National’s spokesperson for Education Nikki Kaye has confirmed today that large numbers of primary principals and teachers have contacted the Minister of Education on the eve of the settlement ballot next week.
“The Acting Education Minister confirmed in the House that she has been contacted by over 100 teachers and principals in the last three days raise urgent issues such as teacher’s shortages, relief teacher issues and increased class sizes.
“We are now coming up to a year in of the Labour-led Government and a number of these issues could have been alleviated as part of some short-term supply packages if the Minister had taken some action.
“The reality is that the Government has only provided two-thirds of what it has promised to spend in education and has not adequately prioritised short-term supply issues.
“The National Party has raised questions before about the impact that the teacher shortage is having on class sizes. We have shifted our position and made a commitment to increasing the number of primary teachers to reduce class sizes and giving kids more teacher time.
“Despite Labour MPs campaigning on smaller class sizes during the election they have refused to commit. Labour have no excuse for not being able to keep its promise on class sizes or to significantly increase teacher salaries but has instead chosen to prioritise $2.8 billion for a fees free policy for tertiary students.
“The Government has also said that they care deeply about special education and learning support yet we understand that they are not moving on the issue of a SENCO role for schools as part of the collective bargaining.
“The Acting Minister has confirmed in Parliament today an announcement will be made on additional learning support tomorrow. National is supportive of additional support in this area.
“Moving towards next week there is an urgent need for the Government to get to the table to address these issues so that there aren't future strikes.
“The outcome of the ballot will be next week and if the teachers vote to reject the offer then there will likely be future strike. The Government must find a way to address these issues to avoid another costly strike.”