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Growing parental concern about teacher crisis

20 September 2018

Public concern about the teacher shortage remains strong - and has grown among those with primary-aged children - along with support for a significant teacher pay rise, according to new research.

Following the August 15 strike, a survey by Navigators* for NZEI Te Riu Roa found that 87% of respondents believe primary teachers need a pay rise. Of those, 68% believe teachers need a pay rise higher than 9%. In June, that figure was 60%. The Ministry has recently offered teachers an additional 3% a year for three years.

New Zealanders continue to agree that there is a shortage of primary school teachers (88% in August and June, 85% in March). Amongst those who have children at primary school, agreement is much higher (92% in August, up from 82% in June and 81% in March).

There is continued agreement that students with additional learning needs require more support (93% agreed in August, 91% in both March and June).

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said it was clear that the public shared the concerns of principals and teachers.

“Particularly for those who have children at primary school, they can see the issues we’re facing. The struggles schools are already having to recruit and retain teachers and even find relievers are already having a negative impact on our students’ learning,” she said.

“We’ve been telling the Government that our children can’t wait and the crisis must be addressed meaningfully now, before it gets worse. Trainee teacher numbers have dropped dramatically and teachers are leaving the profession because they are worn out, can’t get enough learning support for the students who need it, and the pay is utterly inadequate for professionals with their level of qualifications and responsibilities.”

“We’re heartened to see this level of public support and understanding for our campaign to ensure a quality education for every child and a teacher in every classroom. We see it as a mandate for the Government to take bold steps to turn this crisis around. It’s not just about pay – the workload and extra learning support for our students are essential elements that must be addressed.”

Other findings:

• Support for more investment in education remains strong at 87% (85% in June, which was down from 91% in March).

• New Zealanders continue to agree that a pay rise will improve primary teacher numbers (84% agreed in August and 82% in both March and June).

*NZEI Te Riu Roa commissioned the research, which was an online survey of 1014 people, nationally representative by gender, age (20yrs +), and region. It has a maximum of +/- 3% margin of error at the 95% confidence level.


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