23 May 2012
Teacher Freeze on Books Since 2009 – PPTA
Evidence has come to light that frontline teacher staffing cuts have been in the government’s sights since 2009 – making a mockery of claims they are all about investing in quality teaching.
PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker says a letter released under the Official Information Act (attached) shows that back in 2009 the National government was already planning teacher staffing cuts.
The figures in the letter, from finance minister Bill English to then education minister Anne Tolley promise savings of $40 million by capping teacher numbers – leaving schools to cope with roll growth as best they could.
The Treasury was advocating a staffing freeze for the 2011 Budget but this mysteriously disappeared, Bunker said.
“It is obvious the government had decided to keep this unpalatable decision secret from voters during an election year. They didn’t want to go into the election being open about the decision to cut frontline teaching staff.”
Claims by Treasury and Parata that the cuts were to focus on professional development and teacher quality were quite dishonest, Bunker said
“In the meantime Treasury pulled together spin to the effect that bigger classes in public schools were of no importance.”
Saving money by cutting frontline teacher numbers and thereby increasing class sizes has been on the agenda for years. It is a purely mercenary decision, not taking into account the impact on generations of New Zealand’s children.”
The full list of OIA documents released with the letter can be found here: