Teachers in secondary schools are significantly underpaid, according to principals across New Zealand.
In a survey carried out by the New Zealand Secondary Principals’ Council (NZSPC) and the Secondary Principals’ Association (SPANZ), principals were asked what actions government should take to address New Zealand’s secondary teacher supply crisis. Increasing pay was considered to be the most important factor.
When asked what base scale rates should be the median responses from secondary principals were a starting salary of $55,000 and an $88,000 top of scale. The average rates suggested were even higher.
“My colleagues are indicating that we need to be offering at least $10,000 more at the top of the scale to be able to recruit and retain qualified staff,” says NZSPC chairman James Morris.
“It is clear to me that staff are significantly underpaid to the tune of 20 per cent. We need to recruit young educators. An 18-year-old police cadet begins on a rate comparable to a degree and diploma qualified teacher. Something is very wrong here. We are under-promoting our profession.”
Increase needed for middle leaders
Principals also say that middle leadership is underpaid with most suggesting at least $5,000 per unit and $2,000 per management allowance. That would mean that a middle leadership position with two units and a middle management allowance should be paid at least $13,000 more than it currently is – comparable to an Across Community Teacher in a Community of Learning.
“Increasing teacher salaries makes the job more attractive to appoint and retain teachers. Increasing management units/allowances is critical. The current value provides little or no incentive for the additional responsibilities and workloads.”
Principals also want the hard to staff incentive payment to be doubled to $5,000 at least.
“These numbers should not be dismissed by the government or the ministry as self-interest. Principals were not proposing more pay for themselves, but in our role as the day to day employers of other teachers we are saying that these rates are what we need be paying to actually be able to recruit and retain good teachers.
“We will struggle to get quality teachers if the pay rates are so low and the workload so high.”