Teachers unhappy with Government plan

The Government's $359 million education investment plan has not been well-received by Taranaki teachers.

Support staff and teachers around the region have been gathering over the past few days at NZEI union meetings to discuss living wages and also the multimillion-dollar education plan announced in January.

About 50 North Taranaki teachers attended their first of the four paid meetings to discuss the $359m plan, aimed at supporting teachers and principals to "lift student performance" in schools over the next four years. Four new teaching and leadership roles will be created as part of the plan.

Judith Van Kooten, of NZEI North Taranaki, said teachers "strongly believed" the money could be better spent on other initiatives that have a direct impact on children's lives.

"Teachers were also disappointed that they were once again not consulted," she said. "The $359m cost of the policy equates to about $128,000 for every school in New Zealand."

Mrs Van Kooten also said the four new positions marked the beginning of a "new type of schooling" to enter New Zealand's education system.

"Schools will be expected to work in clustered groups in order to access any of this funding," she said. "Will this result in less board of trustees and clustering of the schools' operations?."

A teacher wanted to know why the Government was "hell bent" in rushing through with the decision.

Mrs Van Kooten was worried the new positions would continue to focus on "national standards and data based accountability".

"Teachers want a system that is collaborative, not competitive."

Meetings for support staff and teachers are being held around the country until April 4.

Taranaki Daily News