NZEI RELEASE For use Wednesday 11th June 2008
Celebrate School Support Staff
The education sector union NZEI is calling on all schools, teachers, parents, and children to support the thousands of people in schools who support them.
Wednesday June 11th is School Support Staff Day and is an opportunity to highlight the work carried out by what is often known as education’s “Invisible Army.”
That’s non-teaching staff, such as teacher aides, administration workers, sports co-ordinators, librarians, nurses and therapists. Support staff represent the largest area of staffing growth in schools, with more than 50 percent being teacher aides. They are essential in supporting children’s learning and in the day to day management of schools.
Despite this, they are one of the lowest paid workforces in the country. They also have little job security as their salaries are bulk funded through the School Operations Grant and schools have to juggle support staff pay with other essential costs.
Support staff have been waiting for over six years for the government to address the issue of low pay in the sector and there was hope this year’s Budget would deliver. However they were disappointed as the increase to the Operations Grant, once extra money for ICT is removed, is only enough to keep up with inflation.
NZEI was hoping to see tagged funding in the Operations Grant for support staff salaries and a commitment to centrally fund some core support staff positions in schools.
NZEI is encouraging schools and the wider community to celebrate the skills of support staff and they commitment and contribution they make to quality public education by marking School Support Staff Day.