Educators lobby against IES plan

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 12:00 02/09/2014

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Palmerston North educators are calling for community support to help push politicians towards a "better plan" for children.

A number of the city's primary and early childhood educators are expected to gather in Princess St on Friday to lobby against the Government's multimillion-dollar flagship education policy, the Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative.

NZEI Te Riu Roa - the country's largest education union, representing more than 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff working in schools and early childhood centres - is appealing to politicians to "stand up for a better plan" and also encouraging the community to get behind its calls.

The union has urged MPs to reconsider the Government's $359 million IES pledge and to look at other options for the money which could help children.

To highlight the campaign the union is hosting a series of events around the country on Friday, including in Palmerston North.

People are expected to gather outside Palmerston North MP Iain Lees-Galloway's office at 7.30am, where Tiritea School principal Glenys Edmonds, alongside union representatives, will speak.

"We're inviting primary and early childhood educators to attend [the event], but we're also inviting parents and the community to join us," NZEI Palmerston North field officer Cathy Keane said.

The union's "better plan" promotes smaller class sizes, 100 per cent qualified early childhood education teachers, more funding for special needs, as well as reviewing support staff funding and support initiatives for Maori and Pasifika students.

It was important for Palmerston North people to weigh in on the issue because it impacted Manawatu's schools and early childhood centres, Keane said.

The IES plan aims to improve student achievement by fostering collaboration between schools and getting top teachers to coach others but has been criticised for reducing the classroom time of the most effective educators. A union-run survey shows 93 per cent of primary principals and teachers have "no confidence" in the IES initiative.

For more information visit standupforkids.org.nz

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- Manawatu Standard

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