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Govt must also do more to increase early childhood teachers

Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand says the government must also do more to increase early childhood teacher numbers.

‘It astounds us that the government has not included early childhood teachers in its recruitment drive for primary and secondary school teachers,’ says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive, Kathy Wolfe.

‘The early childhood situation is just as bad as the primary and secondary school one. This year, 800 new early childhood teachers were needed to replace those leaving the profession, and 1300 more teachers were needed to meet growth in demand for early childhood education places.

‘Early childhood must not remain the poor cousin. Research shows time and time again that the early years are crucial to a person’s educational and social development. We are amazed that the government is not paying much attention to early childhood education benefits.

‘New Zealand’s youngest children deserve a lot better. We need passionate, qualified early childhood teachers to teach our world-recognised early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki and to work in our quality early childhood services.

‘These services want to do the very best for the children for which they are responsible. To do that, they need enough qualified, experienced and passionate teachers.’

Ms Wolfe says that Te Rito Maioha supports the proposal to put early childhood teachers on the skills shortage list.

‘This is a pragmatic short-term solution, which will help alleviate current teacher supply issues and growing teacher stress.

‘However, the government must do more to address the fundamental issues that are causing the shortage.

‘These issues include there being no pay parity between early childhood teachers and their primary and secondary counterparts; government funding that does not support there being 80-100% of qualified early childhood teachers in centres; and less than satisfactory working conditions for many teachers due to inadequate funding of the early childhood sector for the past 10 years.

‘The government must address these issues to make a career in early childhood attractive and reduce the churn of teachers. If the government does not do something fundamental to reverse the past 10 years’ decline, New Zealand will never have enough qualified early childhood teachers and our children and society will pay the price.’

Ends

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