Government wants to increase immigration and reduce teacher bonus

After pushing a political platform of less immigration our coalition government now wants to stock our schools with teachers from overseas. Instead of working out how to attract more Kiwis to the profession they have decided that it is faster, easier and cheaper for overseas teachers from the UK, Ireland, Canada, South Africa and Fiji to come and work in New Zealand.

To add insult to injury they have reduced the bonus that was designed to incentivise teachers to work in Auckland schools for at least three years.

Auckland primary school teacher Natasha Jones, 25, and partner physiotherapist Adam Herbison, 26, are leaving Auckland due to the cost of housing. File photo

[…] The Government has cut back a plan by former education minister Nikki Kaye to pay a bonus of up to $17,500 to all beginning teachers who work in any Auckland school for at least three years.

The centrepiece of a minimal $9.5 million package to tackle the teacher shortage, announced today, is extending the grant through the voluntary bonding scheme for beginning teachers to Auckland schools in deciles 2 and 3 only, but with the maximum cut to $10,500.

The bonus currently applies only in decile 1 and isolated schools. Kaye had planned to extend it to all Auckland schools, at a cost which Education Minister Chris Hipkins said would have been $37.5m a year.

He said that would have created a $37.5m “hole” in the education budget.

There would be plenty of money in the education budget if they hadn’t decided to give it all away next year to anyone who fancies a free year of tertiary education. At least a bonus system would achieve a needed result.

The one-off extension of the scheme will pay $10,500 to beginning teachers who start work in 2018 only in Auckland schools in deciles 2 and 3 and stay for at least three years.

It will also apply, again just $10,500 and for teachers starting in 2018 only, to all beginning teachers nationally in science, technology, maths and te reo Māori, and to all beginning teachers in Māori-language schools.

Hipkins said he was limiting the grant to $10,500 for teachers in the wider categories “to preserve the advantage the decile 1 schools currently have from the scheme”.

Principals in Auckland decile 1 schools have expressed concern that they would not be able to recruit teachers if they could not offer anything better than other schools.

The package also provides for

• 35 extra places on the Teach First scheme for secondary teachers to train on the job in low-decile schools in 2019. (The 2018 intake have already started their pre-employment training).

• Expanding the Auckland Beginner Teacher Project from 40 places to 60 for 2018. The scheme pays schools to employ beginning teachers before their rolls grow enough to justify an extra teacher, but only 18 schools so far have applied to use it next year.

• Paying the cost of refresher courses in the first half of 2018 only for teachers who have not obtained full registration six years after training. These courses cost $1490 on the job or $2490 in classrooms.

• A $1m fund that schools can apply to, in the remainder of this financial year only, to top up wages for non-registered teachers in specialised subjects such as trades and music.[…]

I wonder how many people spotted this gem hidden amongst the others? After all the fuss Labour have made about Partnership schools having the ability to employ unregistered teachers for specialised subjects like Military PT they are now supporting it in state schools with this special fund!

[…] Secondary Principals Association president Mike Williams said the package was too late to have much impact next year and did nothing to encourage more trainees into teaching in the longer term.

[…] “If this is only for one year then it’s not achieving a great deal. My concern would be, if it’s only for one year, then it’s not attracting people into the colleges of education where it might be more useful.”

He said the only way to attract more trainees into teaching was to raise teachers’ salaries.

Auckland Primary Principals Association president Kevin Bush said the package was “a good first step”.

“If I’m absolutely honest, I think there is not a lot in it for Auckland schools at the moment,” he said.

He said his association was still seeking further measures such as a relocation grant for teachers moving to Auckland from elsewhere in the country, and allowing schools to use their teacher salary funding to pay teacher aides to take classes if no teacher can be found.

It sounds like he wants the kind of flexibility that bulk funding gives the Partnership school model.

 -NZ Herald

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