Teachers keeping pressure on for more Government support

March 30, 2023

Teachers keeping pressure on for more Government support

Teachers marching up Auckland’s Queen Street earlier this month, calling on the Government to do more to support them. Image: Ty Stroud-Young

Teacher unions warn that students’ learning will suffer without better government support, hoping that yesterday's nationwide strike gets the Government to act.

It followed another nationwide strike two weeks ago, calling for a new collective agreement with the Government.

Teachers are calling for salary rates to be matched to inflation, more pastoral and guidance care for every secondary school, as well as effective controls on teachers’ workloads.

Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) spokeswoman, Philippa Lagan, said that the lack of government support to teachers is detrimental to students' learning.

“Unless improvements are made to secondary teachers’ salary rates and working conditions, the shortage of secondary teachers around New Zealand will worsen and more students will not have specialist teachers.”

“It’s imperative that secondary school students have teachers who know their subject inside out and are able to provide students with the knowledge they need for further study and their careers.”

Lagan hopes the previous strike encouraged the Government to realise how much public support there is for teachers’ concerns about the issues at stake, and that it will make a satisfactory salary and conditions offer.

Ahead of yesterday’s strike, when 20,000 teachers left the classroom to take to the streets, PPTA acting president Chris Abercrombie said the union and Government were making a “positive movement forward”, but there was still “work to do”.

He had also said yesterday's strike could have been avoided.

“If we think there is a genuine pathway to an agreement that members would vote for, then we would consider calling off next week’s strike – it is in the Government’s hands.”

Philippa Lagan said, “successive governments have failed to fund education adequately. So unfortunately there needs to be a lot of catching up to meet the pressing needs”.

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