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PPTA welcomes extra money for trainees

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Media Release

16 October 2003

PPTA welcomes extra money for trainees

PPTA says the Government’s announcement of extra funding for more secondary teacher trainees in subject shortage areas and for student loan relief for some new teachers will go some way towards solving recruitment and retention problems in secondary schools.

PPTA president Phil Smith said the Government was acknowledging that there were shortages and was willing to address them, a far cry from its position two years ago.

“In terms of teacher recruitment, the extra funding for the teacher trainee allowance is excellent news. We are already seeing increasing numbers of secondary teacher trainees graduate and this trend needs to continue as student roll numbers increase in secondary schools over the next few years.”

Mr Smith also said the $2500 payment to all maths, te reo Maori and physics teachers , and for English, chemistry, PE, computing and biology teachers in hard-to-staff areas in each of their second to fourth years of teaching would help ease the burden of their student loans.

However, he was disappointed that new teachers of other subjects would not receive the loan relief. He said a gathering of 15 young and new teachers at PPTA’s recent annual conference illustrated the scale of the student loan problem. Of the 15, 13 had student loans, averaging $22,000.

“We heard from many young teachers how difficult it is to make ends meet with a student loan. That suffering is across the board, and not just in one or two subjects or in hard-to-staff areas.”

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Mr Smith said ever-increasing teacher workload – particularly for heads of department – and the lack of time for teacher professional development were key issues that needed to be addressed to improve retention in the longer term.

“PPTA is looking forward to the recommendations of the Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration later this year to pave the way for lasting solutions to retention problems,” he said.

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