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ECE teacher workforce needs priority focus and fair pay

Research that shows the early childhood education workforce has nearly doubled in the last two decades underlines the urgent need for the Government to prioritise fair pay and its policy focus on our youngest learners, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

A report by Motu Economic and Public Policy Research found the workforce has increased from 29,200 to 57,700, with 94% of them being women and a median income for a qualified teacher in 2017 being $45,500.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National Executive early childhood representative Virginia Oakly said government policy and societal change had dramatically changed the early childhood landscape over the past 20 years, with very little attention being paid to the impacts for young children or the largely female (94%) workforce working with them.

"The first 1000 days are critical to shaping a child's future. We can't afford to leave decisions about the quality of the environment and education our youngest children receive up to chance.

"It's time to put children and the people who work most closely with them at the centre of policy making. That means giving priority to early childhood education and fixing the appalling pay gap between ECE teachers and other teachers in schools and kindergartens."

The pay of qualified early childhood teachers is on average 23% less than other teachers with the same qualifications and experience. Next year the gap will be up to 49% for some teachers.


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