Raroa Intermediate teacher Anna Martin wholeheartedly welcomes the Government's backdown on funding changes and is grateful that teachers and parents have been listened to.
Miss Martin has 31 students in her class at the Johnsonville school. She said that taking on any more pupils would have disadvantaged their learning, so she was "absolutely stoked" at yesterday's announcement.
"That's the best news. I'm grateful the Government has listened, finally, to what we were saying. No-one agreed to it – not the teachers, the parents or the kids themselves."
She said the plan would have meant more work and stress for teachers, but the real concern would have been the negative effects on children's learning.
The emphasis in Miss Martin's class is on skills-based work and pupils often break up into small groups to tackle projects and worksheets. Miss Martin said that with more pupils, she wouldn't be able to spend time with each, get to know them well, or offer specific feedback. Also, students would have to work independently from textbooks more often.
She said it was sad the payoff was that money set aside for professional development would no longer be available, but this was the right move.
Most classes at Raroa Intermediate have about 30 pupils, but if the Government did scrap technology funding, class sizes would most likely be bumped up to around 37 kids.
Fitting more pupils in her room, let alone providing the extra resources required, would not be physically possible, Miss Martin said. "It doesn't matter how qualified you are, if you have no time for the child you are not going to be able to help them. If you ask any teacher if they could have one thing to improve a child's progress, they would say smaller class sizes."
- © Fairfax NZ News