Educators call on government to waive police check charges

Teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa is calling on the government to waive costs of police checks for adults who work around children. 

From July, schools will be charged nearly $10 for each police check of staff, parents and volunteers working with the children, after an initial 20 checks. However, school principals have said that without any additional government funding to meet the additional expense, it’ll come at the cost of education. 

“The safety of New Zealand’s children should be a top priority for both the government and for the police,” says NZEI president Lynda Stuart. “The cost of vetting should be waived for education in the same way that it will be for charities.

“Schools and ECE services want to be absolutely certain that every adult who works or helps out around their children is safe. But asking us to pay hundreds of dollars for vetting, when our budgets have been frozen, will force us to find ways to cut costs elsewhere. Whenever cuts in education are made, children lose and that’s not right.

“We’ve been asking the education minister for months to reverse a freeze on schools’ operations grant this year, and to reverse six years of cuts to ECE funding. Now we’re asking the police minister not to add to the financial pressure schools are under by forcing a new costs onto already stretched budgets.

“New Zealand can afford to give our kids the best and safest education in the world. Our kids are worth it.”

About Anna Clements

Anna Clements is the School News print and digital editor. She has a background in journalism spanning 25 years across newspapers, magazines and television, and spent six years working as an editorial advisor to a group of ECE centres.

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