

3. Be of good character

We need to be reassured that you are a person of good character.  On the application form, you are asked to provide the names and contact details of two referees who can confirm that you are a person of good character.  We will also form our own impression if you are shortlisted for an interview.  Here are some factors we consider.

Respect for others

We are wanting people who show respect for others, respect for New Zealand’s cultural and social values, and respect for other people’s views.

Law abiding

Teachers are role models for young people and need to respect the law.  We ask you to declare, in your application, any convictions or pending court cases.  We also conduct a New Zealand police check later in the enrolment process.


We are wanting people who have a track record of being reliable, trustworthy and honest.


We are wanting those who will nurture and care for young people.

4. Be fit to be a teacher

We need to be reassured that you are physically and mentally fit to carry out a teaching role safely and competently.

Physically fit

It may not appear to be, but teaching is a physically demanding job.  Whether it is being on your feet much of the day, going up and down stairs, or taking fitness sessions for school students, teachers need to be physically fit. We ask you to declare, in your application, any matters that may impact on your ability to manage the physical aspects of the job.

Mentally fit

The stress of teaching can expose or trigger mental illness. As with physical fitness, we ask you to declare, in your application, any matters related to mental illness that may impact on your ability to do the job. Depression is the most common mental condition. If you have experienced depression before, it is imperative that we know.

If you have a physical or mental condition that is well managed, so that it will not impact on your ability to be a teacher, we ask that you explain how it is managed.  At NZGSE, we are aware of our obligations not to contravene the Human Rights Act 1993 by unlawfully discriminating against applicants.

5. Be suitable to be a teacher

Teaching is not for everyone.  It requires resilience, commitment, patience, enthusiasm, assertiveness, cooperative skills and a willingness to learn.  At NZGSE we are very careful to select applicants who will cope with our challenging programme and have personalities suitable for teaching.  Your referees’ opinions, and our own views from interview, are used to assess your suitability for teaching.

6. Be employable

An applicant may meet all of the previous criteria yet have a low likelihood of employment upon completing the programme.  For example, this may occur for a secondary graduate with teaching subjects not currently required by schools .  NZGSE may decline an application when we consider a person has a low chance of employment.  We consider it unethical to train people in these circumstances.