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Lab inaction sees Auckland teacher crisis implode

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

30 November 2007

Labour inaction sees Auckland teacher crisis implode

Labour has been warned for months that the teacher shortage in Auckland is at crisis point, but only now, when there is little chance of fixing the problem before next year’s classes start, is the Minister taking the problem seriously, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Katherine Rich.

Two months ago, the Principals Federation said the situation was so bad in South Auckland that some children were getting a different relieving teacher every day, and the Auckland Primary Principals Association said some schools couldn’t even find a teacher to fill in.

“And now, the Auckland Primary Principals Association says a massive 40% of Auckland schools do not have full staffing at the moment and that they have been warning of the crisis for a year. Only now is the Minister willing to meet them.

“At the Ministry of Education’s financial review, officials assured the Education and Science Select Committee that there would be enough teachers for classrooms in 2008 – this was clearly untrue, and it defies belief that they have not been aware of this for months, if not longer.

“Former Minister Steve Maharey did nothing but deflect direct questions and offer patronising platitudes. It is clear that new Minister Chris Carter has done nothing to improve the situation.

“The teacher shortage is only going to get worse over the next year, with predictions that an extra 270 teachers will be needed in Auckland to lower the Year 1 teacher/student ratios.

“This situation is already causing alarm about the quality of teaching being offered in some schools, with pupils seeing a continual stream of different teachers or, even worse, no dedicated class teacher at all.

“Because Steve Maharey refused to reveal the truth about the extent of the shortage and take responsibility for the crisis, we are now just weeks from the beginning of the 2008 school year with a problem that seems insurmountable.

“Chris Carter’s only avenue now is to level with the sector, admit they have totally misread or ignored the crisis, and pray that hundreds of teachers materialise in the next two months.”

ENDS

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