Open Polytechnic launches new Initial Teacher Education Programmes

Posted on 26 October 2022

New programmes being launched by the Open Polytechnic are using an innovative network approach to widen national access to initial teacher education. 

Following approval from the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand and NZQA, Open Polytechnic, a subsidiary of Te Pūkenga, is offering a suite of Initial Teacher Education (ITE) programmes. The programmes have been created with the purpose of opening accessibility to teacher training for ākonga (learners) in the community where they are based; enabling ākonga to enrol and study by open distance and flexible learning from anywhere in Aotearoa. 

Two of the practice-based programmes, the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary Education) and the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary Education) are now open for enrolment.  

Two other programmes, the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary Technology Education) and the Bachelor of Teaching (Primary Education) will be open for enrolment from early 2023.  

There are five components to the delivery of the Open Polytechnic ITE programmes; online learning, academic study, school-based learning, practicum and noho marae.  

From L-R: Implementation Manager, ITE, Igor Maksimov, Alan Cadwallader and Alex MacCreadie.

Open Polytechnic Executive Director School Strategy, Alex MacCreadie says what makes the ITE programmes unique is the partnership approach that Open Polytechnic has created. “This model involves a three-way partnership between the ITE provider, schools, and regional delivery partners, who arrange school-based learning and help schools to work together to support ākonga at different stages of the learner journey.” 

All candidates need to have a relationship with a school. They are known to the school and the school will be backing their candidate. That’s what is central to the partnership.” 

“What’s unique about these programmes is how they give schools the opportunity to develop teachers from within their community with whom they already have a relationship. These candidates get the option to train without leaving their area and they are already embedded in their community so will help with hard to staff areas or increase a COVID-19 affected reliever pool.” 

Open Polytechnic Executive Director Learning Delivery, Alan Cadwallader, says that the non-traditional approach to the design of the programmes would help reach ākonga who would otherwise not consider a pathway to initial teacher education.  

“Reaching these ākonga requires us to work in collaboration with partner schools, our Te Pūkenga network and other stakeholders.” 

“Harnessing the benefits of an Open Distance Flexible Learning (ODFL) delivery model also means that ākonga who engage in this programme can be based anywhere across the motu, further strengthening our ability to reach those for whom traditional initial teacher education may be difficult to access.” 

For more information about the Initial Teacher Education programmes currently open for enrolment, the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Secondary Education) see here: and the Graduate Diploma in Teaching (Primary Education) see here: