By Simon Collins

After-school services are stepping up to provide full-day cover as a teachers’ strike looks set to go ahead next week.

School Trustees Association executive member Jocelyn Tauevihi said all except one East Auckland schools operating Safe Kids In Daily Supervision (SKIDS) programmes planned to extend their after-school SKIDS services to cover the full day of the planned strike on August 15.

Kelly Club, which runs after-school care at another 49 schools nationally, said it would also offer all its schools full-day care during the strike.

The strike now looks almost certain to go ahead after two days of mediation between the Ministry of Education and the primary teachers’ union, the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI), made no progress in Wellington on Thursday and Friday.

The two sides will meet again on Tuesday and Wednesday this week for mediation for primary school principals, who have a separate collective agreement, but NZEI president Lynda Stuart said there was no change in the two sides’ positions after last week’s mediation.

She said new dates would be set for further mediation on the main primary teachers’ agreement but they would not be before August 15.

“I don’t have a crystal ball and I can’t say that all of a sudden something is not going to happen,” she said.

“But today, right now, we are looking at the strike going ahead.”

She said more than 80 per cent of teachers, and more than 95 per cent of principals of state and state-integrated primary and intermediate schools, belong to the union.

The union is also marshalling support from parents and even children, launching a video yesterday showing children from Chelsea School at Birkenhead drawing pictures of their teachers and talking about how much they would miss the teachers if they quit.

Tauevihi, a board member at Riverina School in Pakuranga, said she expected a majority of schools would close but many would extend after-school services to look after children during the day.

“At our school, the school curriculum for learning and teaching will be closing, but our SKIDS programme is open,” she said.

SKIDS national manager Kathleen Kyle said the 170 SKIDS sites around the country would open all day if their schools requested them to.

“We take our lead from what the schools have requested of us,” she said.

Kelly Club NZ managing director Paul Jamieson said his clubs had offered to open all day too, but many of their 49 clubs were still waiting for school boards to decide on what to do.

“I would think that most after-school programmes will run during the day,” he said.

“The only exception could be school-run programmes. That will be a tricky one because they have often got teacher aides or part-time teachers working at those places, so they might be under a bit of a dilemma.”

Jamieson said his clubs would also welcome children from other schools that chose to close completely.

He said the clubs charged $30 to $35 for school-day care from 9am to 3pm and $42 to $46 for full day care between 7am and 6pm.

NZEI is claiming a 16 per cent pay rise over two years, taking the top basic salary for teachers with at least seven years’ service, but no extra responsibilities, from $75,949 to $88,100. Stuart said that would cost the Government about $300 million.

The ministry has offered 4 per cent over two years, lifting the top basic rate to $79,000, plus a further 2 per cent rise in 2020 to $80,600.

Source: NZ Herald


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