NZEI Te Riu Roa welcomes the Government’s decision to increase early childhood education subsidies for families, but stresses that this change must be matched with actions to improve working conditions for ECE teachers and reduce high teacher turnover in the sector.
“While this is good news for parents, to ensure quality ECE for all children there’s still a critical need for the Government to finish the job on pay parity for ECE teachers and improve ratios of teachers to children and other working conditions in the early childhood education sector,” NZEI Te Riu Roa ECE representative Virginia Oakly said. The cost-of-living crisis is exacerbating the critical teaching shortage facing the country, Ms Oakly said.
“The whole education sector is under pressure. We already know that many teachers and support staff across our schools, kura and early childhood centres are battling to pay their mortgage or rent and the highest cost of living increases in 30 years.”
“The Government needs to speed up improving pay and working conditions for ECE teachers to ensure there is a high quality and sustainable workforce to support tamariki to get the best start in life.
“This good news for parents may be tempered by long waits to get their tamariki into early childhood centres due to teaching staff shortages.”
NZEI Te Riu Roa is also seeking a Fair Pay Agreement to cover all workers in the early childhood sector. This is an opportunity to embed pay parity and better working conditions for ECE kaiako, seek a living wage for all other ECE staff, and raise issues important to the sector such as non-contact time, ratios, professional development, and health and safety.