Press Release – NZEI
Education leaders announce plan to fix Auckland teacher crisis
In an unprecedented move, four education groups representing New Zealand’s principals and teachers have announced a sector-lead plan  to turn around the Auckland teacher crisis.
NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand Principals Federation, Auckland Primary Principals Association and Waitakere Area Principals Association have developed a 10-point plan, which was launched at Fruitvale School in New Lynn this morning.
The group is calling on the incoming Government to adopt and begin implementing the plan within its first 100 days – by the end of the 2017 school year.
“Attracting and retaining a range of great people with diverse backgrounds into teaching in Auckland must be a top priority to ensure that children’s learning doesn’t suffer,” said NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said.
Waitakere Area Principals Association President Donal McLean said principals were deeply concerned that if teacher supply was not urgently addressed, many children would have their education compromised because of classroom overcrowding or lack of a permanent teacher.
The plan has two parts – making teaching a satisfying and financially viable career option, while also improving assistance for children with additional learning and behavioural needs so teachers are empowered to give the best possible education to all their students.
“If the needs of children with learning and behavioural needs continue to be neglected, we will all suffer the loss of their potential,” said APPA President Kevin Bush.
“There is no single solution to the teacher shortage,” added Cherie Taylor-Patel, an Auckland executive member of NZPF. “But a comprehensive plan that worked in Auckland would also succeed in other parts of the country struggling to attract and retain teachers.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa, NZPF, APPA and WAPA recommend:
1. Make class sizes smaller in low decile schools by 2020 so that teachers have more time with children.
2. Write off the student loans of teachers who commit to placement in Auckland schools and other hard to staff areas for 3 years.
3. Let teachers teach rather than spending too much time over-assessing children.
4. Increase teacher pay.
5. Investigate making affordable housing for key public sector employees a priority in Auckland housing projects.
Genuinely prioritising children with learning and behavioural needs helps all children achieve their potential. We need to do this by:
6. Give children with mental health needs access to High Health Needs (HHN) funding immediately.
7. Increase the notional hourly rate used for Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS) and HHN funding – which has not changed in eight years – to $19.00 per hour so that the work and skills of people working with high needs children is valued properly.
8. Commit to at least a 10 percent increase in resourcing for Learning Support in Budget 2018 to make up for nine years of a staffing freeze – we need a realistic level of specialist services to meet demand.
9. Fund special needs coordinators (SENCOs) to meet the needs of every child in every school in Budget 2018.
10. Value teacher aides and other support staff by committing to a Living Wage by 2019 and a ten-year strategic plan to develop the workforce.