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Early Childhood Teacher Shortage Support Package Response

The Early Childhood Council welcomes the news today from the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins, that he is beginning to recognise the teacher shortage crisis in the early childhood education (ECE) sector and the impacts that this is already having on teachers and whanau. Following several meetings with ECC and other sector representatives last week, including hearing directly from ECC members about their day-to-day struggles, the Minister and his officials are starting to work their way through some of the surface level issues that the sector is facing.

The Minister has considered some of the ECC’s suggestions and presented a package of support:

• Assistance for getting more teachers from overseas to help with the severe teacher shortage that is seriously impacting the early childhood sector. There will be a $4 million package of initiatives to attract people to teaching in ECE, as well as recruit teachers from overseas. This will include a Relocation Support Grant for 2019/20, fully funded for the first 300 applicants
• An increase in the discretionary hours that centres can access to help with a lack of qualified teachers. From 1 October this year until 31 May 2020, ECE centres can increase their number of discretionary hours from 40 to 60 per funding period
• The Ministry will also consult on proposals to change the regulation that would allow a primary-qualified, registered and certificated teacher to hold the role of Person Responsible in ECE – albeit only for designated hours such as the end of the day

“On behalf of our members our message to the Minster and his officials is that while we are grateful for this latent support, this is not enough” Mr Reynolds said. “These are sensible changes that should have been made in the first year of this new government.”

“Our whanau and our children need the services they rely on to be strong and robust. We will not have a strong and robust sector by working at small issues around the edges.”

“We want to be at the table discussing pay parity for our teachers.” The advice from the Minister is that this needs to be part of the Budget process and will require a stepped approach. “The Minister has decided that primary teachers are worth fighting for and now we need him to stand up and say that Early Childhood Teachers are also worth it.”

“We invite you back to the table Minister and let’s keep talking.”

© Scoop Media

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