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Greens Support PPTA Over Non-Contact Time

Green Party Industrial Relations Spokesperson Sue Bradford today reiterated the Greens' support for the push by the PPTA to get non-contact time for teachers in order to reduce unmanageable workloads.

Teachers are taking industrial action in the Northern region today in support of their claims for higher wages and guaranteed non-contact hours.

"The Greens believe education must be quality education and the push for set non-contact hours for teachers every week would help in reducing the pressures of huge workloads and in doing so would improve quality of education for students," said Ms Bradford.

"At a time when teachers are struggling with constantly climbing workloads, and a third of those who took up teaching in 1999 have already left, it is crucial for teachers to have set non-teaching or marking time to maintain professional relationships with colleagues and parents and be able to respond to the needs of students."

Ms Bradford said the PPTA call for non-contact teaching hours was a very reasonable request which would go a long way towards relieving the pressure on teachers, keeping them teaching and ensuring the quality of education.

"The Greens are very concerned about mounting pressures on New Zealand teachers and we support the PPTA demand for guaranteed non-contact hours as a way to help relieve this pressure," said Ms Bradford.

Many schools already offer or attempt to offer three hours non-contact time, and it is standard in countries such as Australia and the United Kingdom.

"We ask a lot from teachers today, and I do not think that they are asking too much in return," she said.

"There is an increasing demand on our teachers to provide more individualised assessments and teaching for students, meet a broader range of curriculum subjects and provide more extra curricular activities. They cannot continue to provide quality teaching if they do not have the time for planning and preparation.

"We applaud this Government's measures to increase staffing in schools. However it is not enough. Where schools get additional staffing, much of it is put into increasing the range of the curriculum instead of giving teachers non contact time," said Ms Bradford.

"This is a serious situation. With growing student numbers in secondary schools we need more teachers. We need to attract new teachers and retain those already teaching. We know that teachers are leaving the profession because they feel undervalued and overworked. Morale is low.

"Providing an entitlement to three hours non-contact time is a nil to low cost measure to show teachers we value them and the work they do," said Ms Bradford.


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