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Unregistered, unqualified teachers could harm NZ reputation

22 February 2013

Non-registered, unqualified teachers could damage NZ’s reputation says ISEA

"Charter Schools could undermine the reputation of our teachers as highly qualified professionals and create barriers for movement of teachers within New Zealand" said Malcolm Walker, President of the Independent Schools Education Association (ISEA).

ISEA is presenting its submission to the Select Committee at 10.30 today (Fri 22 Feb) in Auckland.

Proposed changes to the Education Act could allow charter schools to hire non-registered, unqualified teachers and ISEA says this is unacceptable.

All schools in New Zealand currently require teachers to be registered and subject to the rules of the Teachers Council. These teachers can move freely between the state and independent sector. The checks and balances of this system (including the mandatory reporting regime) are valued and expected by parents.

ISEA is also concerned that the charter schools will be unaccountable to the public.

"The rationale for the introduction of charter schools is bewildering. This unfortunate experiment singles out Christchurch and South Auckland as regions for the introduction of Charter Schools. It ignores the existing character schools in Christchurch that already fill many of the roles proposed for charter schools but with full accountability.

We already have a wide number of independent schools available in New Zealand, faith based schools, neighbourhood schools and so forth, so we fail to see why the introduction of Charter Schools is necessary" continued Mr Walker.

"Whilst many independent schools in Christchurch were impacted by the earthquake they are up and running today and I am confident of the future of independent schools and what they offer.

We do not need to undermine our teachers and threaten our state and independent schooling system by emulating a failed model from a different culture with a different history of schooling children. The Bill is an embarrassing attack on schools, on the New Zealand education system with its agreed educational standards and on teachers for purely ideological reasons." concluded Mr Walker.

Text of the ISEA submission is here.

Notes

The Independent Schools Education Association ISEA is the professional association and union for teachers and support staff in independent schools in New Zealand.

There are 87 independent schools with 29 000 students (2011) i.e. 4% of school aged students.

ISEA was founded in Auckland in 1967, incorporated in 1974, and registered as a union in 2000, and is a member of Education International. We have 700 members who share a professional concern for their students, their schools and education generally. They are concerned for the professional status of teachers and working conditions within the sector.

Teacher registration and the Teachers Council uphold the professional standards of teachers in the state and independent sector. Currently teachers within both parts of the sector can move freely between the sectors. Teachers in independent schools are registered and subject to the rules of the Teachers Council.

The regulatory impact statement (prepared and released by the Ministry of Education) highlights the contradiction of the government striving for improvement in teacher quality yet waiving teacher qualifications for teachers in charter schools: The government has initiated a programme of work to improve teacher quality as a matter of high importance and urgency. The review of the Teachers Council is part of this work. Teacher registration is one the most influential levers in raising teacher quality across the profession in both state and private schools. Allowing charter schools to stand outside this work will significantly damage the credibility of the Crown

ENDS

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