Education crisis warning
Te Awamutu College principal Tony Membery took the opportunity during his address at the school’s senior prizegiving to ‘get political’.
After welcoming everyone to the event to celebrate the achievements of their students, thanking them for their support and praising the board of trustees and staff for their excellent work, he said there was a crisis in education due to the teacher shortage.
He said it was now across all subjects and had been growing during previous Governments and was inherited by the current leaders.
“People responsible for the predictions and supply at the Ministry of Education and Colleges of Education have much to answer for,” he said.
“The Government and Ministry of Education are dreaming if they think that they will find the required teachers in the next two months.”
Tony said the statistics for the future now made bleak reading and he could not see any plan in place that would solve the issue.
His own survey of his senior students showed fewer each year plan careers in teaching at any level.
For those young people who do enter the profession, attrition is shocking — 20 per cent of primary and 50 per cent of secondary teachers leave within five years of graduating.
“We can’t recruit and train enough teachers; we can’t retain enough teachers; and a large number of secondary teachers are due to retire in the next five to 10 years.
“The status of this valuable profession needs raising.”
Tony said sufficient numbers of suitable teachers need to be trained and if that meant returning to the old system of paying their way through University and Teacher Training and then bonding them for a period of service in New Zealand — “then do it”.
“I urge our community to let politicians know that you are worried and that you value the important role that teachers play in the lives of our children and teenagers.
“Education should not be a political football.”
Board of trustees chairman Craig Yarndley said he understood his address should be a board report, but said he posted meeting summaries on the school website throughout the year and assumed everyone had read them.
Instead he offered some thoughts that would be of benefit to the students, and the rest of the school community at prizegiving.
He said Te Awamutu College and its community was blessed to have Tony Membery, his senior management team and staff that we have.
Craig thanked parents and wha¯nau of the school for supporting students in their endeavours to get to school, complete work and assignments and take advantage of everything the school had to offer.
On behalf of the board, he thanked all the contractors and associated personnel who helped provide a safe and up to date learning environment so students could flourish. He also took the opportunity to thank the Rogers Trust, which assists the school community with additional funding when it is available.
He thanked his own board for their diligence and hard work to perform the role they were elected for and said they helped set a great tone for the school.
Finally he thanked the students.
“You all need to use the foundation that has been set, to take hold of all opportunities offered and push yourselves to be the best you can be,” said Craig.
He said students needed to measure themselves against the only measure that matters — “Did I do my best?”
“Don’t shoot yourself in the foot if you stuff up or feel you have missed an opportunity.
“Remember, tomorrow is always another day, so start then.
“However, don’t let tomorrow be an excuse for not doing your best today.”
Te Awamutu College principal Tony Membery called for the community to let Government know education was valued and a solution to the teacher shortage was vital.
Te Awamutu College Board of Trustees chairman Craig Yarndley thanked various people and groups for working together to make Te Awamutu College such a great school.