Concerns over cutsBy Peter Corlett
Local kindergarten teachers met recently to discuss their concerns over cuts to kindergarten teacher funding, in many cases around $35,000 per kindergarten – which has resulted in increased costs to parents. Negotiations between NZEI and the Ministry of Education have stalled after the government refused to move on kindergarten teachers’ key concerns about recognition of head teachers and maintaining pay parity with primary teachers. “The government is also refusing to properly recognise the value of head teachers, who are each responsible for running an entire centre, but earn just $2000 a year more than other kindergarten teachers” say local Kindy teachers, “which is a disincentive to having a clear career pathway.”
Education Minister Hekia Parata frequently speaks about how quality teaching and quality leadership boost children’s learning success and wrote just this month that, “Evidence is clear that the quality of teaching and school (and centre) leadership have the biggest in- school effect in raising student achievement to improve educational success. Similarly, qualified teachers are a key factor in providing quality early childhood education that has a positive impact on learner outcomes.”
However, it seems ironic to teachers that the government has reversed an earlier goal of ensuring that all kindergartens and ECE centres be staffed by fully qualified teachers, and will now only fund for 80 per cent of teachers to be fully qualified at any kindergarten or centre, despite the Minister of Education, Hekai Parata’s statement last month that “….. qualified teachers are a key factor in providing quality early childhood education that has a positive impact on learner outcomes.”
“Many kindergartens are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain their commitment to employing 100 per cent fully qualified teachers, and the poor recognition for head teacher roles makes it difficult to attract, resource and retain great leaders,” said Mrs Nowotarsk, NZEI Te Riu Roa’s National President . Primary teachers are supporting Kindergarten teachers.