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PPTA welcomes new education minister

Media Release

19 October 2005

PPTA welcomes new education minister

PPTA is welcoming the appointment of Steve Maharey as education minister and is looking forward to working constructively with Mr Maharey to address key issues in secondary education.

PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said Mr Maharey had extensive experience in education, particularly in the tertiary area and in the interface between schools and tertiary education. She noted the status of Mr Maharey in Cabinet reflected the importance attached to the education portfolio by the new Government.

She said Mr Maharey would have to continue the work of his predecessor Trevor Mallard in tackling a number of barriers to raising the quality of the public education system, not the least of which was secondary teacher workload.

A major Australian research report released earlier this year on secondary teacher workload in New Zealand concluded that workload must be urgently addressed “if the negative effects on the educational achievement of secondary students in New Zealand schools are to be avoided”, Mrs Te Whaiti said.

Other issues requiring attention included the need:
- for an above-inflation increase in the operations grant to cover the increased range of costs faced by schools and parents;
- for additional staff for the effective delivery of NCEA, for smaller classes and to provide an expanded subject choice for students;
- to address shortages in key subjects areas such as maths, science, technology, te reo Maori and international languages because not enough teachers are being trained in these areas.
- to build career pathways for teachers, in areas such as assessment, pastoral care, ICT and mentoring, underpinned by relevant and timely professional development and learning;
- for continued planned investment in a national ICT infrastructure to enable all schools to make effective use of ICT;
- to upgrade the physical environment of secondary schools to provide teachers and students with a higher quality learning environment.
- to raise the status of teaching as a profession.

“We are looking forward to working constructively with Mr Maharey to resolve the workload, recruitment and retention issues affecting secondary teachers today and enhance the overall quality of our public education system,” Mrs Te Whaiti said.

“We believe the constructive, willing and supportive involvement of teachers is crucial to that process.”

ENDS

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