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Agreement Reached To Pay Good Teachers Good Money

MEDIA RELEASE

EMBARGOED UNTIL 12Noon

11 JUNE 1999

Education Minister Nick Smith today welcomed agreement between the Ministry of Education and the PPTA on a new collective employment contract for secondary teachers. Over the next two weeks the PPTA will take the agreement to secondary teachers for their endorsement.

"Contract negotiations have been going on for over 18 months and a settlement should be welcomed by all. The agreement is a significant step forward for improving standards in secondary education and ensuring that good teachers are paid good money. It does not achieve everything that the Government would have wished. However, in the interests of making progress and ensuring a settled industrial environment within schools, there has had to be compromise."

"The agreement on a set of professional standards for secondary teachers is a very significant step forward. It ensures that before teachers progress up the salary scale, comprehensive standards must be reached. The new provisions in the contract parallel those in the primary sector, but recognise some of the key differences of secondary education."

"The agreement provides for significant improvements in teacher salaries. The largest increase is for graduate teachers whose starting salary will increase from $29,000 to $34,000; an increase of over 17%. This increase is critical if we are to attract the quality of graduates required for secondary education with the large roll increases projected over the next five years."

"Management units paid to teachers for taking on extra responsibilities are also substantially increased by 17%, from $2350 to $2750. This reflects the Governments view that teachers who take on extra responsibilities need to be better rewarded. The general increase in the top of the scale salary of 7% will raise basic salary from $47,100 to $50,300. The increases occur in two steps, the first effective from January 1999, and the second from April 2000. The new contract will expire in April 2001."

"The Government is also pleased that progress has been made on some smaller but significant issues. The President of the PPTA will no longer be funded by the taxpayer. Provisions allowing union meetings in class time have been removed from the contract. Agreement has also been reached to increase from 5 to 10 the number of professional development days that a teacher can be required to participate in outside of normal term time."

"I am relieved and very pleased that agreement has been reached after such long and protracted negotiations. Not only have we avoided the all too common disruption to schools, but we have reached an agreement that will better deliver a quality education for our children."

ENDS

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