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Schools Celebrate Their Support Staff

Schools Celebrate Their Support Staff

Nine thousand members of NZEI Te Riu Roa, who work as support staff in schools, will today celebrate the vital part they play in educating the country’s children.

The support staff work as secretaries, executive officers, science and IT technicians, teachers aides, therapists, librarians, sports co-ordinators, kaiarahi i te reo, who are fluent Maori speakers, and in many other non teaching roles in primary, intermediate, area and secondary schools.

They are a fifth of the membership of NZEI Te Riu Roa, the country’s largest education union, which also represents primary and early childhood teachers and staff in special education and the schools’ advisory service.

Today is Support Staff Day and events will be held at schools throughout the country in recognition of the vital work they perform.

“Support staff are often the unsung heroes of our schools. Anyone who has any involvement in education knows how essential their work is in providing a quality education for New Zealand’s children,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa, National President, Bruce Adin.

“The administrative work done by secretaries and executive officers is vital to the day to day operation of schools. Librarians and science and IT technicians provide the specialist service that is becoming more and more important as the range of subjects taught in schools increases. Teacher aides, therapists and nurses are essential in ensuring students with special needs get the help they need to participate fully in classroom activities.”

“The importance of support staff is growing as schools become more high tech in the push to make New Zealand a knowledge economy.”

“But as well developing their computer skills students are developing their creative talents. They’re making videos, doing photography and producing drama, art and music. It’s the support staff who have the specialist skills that enable teachers to provide these activities so our children are equipped to be part of the knowledge economy,” says Bruce Adin. NZEI Te Riu Roa began representing support staff 11 years ago and today will be the tenth Support Staff Day. Schools throughout the country will be holding events while many of the union’s branches and district councils are holding breakfasts, lunches or dinners with guest speakers to celebrate the role support staff play in educating New Zealand’s children.

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