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Fund school support staff centrally

11 June 2014

Fund school support staff centrally

The Green Party is urging the Education Minister to move to the central funding of school support staff as primary principals and teachers reject her $359 million flagship education plan.

“It’s a bit ironic that the Minister’s failure to convince primary principals and teachers of the need for her $359 million expert teacher education package comes as the national day is held to recognise school support staff,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“Parents and primary teachers have been saying they want more teacher support staff in the classroom so kids with special needs get the attention they require and teachers can be freed up to teach.

“Both primary principals and teachers yesterday labelled the Minister’s flagship $359 million programme unacceptable and unworkable. They want more support for teachers in the classroom.

“This, and endorsement of a community hubs approach to schools, is the same message that the Green Party heard in our education tour of New Zealand schools recently.

“If Hekia Parata had been listening to teachers and parents she would have got this message before she launched yet another multi-million dollar educational failure.

“School support staff need a round of applause today for working for pay, and in conditions, that most of the rest of us would not accept. Many are earning close to the minimum wage. They do it out of love and a passion for kids and for education.

“Support staff have been at the coalface of the Government’s Novopay nightmare, and those in the classroom are helping the most vulnerable students, while enduring little job security and erratic pay and conditions.

“It makes sense to provide central funding so that schools can afford to pay their support staff fairly and the staff know they have job security.

“Many support staff are paid out of schools’ operational budgets and this often means having to make tough choices between paying a teacher aid, for example, or paying other bills.

“Support staff need support from the Government and schools need a Minister who listens,” Ms Delahunty said.

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