Pay equity work matrix

The pay equity work matrix sets out the grades for teachers aides and the most common skills, responsibilities and demands that apply to each.

Level of compliance Main audience Other


  • Teacher aides
  • Education workforce employees and employers
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Boards

About the work matrix

To create a fair pay equity rate, we needed to understand the work teacher aides do.

When the Ministry of Education, NZSTA and NZEI Te Riu Roa investigated the teacher aide pay equity claim, we gathered information about teacher aide work. We use this information to create the work matrix.

This matrix has 4 grades, A, B, C and D. Each grade sets out the most common skills, responsibilities and demands of teacher aides. They fall under 3 broad areas of teacher aide work:

  • general support (classroom/academic)
  • additional support (for example, behavioural, high health or pastoral)
  • te ao Māori (this acknowledges the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the bicultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, and that all students should have the opportunity to acquire knowledge of te reo Māori me ōna tikanga).

The grade you are on will indicate which pay rate you are on.

Pay equity rates

Grade A

At grade A, core skills include:

  • listening
  • patience
  • empathy
  • encouraging
  • resilience.

General support

The teacher aide follows structured programmes, lesson plans and activities. They:

  • work with students under teacher supervision on a set variety of standardised and specified tasks. For example, early words, SRA reading programme
  • assist students to stay on task
  • monitor and observes students and acts to build trusting relationships with students and colleagues
  • are responsible for own work under regular supervision although may show others how to perform tasks as part of their orientation
  • collaborate with others in their team
  • prepare resources required by the class, for example, photocopying, laminating, paint preparation
  • respect and accommodates language, heritage and cultures in a multi-cultural environment.

Additional support

They support learners' wellbeing, health and safety. The primary responsibility of the role is the health and safety of a student/s. They:

  • perform simple tasks related to feeding and personal hygiene and/or
  • monitor and observe these students inside or outside the classroom.

Te ao Māori

This is a developing skill. They:

  • require some familiarity and ability to function on an informal basis in a Māori cultural context and/or 
  • respect, accommodate and have some basic knowledge of Māori language/pronunciation, culture, beliefs, values and heritage
  • have an interest and commitment to further developing their reo.

Grade B

At grade B, additional skills may include:

  • active listening
  • calmness
  • tact.

General support

The teacher aide can follow structured programmes but can make minor adaption and creates activities. They:

  • work with individual students and small groups delivering a range of subjects and topics or work more in-depth in a single or limited range of subjects
  • can make minor adaptions to lesson plans and resources to ensure learning objectives are achieved and in response to individual student needs
  • design activities to supplement programmes
  • support inclusion in school and amongst peers and takes appropriate action to support students’ wellbeing
  • have more day-to-day independence (but will still regularly collaborate with colleagues)
  • have occasional supervisory responsibility for other employees, parent help or volunteers
  • use a language other than English in daily conversations to provide assistance or respond to needs
  • use multi-cultural knowledge to guide students and colleagues or develop rapport.

Additional support

They directly support students with specific health, behavioural and/or other needs. They:

  • provide direct support for specific health, behavioural and/or other needs of student/s in order to enhance the student’s ability to integrate, improve, be independent and participate more fully in the school
  • implement behavioural, physiotherapy, and/or occupational therapy programmes as prescribed by specialists
  • be responsible for a range of physical care and ensure the students’ dignity is maintained
  • show precision in providing care and safe handling is required
  • constantly monitor for escalating behaviours and diffuse these situations (if responsible for behavioural needs students).

Te ao Māori

They support and guide reo and tikanga. They:

  • adapt and prepare te reo Māori resources and activities to support programmes
  • use te reo Māori in daily conversations to provide assistance or respond to needs
  • support teachers by guiding students and colleagues in tikanga on marae and during pōwhiri
  • participate in activities that encourage kaitiakitanga
  • support and encourage the use of te reo in the classroom.

