Secondary school teachers are left disappointed after the Government rejected a proposal by the PPTA for an immediate five per cent pay increase to help retain secondary teachers in classrooms and attract more people into teaching.
Fuelled by growing concerns of teacher shortages, the union voted to seek the increase at their annual conference in October. Principals and teachers are concerned that many schools will start the year in 2018 without enough teachers, leading to big class sizes and subjects being dropped from the curriculum.
PPTA president Jack Boyle says he expected better from the new government. He says the PPTA has worked with the Ministry of Education on the issue of teacher shortages and says teacher pay must be part of the solution.
“To receive a letter from the Ministry of Education dismissing the request out of hand shows that our issues aren’t being taken seriously,” Boyle says.
“We know that children are going to be the losers here: there aren’t going to be enough teachers in their schools next year.”
Naenae College Principal and Secondary Principals’ Council member John Russell agrees.
“80 percent of my colleagues say they will have to make compromises on appointments for next year and many will start the year with unfilled vacancies. Children at secondary schools are paying the price for these shortages,” says Russell.
“We were hopeful the new government would see our call for a 5% pay increase for teachers as the cry for help it is. Despite a rapidly worsening shortage of secondary teachers, successive governments have taken no steps to improve pay, which has fallen far behind what is needed to recruit and retain secondary teachers.”