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Turner: School support staff need support

Turner: School support staff need support

United Future education spokesperson, Judy Turner, is backing the 27 000 support staff in New Zealand schools, who voted yesterday to endorse a package calling for improved pay and working conditions.

“Support staff are crucial in enabling our schools to run effectively, but do not receive the support, recognition or appreciation that they deserve,” says Mrs Turner.

“These are the teacher aides, therapists, librarians and others that assist our children on a daily basis, yet most support staff are only paid for 40 weeks of the year, from only $11.72 an hour and have very little job security.”

Support staff are bulk funded out of the schools larger operational budget, from which they pay electrical bills, maintenance and other expenses.

“The government must end support staff bulk funding from the operational grants. Schools should not be in a position where they must choose out of funding staff contact hours for children, or maintaining classroom buildings.

“Direct funding is the first step to ensuring better and more stable working conditions for support staff, and the ‘annualisation’ of salaries.

“Most support staff currently do not get paid during school breaks, and are constantly threatened with cut-backs in hourly contracts. Paying salaries to support staff will help with job security and payment, as well as enable a wage-scale that recognises different levels of qualifications.

“This is essential to encouraging a highly skilled and motivated support staff sector,” Mrs Turner says.

“When the Operations Funding Review by the Ministry of Education is completed in October, I hope that the Minister will move to help our support staff get the treatment and recognition that they fully deserve, but are currently lacking.”

ENDS

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