Educators welcome Labour’s commitment to put the ‘free’ back into free public education and to developing a plan to fix the chronic teacher shortage, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.
“Labour’s full education manifesto, if implemented, would mark the beginning of a rebuild of schooling and early childhood education, which has suffered nearly a decade of underfunding,” NZEI Te Riu Roa immediate past president Louise Green said.
“Teachers and support staff are particularly pleased to see Labour acknowledge that every child, including those with additional learning needs, has the right to a great education.
“More and more children are coming to school with complex additional needs that we are not resourced to meet. Labour’s plan to fund a special needs coordinator (SENCO) in every school, centrally fund support staff, and work towards removing the cap on high needs funding, is a sign it’s backing every child to succeed.
“NZEI also applauds commitments that begin to put the ‘free’ back into free public education, with the announcement that Labour would provide an extra $150 per student for schools that don’t ask parents for donations.
“Labour’s promise to address the teacher shortage with a proper recruitment and retention plan, including looking at voluntary bonding and guaranteed placements for beginning teachers, will help make teaching a more attractive option.
“Educators resoundingly reject National Standards, and welcome the promise to replace them with a better system that encourages each child’s unique potential,” Mrs Green said.
Labour has previously announced it will back quality ECE by restoring funding for 100 percent qualified teachers. However, NZEI members look forward to it fully restoring funding that’s been eroded from ECE after an eight year freeze on the per-hour per-child subsidy.
NZEI will also continue to push for smaller class sizes, which are not promised in Labour’s plan.
“This election is an opportunity to back children, and fix the chronic underfunding of education. All political parties should rise to this challenge,” Mrs Green said.