Media Releases

NZEI Te Riu Roa urges Government to make professional development time permanent

01 Dec 2022

NZEI Te Riu Roa has welcomed the addition of four teacher-only days over the next two years as the refreshed New Zealand Curriculum is bedded into schools, but is asking the Government to ensure more time for professional learning and development is made permanent.

The Ministry of Education made the announcement tonight (Wednesday 30 Nov), with two teacher-only days to be added next year, with a further two in 2024.

The new Aotearoa/New Zealand histories curriculum is being introduced next year with further subjects progressively rolled out by the end of 2025.

“We are pleased the Government has listened to our members asking for more time to help implement the new curriculum over the next few years,” NZEI TE Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford said.

“The key, however, is ensuring that this is not a ‘one-off’ occurrence related just to the roll out of the curriculum and that more time to allow for professional development and working with children individually is baked in beyond 2024.

“The independent Puāotanga report recommends that teachers get five hours a week to concentrate on professional development, which helps them develop challenging and engaging lessons for tamariki to reach their potential.

“As it stands right now, with all of the other work demands that they have, they’re just not getting the time they need to do that.”

Mr Rutherford said many teachers work in excess of 50 hours a week and often complete work-related tasks in the evenings or at weekends.

“Successive studies by Deakin University have shown these long work weeks are affecting teachers’ mental health and wellbeing,” he said.

“The studies also show that many teachers find they are being asked to do more at a faster pace, which means they have no choice but to take their work home and that’s not good for their work-life balance.”

Mr Rutherford said teachers were excited to be introducing the new curriculum but there was a concern unless the Government started to fix issues around work demands, reduced classroom ratios and provided more learning support then teaching would become less attractive as a profession.

“Teachers love seeing tamariki grow, but they need time to ensure they can do that,” he said.

“We hope this announcement leads to something more permanent.”