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Steps to fix teacher shortage are welcome but...

Steps to fix teacher shortage are welcome but class sizes and pay must be addressed to keep teachers

14 October 2018

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed the Government's announcement of new initiatives to address the growing teacher shortage, but says teaching must become a sustainable career choice if there is to be a long-term solution.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said it was good that the government was acknowledging the gravity of the teacher shortage, but the forecast shortage of 650 primary teachers and 200 secondary teachers next year was probably too conservative.

"The Government's new initiatives are a necessary short-term fix in the midst of this crisis, but we really need more sustainable changes for the long term to encourage New Zealanders to enter the teaching profession and stay in it," she said.

"Overseas recruitment may be necessary given this crisis point, but it's a bandaid solution - there's a global shortage of teachers, and if we don't do something about the workload and remuneration of teachers, overseas teachers won't last in the system any longer than our homegrown teachers."

Ms Stuart said the only way to truly fix the shortage was to change the working environment for teachers.

"As we've been saying throughout our collective agreement negotiations this year, we need a significant pay jolt, smaller class sizes, more time for planning and assessment and more support for children with additional learning needs.

"We also need better joined-up forecasting and planning for education and housing, as these affect both student demographics and teacher workforce."

ENDS

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