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Nzei Te Riu Roa Welcomes Funding For More Teachers

Nzei Te Riu Roa Welcomes Funding For More Teachers

Wellington - NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the announcement of an increase in Government funding that will deliver more teachers and enable a reduction in class sizes for Maori students being taught in Maori and for students in smaller primary schools.

The Minister of Education, Trevor Mallard, has announced that the Government is allocating close to $167 million over the next four financial years that will provide an extra 774 primary and secondary teaching positions, over and above those required for roll growth.

"NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the Minister's pre-Budget announcement as around half of those extra 774 teaching positions will be in primary schools," says NZEI National President, Bruce Adin.

The Minister has announced that the extra funding will enable the class size for Maori students who are taught in Maori, for more than 12 and a half hours a week, to be capped at 20 students.

"The union is particularly pleased that extra teachers will be used to reduce class sizes for Maori students being taught in Maori. We applaud this commitment to Te Reo. It is increasingly evident that Maori who are strong in their language gain a huge benefit and are better equipped to realise their full potential," says Bruce Adin.

The Minister also announced that the extra funding will see the maximum average class size for students in Year 1 to 8 primary schools, with a student roll of 175 or less, drop from 27 to 26.

"Many of these smaller schools are in rural areas and have classes that include children of different ages. A reduction in the class size will help lower the workload for teachers in these schools and enable them to devote more teaching time to each student which will improve their learning," says Bruce Adin.

The Minister also announced that the extra funding will enable principals of schools with more than 60 students to have more time to provide leadership for the school.

"Many of these principals teach classes as well as manage their schools. They have a huge workload and this extra funding will give them more time to do the management work and provide the leadership that is needed to run a successful school " says Bruce Adin.

The Minister has committed to further staffing increases in future years by implementing the recommendations of the School Staffing Review Group by 2007 at the latest, with an endeavour to complete them by 2006.

"The government is to be applauded for the extra funding announced today but NZEI Te Riu urges the Minister to deliver the extra staffing recommended by the School Staffing Review Group as soon as possible. Research has shown that having more teachers and smaller class sizes improves student learning which is an investment that provides dividends for the whole country," says Bruce Adin.

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