Government package to ease teacher shortage is just the start
13 December 2017
Educators have welcomed the government’s $9.5 million package to address the teacher shortage but say much more needs to be done to attract and keep teachers in the profession.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said the modest package was useful but not sufficient to solve the crisis in Auckland and elsewhere. There was also no mention of the severe shortage of ECE teachers.
An NZEI principal survey released this week showed that one in five Auckland schools expect to be at least one teacher short next year and another 27% still don’t know whether they will have enough teachers.
Ms Stuart said Budget 2018 needed to look longer term at what was needed to recruit and retain teachers so every child received the education they needed and one-on-one learning time.
“Teachers are telling us that it is the cost of housing and transport in Auckland and other expensive regions that are driving them out of teaching, along with the stress of trying to meet the learning needs of every child despite inadequate funding support for children who need extra assistance,” she said.
“We need principals freed to lead – not taking over a class because they can’t find a reliever when a teacher is sick. We need teachers freed to teach – not struggling with massive classes and without enough teacher aide support, particularly to meet the needs of children with learning and behavioural needs.
“The two things that will really make a difference are if teachers feel able to do their job well because they are supported to meet the needs of every child, and remuneration that attracts people to teaching and enables them to stay in the profession,” said Ms Stuart.