OECD report highlights inequity in NZ schools

A new OECD report highlights the need for increased levels of equity funding and better support for teachers in disadvantaged schools, according to NZEI Te Riu Roa.  

Released yesterday, Tuesday 15 March, the report – Mending the Education Divide: Getting Strong Teachers to the Schools That Need Them Most, analyses data from the 2018 OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey* and recommends policies to support disadvantaged schools. 

The report’s findings show experienced teachers are much more likely to work in advantaged schools in New Zealand compared with other countries. 

The OECD report recommends that governments ensure all schools have the capacity to recruit and retain effective teachers, including providing incentives and support for teachers to work in more challenging schools, and equitable and transparent funding to schools. 

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford says the OECD report is another reminder that New Zealand has an inequitable education system by design, not just accidentally. 

“Inequity is built into the current system: we need to significantly increase equity funding and commit to smaller class sizes to reverse this. Schools need additional staffing, particularly to support learners with behavioural and learning needs, so that teachers can be supported to be the best teachers they can be.” 

Liam Rutherford

He said an example of investment in innovative practice that had led to lifts in student engagement and achievement through professional learning and support for teachers was the Developing Mathematical Inquiry Communities model.  

“This kind of investment in teaching practice and new pedagogy is hard work for teachers but rewarding. Teachers are drawn to teach from a sense of mission, not because of performance pay,” Mr Rutherford said. 

“What they do want though, is more time to devote to professional learning, pay that recognises their growth in learning and conditions that decrease the stress and workload they currently face. 

“Addressing the inequitable allocation of allowances and units across schooling and improving the voluntary bonding system for new teachers to relieve their financial stress would be two immediate steps the Government could take in response to this report.” 

*A periodic survey of Year 7 – Year 10 teachers and school leaders about their working conditions and learning environments.

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