Primary teachers, principals to vote on new employment offers

Drive 11/09/2018

Primary school teachers and principals will vote on new employment offers from the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry has drawn up new collective agreements for teachers and principals, and an online union vote will take place next week on whether to accept the offer.

Education workers union NZEI Te Riu Roa says it remains concerned about a growing teacher shortage and inadequate support for children with additional learning needs.

It said the revised three-year collective agreement for teachers includes an increase to base salaries by three percent each year, but it offers no extra funding to support children with additional learning needs such as funding a Special Education Needs Coordinator role (SENCO) in each school.

It said there are no provisions for reducing workloads or class sizes.

NZEI teacher lead negotiator Liam Rutherford said members would consider whether the offers addressed the needs of children and their learning.

"As teachers and principals we can see that the issues in our schools simply can't wait any longer and our students' learning is already being negatively affected because of the difficulty in recruiting and retaining teachers," he said.

"Member leaders are not making any recommendation to the wider membership about whether to reject or accept the offer."

The Ministry said Budget 2018 has provided more than $270 million in additional funding for learning support, and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin is developing a Disability and Learning Support Action Plan.

If the offers are rejected by the membership, the next steps will be discussed at the NZEI Annual Conference next month.

Listen to the full interview with Liam Rutherford above.

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