Wednesday 15th marks the first day in 24 years that teachers around the country are on strike as 29,000 primary teachers, principals and their supporters take to the streets in public events around New Zealand.
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Teachers and principals voted for a full-day strike to be held on 15 August to send a strong message to the Government that the current collective agreement offers from the Ministry of Education would not fix the crisis in teaching.
“There needs to be better investment in education so every child can reach their potential and we have enough teachers for every class”, said NZEI Te Riu Roa lead principal negotiator Louise Green.
NZEI Te Riu Roa reasserted in a statement that “there needs to be a substantive change in the Ministry’s offer in subsequent negotiations”.
In collective agreement negotiations, principals and teachers had asked for more time to teach and lead, more support for children with additional learning needs and a pay jolt to stem the growing teacher shortage. Instead, the vast majority of teachers (about 86%) are being offered a pay rise ranging from about 2.2-2.6% a year for three years, and just 12 minutes extra a week of time to work individually with children or plan and assess learning.
The offer was far from the 16% over two years that members had identified as being necessary to address recruitment and retention issues that had grown during the term of the previous National government. The request to fund a Special Education Needs Coordinator (SENCO) in every school to assist children with additional learning needs was also ignored.