Grade C

At grade C, additional skills may include:

  • ongoing mentoring
  • emotional engagement
  • de-escalating difficult situations
  • negotiation and/or persuasion.

General support

The teacher aide can independently deliver ongoing programmes with ability to adapt as required. They:

  • have a high level of day-to-day independence which includes planning tasks and activities and clear accountability for delivering specific programmes to agreed standards
  • will involve tailoring, testing, adapting and creating individual plans and resources within the programme
  • provide regular provision of coaching and mentoring, guidance and training to other employees
  • will identify and take action to understand the causes of students’ emotional states and provide appropriate support or alert others where escalation is required
  • provide cultural leadership which requires specific language skills, knowledge and expertise. Translates resources and materials into languages other than English 
  • provide translation support for students.

Additional support

They support students with complex health, behavioural and/or other needs. They:

  • have specific expertise requiring active intervention to support students with additional needs. These needs include some or all of medical, behavioural, academic, pastoral and personal care. Skills may include learned  physiotherapy techniques, proficiency in braille, sign, Makaton, and medical support for example, mic-key
  • are constantly vigilant for escalating behaviours and defuses difficult situations which may pose risks to themselves or others (if responsible for behavioural needs students). For example, they can de-escalate the situation to avoid the need for restraint 
  • support a student’s wellbeing by engaging with family to address identified pastoral issues and enhance the student’s ability to attend school and/or participate. This would include assisting new migrants with their transition into Aotearoa New Zealand culture and environment.

Te ao Māori

They can speak and role model te reo Māori. They:

  • deliver te reo Māori programmes including adapting and preparing resources and activities
  • translate resources and learning materials into te reo Māori
  • speak te reo Māori when  representing the school in the community
  • coordinate and deliver kapa haka and/or other Māori arts programmes
  • use their knowledge of students’ background and whānau in order to make connections and provide appropriate support
  • work with whānau and kaiako to support and encourage students’ learning
  • provide leadership at cultural events.

Grade D

At grade D, additional skills may include:

  • de-escalating extreme emotionally charged situations
  • complex planning
  • leadership.

General support

The teacher aide can create, plan and deliver ongoing programmes requiring strong technical proficiency and skills. They:

  • develop programmes, lesson plans and associated resources
  • develop and organise or have a major collaboration role in a number of complex activities or programmes requiring the development and approval of longer term plans
  • have permanent supervision of other teacher aides or support staff
  • are immersed in at least 2 cultures and provide leadership across cultural boundaries.

Additional support

They provide highly specialised support for students with complex health, behavioural and/or other needs. They:

  • have highly specialised skills are required to provide services to students with highly complex needs
  • have in-depth understanding of the students’ conditions and capabilities involves the independent or shared responsibility to amend, adjust or modify the level and type of support in response to progress or change
  • formulate programmes for student/s
  • leads crisis management interventions
  • can de-escalate extreme emotionally charged situations and overcomes significant barriers to learning by employing a wide range of techniques and competencies over time
  • are aware of and respond to unpredictable behaviours where there are significant risks of harm to the student or others (if working with behavioural students)
  • provide pastoral support, services or cultural liaison to student families on the school’s behalf to enable them to engage with education, integrate into the community and/or access appropriate community assistance.

Te ao Māori

They are a strong leader and advocate for te reo Māori in the kura and community. They:

  • plan, coordinate, develop and deliver learning programmes to support students’ achievement in Te Marautanga o Aotearoa
  • teach subjects from Marau ā-kura in the national or local curriculum
  • provide expert advice and guidance to teachers on te reo Māori, tikanga and/or how best to work with Māori students
  • support kaiako and work with whānau to address serious physical, emotional and/or mental  issues
  • have a high level of fluency and good tikanga to apply a broad application of te reo Māori skills, customary concepts and traditions together with the ability to function effectively in Māori culture
  • provide leadership in the school and/or community.

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