Teachers protest against ‘disastrous’ govt policy
Investing in Education Success is a ‘‘disastrous’’ policy.
That is what Newton Central deputy principal Josephine McKendrey had to say when she protested outside MP Nikki Kaye’s office last week.
NZEI members marched on MPs’ offices across the country, demanding changes to the $359 million initiative.
The policy would see some teachers and principals take on new leadership roles – and receive higher pay as a result.
Schools would opt into small groups and leaders would be selected from within that collaborative structure.
Instead McKendrey says there needs to be more support staff, more specialist teachers for students with learning needs and more educational psychologists available to schools.
‘‘But the Government appear to have stopped listening to the education sector and asking us teachers for ideas and our views.’’
She says youngsters who need extra support deserve to have access to it.
‘‘A teacher sadly has to weigh up the actual chances they might have of the student being picked up by the services.
‘‘Often these services have so many students to consider picking up that they have to narrow down the criteria for giving support.’’
Services need better funding to allow more trained staff and hours to schools.
She says if that happened then ‘‘no child would be left behind’’.
Richmond Road School teacher Jackson Vogt says NZEI teachers and principals have made it clear what they think by overwhelmingly voting against the policy late last month.
‘‘We have essentially voted no on a pay rise – that is almost unheard of but we know the money needs to go to the kids, not to our pockets.’’
He says the money would be better spent on support staff who have a huge impact in the classroom.
‘‘Yet the money for support staff at the moment comes out of the same pool as the
to photocopying. That doesn’t value them or show how important they are to these kids.’’
He says the Government has picked up how important collaboration is but sadly they’ve missed the heart of the concept.
‘‘Instead what we have here is a style of management that is being forced on us.
‘‘Well we are standing up and saying no.’’
NZEI has come up with its own plan for spending the $359 million, which includes smaller class sizes, high quality early childhood education and more help for kids with special needs.
It also involves initiatives that support success for Maori and Pacific students and ensuring sustainable funding for school support staff.
No go: Teachers Ally Kemplen, Josephine McKendrey, Samantha Bennett and Jackson Vogt join an early morning protest against the Government’s Investing in Education Success.
Organisers Jenny Hunt, Judy Lewins and Diana Munroe welcome visitors. Front row: Lesley Thomson and Anne McKinnon get ready for the event.
Guest speaker: Professor Winston Byblow addresses the audience. He is the director of the Movement Neuroscience Laboratory at Auckland University.
Good friends: Meadowbank U3A members Gay Williams and Jenny Marbeck.
Having fun: Janette Moore and John