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Change afoot for Pay in the ECE sector
NZEI Te Riu Roa has launched a pay equity claim for early childhood teachers and support staff which will focus on getting community sector and private sector ECE teachers' pay rates up to kindergarten rates.
At the moment, teachers in many private centres are paid a flat $21.30 an hour regardless of experience. The average kindergarten teacher’s salary is around $65,000 or about $10 an hour more.
The NZEI equal pay claim has two parts – one for qualified teachers, and another for all other staff which includes kindergarten administration and support staff. It does not cover education support workers employed by the Ministry of Education who have their own claim already lodged and under negotiation.
The claim for those working in the sector without teaching qualifications relate to recent pay rises for aged care workers, who won pay rises of between 20 and 40 per cent, which have been funded by the government.
The process for the claim involves using principles negotiated with the government. Here’s a link to more information about those principles. https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/govt-accepts-recommendations-pay-equity-0.
NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart said, "early childhood teachers and staff nurture children's learning at the most crucial time in their education, yet are some of the lowest paid people in New Zealand."
"ECE teachers and support staff have been undervalued and underpaid for too long, just because their work has historically been done by women. Today, we're uniting the entire early childhood sector in a bid for pay equity, reaching out to teachers and staff in the private and community sector who are not part of a union, and inviting everyone to join the campaign for fair pay."
"This is not to say that kindergarten teachers are paid fairly. But by bringing the groups together on one pay scale, this is the first crucial step toward pay equity for all teachers in ECE," Ms Stuart said.
"This is an enormous opportunity for ECE teachers and staff working all over New Zealand, in private and community centres, to join a campaign for better pay without needing to be a member of the union, or being obliged to let their boss know."
"With enough people on board, the movement for fair pay will be unstoppable."
If you want to know more you can sign up for updates. Here’s the link: http://everychild.org.nz/payequity/
OECD Reports Back Teacher Qualifications
The OECD has backed investing in high quality early childhood education to create educational success.
A recent report, called Starting Strong, says it’s not enough for governments to provide funding for early childhood education – they have to make sure that funding goes to provide quality services. The report says group size, good ratios and qualified teachers are needed to ensure that countries reap the benefits of their investment.
Clare Wells of New Zealand Kindergartens says it is heartening to see the emphasis on quality. Simply providing more places as our government has done recently is not what is recommended.
“Qualified teachers are a hallmark of kindergarten – our focus is on high quality teaching and learning – that is what kindergarten is all about” says Clare.
She called on the government to reinstate funding for 100 per cent qualified teachers in line with international expert opinion.
Te Rito Maioha/Early Childhood New Zealand made a similar call.
Kathy Wolfe said "properly trained teachers are needed to deliver the education and developmental benefits that the government expects from early childhood education".
She said the research shows the government has no excuse for maintaining its minimum 50 per cent qualified teaching requirement.
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