Māori principals join call for support staff pay rise

Te Akatea NZ Māori Principals are adding their voice to the growing number of educational groups that is calling on the government to provide a significant funding increase for school support staff.

Te Akatea wants to challenge the Ministry of Education and the government to provide not only a wage increase that reflects the value of their work but also to fund schools for the actual cost of that increase. Otherwise, school boards – who had operational funding frozen this year – will have to reduce the provision of services that are essential for quality education as support staff wages are funded from the operations grant.

“We want to acknowledge the valuable contribution in particular of our Māori support staff to the ongoing challenge of raising Māori student achievement across Aotearoa. We also acknowledge the increased demands on support staff to handle increasingly difficult situations in their schools and the increased need to be more qualified and skilled in the ever broadening scope of their roles,” said Te Akatea vice president, Myles Ferris.

“Paying support staff more without increasing funding for schools is an empty gesture and it has happened for too long,” he says. “Schools either have to reduce hours or cut roles completely, seriously putting in jeopardy the education and well-being of our students, just to ensure there are no budget blow-outs.”

Mr Ferris also suggests that additional funding is factored into Special Education so that provisions for students with special education needs are not further eroded by the wage increase.

The Support Staff Collective Agreement is currently being negotiated by NZEI Te Riu Roa.

One comment

  1. Support Staff Pay Increase – this is something long overdue for support staff. As an administrator in a primary school for the past 27 years I have seen how a majority of our teacher-aides work with some difficult children and are so badly paid. They are employed to work with a specific child but are expected to help out wherever they are needed and do not get a break (uninterrupted). The other thing is that if the union is able to get a pay increase for support staff, if they are on Grade A, they will never move out of it, no matter how long they work at a school, unless they kick up a stink. Many of our support staff are told that it is only for a limited period as most of the children are funded – however over the years all of our teacher aides have been here for more than the specified time, many of them have supported our school for a number of years!!! Also as an example the MOE will fund for example $18.75 for a child, but the teacher aide is only paid the minimum which is (only just within the last few weeks) $15.75. And while the union is about it – give support workers the same sick days that teachers get, and paid at least one week of each school holiday. It seems that they get penalised because school is closed. Teachers get paid for every holiday (and yes they deserve this) but so do our teacher aides.

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