Teachers protest $359m policy

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 14:07 05/09/2014
Teachers protest
Dean Kozanic/FAIRFAX NZ

EARLY MORNING ACTION: Teachers protest outside Gerry Brownlee's office on Greers Rd.

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School teachers, principals and support staff gathered at politicians' offices all over the country this morning to protest against a $359 million education initiative.

The New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) targeted MPs' offices to stand against the Government's $359 million Investing in Educational Success policy that aims to pay extra to a select management group of teachers and principals.

Letters of invitation were sent to all MPs in advance of the 7.30am picket sessions, but only one National MP bothered responding, Christchurch lead organiser Mona Stevens said.

''We did have a response from Amy Adams and she said it was a ridiculous hour of the morning and if we would like a better time she would meet with us. But teachers had to get to school.''

About 30 school staff representing about six schools turned up to Gerry Brownlee's office in Ilam, but there was no sign of him, Stevens said.

More than 90 per cent of the primary schools' union voted to reject the initiative last month, and they demand the money be spent directly on children's education.

NZEI has come up with its own ''Better Plan'' for spending the $359m, including smaller class sizes, high quality early childhood education and more help for kids with special needs, as well as initiatives that support success for Maori and Pasifika students and ensure sustainable funding for school support staff.

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