Only Labour has a comprehensive plan to fix the critical shortage of teachers that is already hampering our schools and is set to get worse after nine years of inaction by the National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.
“In our alternative Budget, Labour has earmarked an additional $40 million over the next four years to deal with critical teacher shortages.
“We will put in place a comprehensive Teacher Supply Plan, including additional bonded scholarships in areas of identified teaching shortages such as science, maths, Te Reo Māori and in specific locations.
“We have also made a commitment to review teacher supply policy relating to Auckland, where some of the biggest issues currently exist, and to funding a dedicated positive public relations campaign to promote teaching as a profession to school leavers and university graduates.
“Today’s announcements from Nikki Kaye amount to little more than tinkering around the edges of a major problem they’ve allowed to balloon in recent years.
“The current National Government cut funding to a number of initiatives that were designed to ensure we have enough teachers in classrooms to meet demand. They are reaping what they have sowed.
“I welcome the additional support for the Auckland Beginning Teacher Programme, but it’s just a start. Labour has made a commitment to revitalising the way we do initial teacher training throughout the country, including much better support for all beginning teachers.
“It’s a reflection on how poorly the National Government have handled teacher training that we’ve got beginning teachers in some areas unable to find work while in other areas schools just can’t recruit the staff they need. The whole system needs and overhaul. The reinstatement of relocation grants makes sense. They never should have cut them in the first place.
“Parents deserve to know that there will be enough teachers in classrooms to provide their children with the highest quality education possible. Under Labour, they will have that reassurance,” says Chris Hipkins.