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Submission writing guide for the review of teacher aide funding

23 Mar 2023
The current funding model creates many issues for teacher aides in schools.

It is unpredictable, contestable, and time-limited and leads to poor outcomes for teacher aides and tamariki alike.

The disadvantages of this funding model lead to precarity of employment for teacher aides, lack of investment in their career development and frequent use of fixed term contracts.

An education sector reference group was established in March 2021 to conduct the review and provide a set of recommendations to the Accord Governance Group.

These recommendations are out for consultation until 6 April, so we encourage you to make a submission in support of the recommendations before then.

  • Click here to view the sector reference group’s report on the preferred option for how schools are resourced for teacher aides.
  • Watch a video explaining the process and the recommendations here.
  • We will also be hosting an online Teacher Aide Funding Review Submissions hui on Tuesday 28 March. You can register here.

Writing a submission

It is important that as many teacher aides, teachers, parents/whānau and principals write a submission in support of the proposed funding model.

The proposed funding model goes some way to address key issues in the way schools are resourced for teacher aides as well as the:

• frequent use of fixed-term contracts,
• precarity of employment for teacher aides,
• lack of investment in teacher aide career development,
• damage to the mana of teacher aides,
• as well as the impacts on outcomes for ākonga.

Tips for writing your Submission – three steps

1: Tell the Sector Reference Group who you are:

My name is …. I work as a ……. at……. school/ Ministry office /.

Or My name is… I am a parent of a child with complex needs.

Say a bit about why you value teacher aides and what they mean to your school/child.

2: Make your position clear and give reasons for your position:

I support the recommendations because….

Some of the reasons you may like to indicate your support for the model are these below. Please put it in your own words.

• I have experienced/witnessed teacher aide insecure work ... and this has impacted the students that I work with....
• Teacher aides work at the coal face of learning support. The work we/they do is important because...
• It is important to build up the professional capabilities of teacher aides so they can continue to make a positive impact on the lives of the most vulnerable children in our society.

3: Tell the review panel that more funding is needed

The proposed model is good, but it only gets us so far. We need to fund learning support to meet the needs of ALL tamariki.

What's next

• Email your submission to teacheraide.accordreview@education.govt.nz by 6 April 2023

• Keep in touch with your NZEI support staff reps for future actions.

The review of how schools are resourced for teacher aides – NZEI Te Riu Roa key points

Here is a summary of NZEI Te Riu Roa’s submission which sets out the arguments we are making to the Sector Reference Group.


• We support the proposed model and agree that it goes some way to address key issues in the way schools are resourced for teacher aides.
• The way schools are resourced for teacher aides has been identified as unpredictable and unreliable, leading to: (1) frequent use of fixed-term contracts, (2) insecure employment for teacher aides, (3) lack of investment in teacher aide career development, (4) damage to the mana of teacher aides, and (5) impacts on outcomes for learners.

Predictable resourcing

• We support the consolidation of funding streams to make up a baseline, formula driven staffing entitlement for teacher aides. Staffing entitlements work because they are driven by demand and automatically adjust for wage costs, without impacting overall resourcing.
• A teacher aide staffing entitlement can help overcome the problematic incentives driven by current ‘contribution’ funding, which resources schools for teacher aides at a fixed hourly rate. This creates perverse incentives against hiring more experienced teacher aides or supporting their career development, because a fixed rate means the further a teacher aide is up on the pay scale, the larger the funding gap that the school must fill.
• For the same reason, it is vital that a teacher aide staffing entitlement is fully funded.
• We support the draft formula composed of (1) a base rate per school, (2) a flat rate per student and, (3) a variable rate per student weighted to year level and equity index.

Composing the formula this way means that it doesn’t disadvantage smaller schools and places more resourcing into those schools with the greatest socioeconomic need. It is vital that the formula is modelled to ensure that the new funding model does not result in a disruptive redistribution of resourcing.

Responsive resourcing

• We support the continuation of key individualised, application-based resourcing such as the ORS or High Health Needs funding. This ensures that resources are targeted to where they are needed most, and that the model does not disadvantage schools with greater proportions of students with the highest level of need, such as magnet schools.
• We agree that this resourcing should be delivered as a fully funded staffing entitlement where possible, for the same reasons as stated above.

Overall funding

• While the proposed model goes some way to address key issues in the way schools are resourced for teacher aides, it does not address the underlying issue of inadequate funding.
• As the recently completed Highest Needs Review found, there is a substantial amount of unmet need in our education system. Data produced by the Social Wellbeing Agency for the Highest Needs Review indicates that for every seven students who currently receive high needs supports there are around three who have a potential unmet need. That’s simply not good enough. Alongside implementing the proposed new funding model, the government needs to commit to meeting the needs of all tamariki through increasing funding where it is needed most, including funding for teacher aides.