Goodwill from teacher aides being exploited

A new Universities New Zealand study showing qualified teacher aides are earning less than those with no qualifications at all, shows just how much the system needs to change, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Teacher aides work with some of our most disadvantaged students, yet they are often poorly paid, receive very little in the way of professional support, and have next to no job security. That’s unfair and needs to change.

“Teacher aides aren’t doing it for the money, but when they are barely earning the minimum wage, clearly their goodwill is being exploited.

“The funding model for teacher aides is all wrong. Government underfunding is forcing schools to make trade-offs between paying their support staff properly or spending money on other vital aspects of kids’ education.

“Schools don’t make those same trade-offs when it comes to teachers, who are funded centrally by government. Teacher aides deserve to be part of a similar arrangement.

“As the number of children with special needs continues to grow, so too does the number of teacher aides required.

“It’s time to set up a new system that will ensure they are paid properly, get the support they need, and are able to do the work we so desperately need them to do,” Chris Hipkins says.