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45,000 NZEI Members Oppose Mapp Bill

27 July 2006

45,000 NZEI Members Oppose Mapp Bill

The country’s largest education union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, today presented a submission opposing the Bill, by National MP Wayne Mapp, that will mean anyone who starts a new job can be sacked during their first three months and have no ability to challenge their dismissal.

The submission was presented to Parliament’s transport and industrial relations select committee by Ian Leckie, who’s principal of Tahatai Coast School in the Bay of Plenty, and a member of NZEI’s National Executive.

“NZEI members oppose the Wayne Mapp Bill because it will be bad for New Zealand’s education system,” says Ian Leckie.

“That’s because it will discourage teachers, principals and support staff from moving between schools, especially schools that find it difficult to attract staff.”

Teaching is a mobile profession. It’s common for a teacher’s career to begin in a rural community, or a low decile urban school, that struggles to attract staff. They often move away from these schools as they gain experience then return later in their careers to take a job as a senior teacher, deputy principal or principal.

“If this Bill were to become law, teachers will be reluctant to take the chance of moving to a school in a remote location,” says Ian Leckie. “For more than 200 schools, classified as ‘isolated’ by the Ministry of Education, the difficult task of finding staff, will become almost impossible.”

New teachers, burdened with student debt, will avoid jobs in remote schools and seek positions in urban areas. That way if they are dismissed within the first 90 days of taking their new job, they have a better chance of finding another position, without facing the expense and difficulties of relocating.

Experienced teachers and principals will also be reluctant to sell their house and move their family to another part of the country, if there’s a risk their job will be terminated during the first three months, and they’ll be stranded in a new area with no income.

Early childhood teachers will also be discouraged from taking up new positions, at a time when early childhood education centres need to attract and retain qualified and registered staff, to meet requirements for funding and licensing.

“It’s clear that if this Bill is passed, it will have a negative impact on the 750,000 children who attend New Zealand’s schools,” says Ian Leckie. “Plus the 164,000 children who attend kindergartens and other licensed early childhood education centres.”

“It will make it difficult for teachers and principals to move from school to school to advance their careers. That will mean that, throughout the country, schools will miss out on the regular infusion of fresh energy and ideas that new staff provide.”

“This is why it’s essential, for the education of our children, that this bill does not become law,” says Ian Leckie.


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