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Polling shows strong and consistent support for teachers

An independent public poll shows there is strong and sustained support for New Zealand’s teachers as they vote this week on joint strike action.

The polling by research firm The Navigators, commissioned by NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA), shows New Zealanders strongly back teachers in their campaigns to address the education crisis in Aotearoa, make teaching a valued profession and ensure New Zealand is the best place in the world to raise a child.

The opinion poll has been conducted regularly since March 2018 and shows consistently strong support for reduced class sizes, more support for children with additional needs, a pay rise for teachers, and more time for teachers to teach.

Ahead of this month’s budget, the poll also shows that 89% of people agree more money should be allocated to fixing problems in education compared to other issues.

NZEI Te Riu Roa Vice President Liam Rutherford says teachers know they’re supported by parents, but the results of the poll send a clear message to the government.

“New Zealanders from all walks of life want to see an investment in education. They want to know children are getting the best education they can get and they want teachers to know they’re valued.”

“Teachers have been told they’re supported in their fight to turn the education crisis this country is facing around. This poll shows the public is with us. They want a well-supported, well-resourced and trusted teaching profession in all our schools and communities – just as much as we do.”

PPTA Vice President Melanie Webber says, “Teachers have a deep understanding of the issues hampering the education sector, and so do most New Zealanders. Jacinda Ardern has fantastic aspirations for Kiwi kids, but she doesn’t seem willing to make changes in education that would benefit every child now and into the future.”

“Children’s futures rely on having an equitable and well-resourced education system with teachers who have the time, experience and energy to bring out the best for every student.”

NZEI Te Riu Roa primary teacher and principal members and PPTA secondary teacher members are voting this week on whether to take joint strike action on 29 May. PPTA members are voting via online ballot while NZEI Te Riu Roa members are voting at a series of paid union meetings. The outcome of the ballots will be announced early next week.

Key findings from the poll:

• More money should be spent on education relative to other issues: 89% support.

• There is a shortage of teachers: 89% agree this is the case for primary teachers and 88% agree this is the case for secondary teachers.

• Teachers need a pay rise: 83% agree this is the case for both primary and secondary teachers.

• Class sizes should be reduced: 76% agree this is the case for primary schools and 73% agree this is the case for secondary schools.

• Teachers need more time for planning, preparation and assessment: 79% agree this is the case for both primary and secondary teachers.

• Teachers are bogged down in administration and this is getting in the way of them teaching: 80% agree this is the case for primary teachers, 78% agree this is the case for secondary teachers.

• More needs to be done to support students with additional needs: 91% agree.

Download The Navigators’ report on the polling here.

The survey of a nationally representative sample of 1013 people was conducted by The Navigators between Friday 12th and Monday 15th April, 2019. The maximum margin of error is +/- 3% at the 95% confidence level.

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