Principals from throughout New Zealand have signed an open letter to the Government pleading for more funding for school support staff.
More than 500 principals signed the letter, published in a Sunday newspaper, a move described as “unprecedented” by NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart.
“This demonstrates the extent of principals’ concern for the teacher aides, librarians, administrators and others who are the lifeblood of schools and yet remain some of the lowest-paid people in New Zealand,” says Ms Stuart, currently on leave from her role as principal at May Road school in Auckland.
“We are extremely concerned about the impact that very low wages and low job security are having on our essential support staff and the follow on effect this has on our students.
“Support staff are in pay negotiations with the Ministry now and we principals firmly back their calls for a pay rise. But unless schools are funded to cover any pay increase, many of us will feel we have no option other than to cut back on learning resources or cut the hours of teacher aides to afford their higher rates of pay.
“Children shouldn’t lose time with teacher aides, or lose other resources because the Government isn’t funding schools to cover the basics.
“Analysis of the budget by Victoria University and the NZ Institute of Economic Research shows that real, per child funding for education is dropping by 1.6 per cent this year, and the Government is budgeting for a major decrease over the next few years.”