Media statement on today's primary teacher and principal strike

Statement can be attributed to Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary, Early Learning and Student Achievement.

“We are disappointed that primary principals and teachers have chosen to strike.

“Teachers and principals do a really important job and reaching an agreement remains a priority for us. We have agreed to resume mediation after the strike.

“We are listening to their concerns which is why our offer, alongside a number of announcements that have already been made by the Government, aims to address those concerns.

“This year’s Budget provided additional funding in a number of areas principals and teachers are concerned about including; $272 million for learning support, $59 million for teacher aides, and $394 million for new schools and classrooms.

“NZEI lobbied hard to get rid of National Standards which they said created high workloads, were disempowering for teachers and created stress for children. The Government removed them.

“We know that teacher numbers are tight in some regions and in some areas, like technology and te reo Maori. That’s why we have offered to increase salaries for new teachers in the current bargaining round.

“The Government is already doing a number of things to address teacher supply. In 2017, the Education Minister announced a $9.5 million teacher supply package to address immediate pressures by supporting more graduates into permanent teaching positions, supporting experienced teachers back into the profession and recruiting new graduates into teaching. A further $20 million was provided in Budget 2018 to continue to fund these initiatives over the next four years.

“Early figures suggest these teacher supply initiatives have been popular. As at 1 August 2018, we have funded more than 980 teacher education refresher places to remove cost barriers so that teachers can return to teaching faster. 139 teachers coming to New Zealand have received the Overseas Relocation Grant to help with their costs as at 20 July, and 41 schools have received a Finder’s Fee to help with the costs of recruiting these teachers.

“$370 million was also set aside in the Budget for 1500 new teaching places by 2021 to meet population growth.

“It’s important to note that retention numbers remain high. The number of primary school teachers remaining in the job has increased from 91.8 percent in 2014 to 93.8 percent in 2017.

“We know strike action is difficult for parents and their employers. We look forward to negotiations continuing in good faith.”

More information about the Ministry’s offer can be found here: http://www.education.govt.nz/news/statement-on-bargaining/ 

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