Teach­ers have plan to solve Auck­land’s ed­u­ca­tion cri­sis

Rodney Times - - PUBLIC NOTICES - SHABNAM DASTGHEIB

Ed­u­ca­tion groups are call­ing for ur­gent in­creases to teacher pay and for Auck­land teach­ers to have their stu­dent loans writ­ten off.

A 10-point plan was launched by the NZEI Te Riu Roa, New Zealand Prin­ci­pals Fed­er­a­tion, Auck­land Pri­mary Prin­ci­pals As­so­ci­a­tion and Waitakere Area Prin­ci­pals As­so­ci­a­tion in Auck­land on Wed­nes­day. The group, rep­re­sent­ing teach­ers and prin­ci­pals, wants the in­com­ing Govern­ment to be­gin im­ple­ment­ing the plan by the end of the 2017 school year.

Prin­ci­pals were con­cerned that if the is­sue wasn’t ur­gently ad­dressed, many chil­dren would have their ed­u­ca­tion com­pro­mised due to over­crowd­ing in class­rooms or lack of a per­ma­nent teacher, Waitakere Area Prin­ci­pals As­so­ci­a­tion Pres­i­dent Donal McLean said.

The on­go­ing teacher short­age in Auck­land has re­port­edly reached cri­sis lev­els with more than 80 per cent of the city’s prin­ci­pals say­ing they are strug­gling to re­cruit teach­ers. A third of Auck­land schools have given up on ad­ver­tis­ing va­can­cies they have been un­able to fill and only 16 per cent of Auck­land schools in­di­cated they were sat­is­fac­to­rily staffed.

NZEI Te Rui Roa pres­i­dent Lynda Stu­art said re­tain­ing teach­ers with di­verse back­grounds in Auck­land had to be a pri­or­ity to make sure chil­dren didn’t suf­fer.

The two-part plan aims to make teach­ing a sat­is­fy­ing and vi­able ca­reer op­tion and to also help chil­dren with ad­di­tional learn­ing and be­havioural needs. Teach­ers needed to have smaller classes and more time with each child and needed time to teach rather than overassess­ing chil­dren, the group said in its plan. Pay needed to be in­creased, stu­dent loans writ­ten off and af­ford­able

‘‘Re­tain­ing teach­ers with di­verse back­grounds in Auck­land has to be a pri­or­ity.’’ Lynda Stu­art

hous­ing in­ves­ti­gated.

New Zealand teach­ers’ salaries were about 80 to 90 per cent of sim­i­larly-ed­u­cated pro­fes­sion­als in 2014, a re­cent OECD re­port said. Their pay pro­gres­sion af­ter 15 years’ ex­pe­ri­ence ranged from 1 per cent to 9 per cent.

NZPF ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Dei­dre Alder­son said while there was no sin­gle so­lu­tion to the teacher short­age, a com­pre­hen­sive plan that worked in Auck­land could also help other parts of the coun­try that were strug­gling to at­tract and re­tain teach­ers.

Last month, Labour leader Jacinda Ardern said her party had set aside al­lo­ca­tions of fund­ing in its ed­u­ca­tion bud­get to deal with the is­sue in the short term.

She said in the long term, Auck­land first needed to ad­dress its hous­ing cri­sis which was driv­ing teach­ers away.

Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion Nikki Kaye also spoke about the is­sue last month say­ing there was a def­i­nite teacher short­age in cer­tain places around the coun­try and in cer­tain sub­jects, the Govern­ment was do­ing all it could to ad­dress it. ‘‘We take it re­ally se­ri­ously. ‘‘From my per­spec­tive if one school has prob­lems get­ting a teacher that’s a cri­sis for them.’’

1. Make class sizes smaller in low decile schools by 2020.

2. Write off the stu­dent loans of teach­ers who com­mit to place­ment in Auck­land schools and other hard-to-staff ar­eas for three 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.

6. Give chil­dren with men­tal health needs ac­cess to High Health Needs (HHN) fund­ing im­me­di­ately.

7. In­crease the na­tional hourly rate used for On­go­ing Re­sourc­ing Scheme (ORS) and HHN fund­ing – which has not changed in eight years - to $19 per hour.

8. Com­mit to at least a 10 per cent in­crease in re­sourc­ing for Learn­ing Sup­port in Bud­get 2018.

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.

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