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More staffing = less headaches for schools

More staffing = less headaches for schools

Education Minister Trevor Mallard’s budget decision to fund extra secondary teacher positions will come as a major relief for many secondary schools next year, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

Mr Smith said the decision comes after earlier indications from the Minister suggested there would be limited money available for extra staffing in the budget.

He said the extra staffing would enable schools to employ the equivalent of at least one extra teacher per secondary school, in addition to any staffing generated by roll growth.

It would make a significant difference to teacher workloads and schools’ ability to implement the four non-contact hours provided for in the collective agreement without dropping courses or increasing class sizes.

“We are pleased to see that the government is committed to improving staffing and improving teachers’ working conditions and is honouring its pledge to implement in a timely manner the extra staffing recommended by the Staffing Review Group.

“Schools which have already moved to four non-contact hours have found that the workload pressures for teachers have been significantly eased.

“Ultimately, this results in less stressed teachers with more time to deliver higher quality teaching and learning to their students and there are strong indications that the guaranteed time during the school day for preparation and for administration and other non-teaching duties has encouraged secondary teachers who would otherwise have gone elsewhere to stay in our schools.”

Mr Smith looked forward to other meaningful recruitment and retention initiatives. He said that an early resolution of the degree equivalent issue would be another step in the right direction to removing supply pressures in a number of subjects.

“Subjects such as technology, maths, computing and Maori are suffering from significant shortages, some worsened by degree equivalent teachers being excluded from the top step of the secondary salary scale.

“For many of these teachers it’s the relative decline in their status, symbolised by the loss of the money, which is most demoralising.”

The extra staffing for 2004 will mean that five of the ten steps of SRG staffing will have been implemented, giving most schools two and a half teachers more staffing than they would have otherwise had.

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