Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


More education professionals to vote on striking

More education professionals to vote on striking
7 August 2018

Learning Support specialists employed directly by the Ministry of Education have today begun a secret online vote over whether to strike for a day on Tuesday 21 August.

Specialists including psychologists, speech language therapists, early intervention teachers, and other professionals provide specialist, itinerant support to the increasing number of children with the highest learning needs in schools and ECE centres.

In meetings around the country last week, NZEI members voted almost unanimously to move to a secret ballot after months of stalling by the Ministry over a new collective agreement. Online voting closes next Monday at 6pm.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive member Byron Sanders is on the negotiation team and said members felt insulted and demoralised when an offer was finally tabled.

"Our members’ caseloads are overwhelming. We need something tangible from the Ministry to reduce our workload, and an improved pay offer,” he said.

“There aren’t enough specialists for the children who need the support, and those of us in the job are pushed to our limits with extreme workloads. We need more front-line specialists so all children get the support they need without delay, and we have to ensure specialist staff are paid enough to both recruit and retain their skills for our children.”

Numbers of children with high needs are increasing. The government has increased funding for those children to access support, but now needs to ensure the specialist staff are available and able to manage with reasonable caseloads.

The Ministry has offered a 2% pay increase on the day of ratification and a further 2% on 1 September 2019.

The Ministry employs about 850 Learning Support specialists, who include educational psychologists, early intervention teachers, advisors on deaf children, Kaitakawaenga, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, speech language therapists and special education advisors. These are also the specialists that go into schools to support students, staff and communities after a tragedy.

They work with children with the highest learning needs, their whānau, parents and caregivers, their teachers and teacher aides/support workers, and the early childhood centres and schools they attend. Children are supported to participate in learning through adapted learning programmes and working one-to-one with specialists.

Learning Support specialists should not be confused with Ministry-employed Support Workers. Support Workers work with individual children mainly in early childhood centres, putting into practice the individual programmes developed by their specialist colleagues.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis Review: The Minstrel in The Gallery - Sam Hunt's Selected Poems

Perhaps the most striking aspect of Sam Hunt's poetry is its quality of urgent authenticity. Encountering this latest compilation, the reader is immediately struck by its easy accessibility, tonal sincerity, and lack of linguistic pretension ... More>>

A Matter Of Fact: Truth In A Post-Truth World

How do we convincingly explain the difference between good information and misinformation? And conversely, how do we challenge our own pre-conceived notions of what we believe to be true? More>>


Scoop Review Of Books: The Road To Unfreedom

Valerie Morse: Yale professor of history Tim Snyder publishes a stunning account of the mechanisms of contemporary Russian power in US and European politics. In telling this story he presents both startling alarms for our own society and some mechanisms of resistance. More>>


Doing Our Bit: An Insider's Account Of New Zealand Political Campaigning

In 2013, Murdoch Stephens began a campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota. Over the next five years he built the campaign into a mainstream national movement – one that contributed to the first growth in New Zealand’s refugee quota in thirty years. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland