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United Future Calls For Whole Teaching Rethink

Media Statement
For immediate release
Monday, 26 January, 2004

United Future calls for whole teaching rethink

With schools returning this week short some 270 teachers nationwide, the Government needs to go back to the drawing board on the whole issue of recruiting and retaining teachers, United Future leader Peter Dunne and education spokesman Bernie Ogilvy said today.

"There were substantial pay rises not so long ago, but they have certainly not solved the problem," they said.

"We have a greying profession, and strong anecdotal evidence that the structure and nature of the work is discouraging young teachers from moving into middle management roles in schools.

"When some 39 percent of the teachers who left schools in one recent school term were actually leaving the profession, then you have real problems," they said.

Mr Dunne also pointed to a pay scale still focused on time-served rather than performance in the classroom, and a rigid pay structure that doesn't allow a principal "to say I'm going to pay an extra five grand to get that PhD in maths or science".

"A major rethink is needed all round."

The average age of the men and women at the chalk face is 49, and the number of secondary trainee enrolments has fallen by 10.5 percent between 1999 and last year.

"These are damning figures, and need to be addressed. But in reality, they are not being addressed, and we have this annual round of tut-tutting in late January. The children of this country deserve better."


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