Northland primary teachers among those nationwide to reach deal with Government over pay, conditions

Teachers on strike, marching in Laurie Hall Park through the Whangārei CBD in March. Photo / Michael Cunningham

A Far North principal says the deal reached between primary teachers and the Government over pay and conditions opens the door for future talks around resourcing.

Kāeo School principal Paul Barker’s comments come after primary school teachers voted to accept the latest Ministry of Education collective agreement offer.

The settlement includes a 6 per cent pay increase in July, with two further increases, and it also includes a lump sum payment of $3000 to be paid next month, plus an additional $1500 for union members.

Classroom release times have been increased from 10 to 25 hours per term and mileage allowances have gone up.


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Barker called the 15-hour increase in time away from the classroom as “really positive”.

The Ministry of Education stated the intention of the non-teaching time was to address teacher workload while maximising benefits for student learning. By term one of 2025, teachers will have at least a day a fortnight away from the classroom for planning, preparation and reporting.

Barker said the increase is the first since 2005 despite a demanding workload that has left many teachers working into the weekends and late at night.

He said the salary hike for relievers and beginning teachers will “keep relievers in the game” as well as attract new teachers to the profession.


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“Teachers come into teaching and find that the stresses and the pay and the workload is too much for the pay and off they go.”

The agreement includes a pay rise of 18.4 per cent for a starting teacher and 11.1 per cent for an experienced teacher. Teachers will also be provided with one-off payments of up to $4500 in July.

Education Minister Jan Tinetti said the top base salary will rise to $100,000 by December next year – a 34 per cent increase from the top salary rate of $74,460 in 2016.

Barker said getting the collective agreement out of the way opens up room to have discussions around the level of resourcing for primary schools.

“You look over to the secondary school next door, they’re resourced much greater than we are.”

Barker said he is looking forward to the collective agreement for principals to now come to the “top of the pile”.

Other key features of the primary teacher settlement include mileage allowance increases, provisional to full certification costs paid for beginning teachers, and lump sums of $3000 to be paid in July, as well as an additional $1500 for union members.

NZEI Te Riu Roa (New Zealand Educational Institute) area school teacher members have also voted to accept their offer from the ministry, however, their collective agreement is joint with PPTA Te Wehengarua, therefore the collective agreement is only settled when both unions ratify.

If rejected, the NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA will resume bargaining.


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