You may be aware of the two large collective contracts being negotiated at the moment, teachers and nurses. The teachers union, NZEI Te Riu Roa union have held meetings over the last two weeks for primary and area school principals and teachers.
There has been a 40% drop in the number of people going into teacher training in just the past six years. This has become even more evident to me for the first time as the number of people applying for our latest job advertised has decreased from around 40 applicants to single numbers at this stage.
With teachers and principals throughout the country, NZEI members at our school will be discussing a number of initiatives to ensure quality teaching for every child and how to make teaching attractive and sustainable as a career.
· Reduced class sizes in year 4-8 (From 1 teacher to 29 students down to 1 to 25)
· Funding for a special needs coordinator in every school, to meet the needs of every child and free up classroom teachers to teach
· A significant pay jolt to encourage new people to enter the profession and stay in it. Along with reduced numbers entering teacher training, a large number of teachers leave the profession within five years of graduating.
Children need teachers with enough time to teach so they can give each child the attention they deserve, and children need talented and inspiring people to be attracted to teaching. Children are missing out on some opportunities to learn because teachers are struggling to get enough support for children with additional learning needs.
You may hear in the near future the media focus on a 16% pay increase over two years and over look the more important solutions that will improve teaching and learning. We hope that our community supports the teacher's at Kaikorai and across the country in their campaign for better conditions.