Educators are concerned that support staff – representing a third of the education workforce – have not received a single mention in any of the government papers relating to its review of education funding.
NZEI Te Riu Roa national secretary Paul Goulter says it is a staggering oversight considering the vital role of support staff in helping students succeed and in keeping schools running.
“Everyone, for example, knows the important role played by teacher aides,” he says.
“Cabinet papers raise the options of ‘global budgets’ and ‘per child funding’, neither of which will improve schools’ abilities to adequately pay support staff and increase their job security.
“Support staff are essential to our education system, but they seem to be entirely forgotten in this review. Teacher aides, in particular are usually paid barely more than minimum wage from already-squeezed school operations grants, and have little job security.
“NZEI is ensuring that their concerns and needs are raised as part of this review. If we value the children these essential employees are helping, we must value support staff as well. Teachers are paid from central ministry funding and it should be the same for support staff,”
NZEI’s fundamental commitment on behalf of its members is to maintain and enhance free and equitable access to education for all children regardless of their personal circumstances.