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Invest In Teachers, Invest In Aotearoa

Secondary teachers are calling on the Government to invest in young people and Aotearoa New Zealand as they launch a campaign today in support of their collective agreement negotiations, which began formally in July.

“Ensuring that rangatahi have the knowledge, skills, agility and resilience they need is at the heart of Aotearoa New Zealand’s COVID-19 recovery and its future. It’s a hugely exciting and demanding ask. Teachers need to be well supported and rewarded – invest in teachers, invest in Aotearoa,” says Melanie Webber, PPTA Te Wehengarua President.

Melanie Webber says one way the Government can invest in secondary education is by ensuring that salaries and working conditions can attract top graduates into the profession and keep existing teachers there.

PPTA’s latest survey of secondary teacher supply shows how increasingly difficult it is becoming for schools to find suitable staff. The May survey was based on responses from principals of almost 25 per cent of secondary and composite schools around New Zealand. Key findings of the survey are:

  • Almost a third of schools that responded to the survey had teachers working in areas in which they were not specialised, predominantly Te Reo Māori, Maths and Technology, because specialists could not be found.
  • More than a quarter of schools were forced to cancel or transfer classes to Te Kura (Correspondence School), polytechnics or online because specialist teachers could not be found.
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“Secondary education has a huge impact on young people’s life chances. Every rangatahi has a right to specialist teachers in every subject.”

As well as claiming for a pay increase in line with the cost of living, PPTA is claiming for extra staffing for pastoral care in secondary schools, including more guidance counsellors. “An increasing number of ākonga are experiencing a range of mental health and personal issues; more specially trained and skilled staff are desperately needed to work with these students and their families.”

PPTA is also seeking to improve Māori and Pasifika student engagement by creating new community liaison roles and is claiming greater recognition for teachers expert in Māori language and culture but who do not teach at a Māori immersion school. PPTA is also claiming more time for teachers to undertake professional development. “In order to equip our rangatahi with the knowledge and skills they need for their future, teachers need to be at the cutting edge of our subject areas and teaching practice.”

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