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Good teachers deserve to be rewarded

Hon Bill English MP National Party Education Spokesman

10 December 2003

Good teachers deserve to be rewarded

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says a report by the Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration has backed up the National Party's view that good teachers deserve bigger rewards.

"The report explicitly identifies problems with the current remuneration scheme, saying it 'may not be sufficiently closely aligned to performance to send strong signals to the most able teachers.'

"Put simply - teachers have little incentive to do a better job educating our kids and the present system results in top teachers being underpaid," says Mr English.

"I believe there is a mood among teachers for significant changes to break the cycle of frustration. The current system is inflexible. It restricts the ability of schools to respond to subject shortages and makes it more difficult to attract top teachers to disadvantaged and rural schools.

"While the taskforce is right to recognise these problems, National believes any new system of remuneration must avoid placing too much emphasis on qualifications as indicators of teacher ability.

"The proposal to create 'milestone' qualifications - achieved through the accumulation of specified credits - could potentially create more red-tape than it is worth. Any system based on postgraduate certificates, diplomas and 'masterates' should not replace already adequate indicators of teacher value.

"Recent research shows it's teacher competence in the classroom that is most important. What we need to do is provide recognition for teachers workplace-based learning as well as their day-to-day performance in the classroom.

"Any new system of remuneration must make this a key criteria for salary upgrades," says Mr English.

"The report shows New Zealand is behind the rest of the world in providing incentives for good teachers. More than half of our secondary teachers are on the top rate of pay.

"I urge the Minister of Education to take note of the findings of his taskforce because they will be critical to a successful industrial round next year.

"More head banging and bullying from Trevor Mallard just won't work. There needs to be more flexibility put into the pay scale, so principals are able to reward high performance and extra responsibilities," Mr English says.

Ends


(For copies of the National Party Discussion Document Schools of Excellence visit: )

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