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The Better Plan was instigated in response to the Government's IES policy. It illustrated what educators felt would be a more effective use of the 359 million dollars allocated for IES. This pressure of this campaign ultimately lead to the creation of the Joint Initiative, and its princples continue to be a cornerstone of the ongoing work.

The Better Plan for our kids

1Smaller class sizes to ensure individualised learning

Research shows that smaller classes, particularly in the first years of schooling, are beneficial for teaching and learning because they make it easier for teachers to give individualised attention and feedback to students. The Government estimated its plans to Increase class sizes in 2012 in Years 2 to 10 would have saved an estimated $43 million a year from teacher staffing budgets.2 The Government backed down on the proposals in the face of parent and teacher opposition. The introduction of a 1:15 ratio for 5 year olds by the then- Labour Government in 2005 cost an estimated $80 million a year.3 Depending on how quickly student:teachers ratios were improved, a programme of reducing class sizes is estimated to cost upwards from $50 million a year.

2Ensure all children are attending ECE services with 100% qualified and registered teachers

The Government dropped the target of 100 percent qualified and registered ECE teachers and associated funding in 2010. ECE services are currently only required to have 50% of teachers qualified and registered. Restoring funding for 100% qualified and registered ECE teachers is estimated to cost $32 million a year.

3Better funding for children with special needs to support 20,000 more kids

Most students with special education needs attend regular schools and kura, with only around 2,400 learners attending the 28 special day schools across the country. Around 3% of school learners (30,000 children) have high special education needs but ORS funding (funding for children with high special needs) is rationed to 1%. There are also a further 40,000- 60,000 learners with moderate special education needs. Including students with special needs in mainstream schools is the best option for most students, but it is essential both students and teachers are well supported. Increasing the ORS fund to 3% is estimated to cost $180 million a year to support 20.000 more kids.

4Sustainable funding for support staff so teachers can focus on teaching and learning

Teachers aides and other school support staff are funded through schools’ operations grants which means they have insecure work and low wages. Sustainable funding is needed to ensure there are enough teachers aides to support children with learning needs and enough administrative support so teachers can focus on teaching and learning.

5Support initiatives that make a real difference for Māori and Pasifika students

To “live as Māori, actively participate as a citizen of the world and enjoy good health and a high standard of living” were goals set by Professor Mason Durie for tamariki Māori 13 years ago that are still relevant today. Research shows that children who are affirmed in their identity as Māori and can access their own culture and language are more likely to succeed at school.

Bilingual and rumaki units in schools are under pressure because of the limited numbers of teachers with te reo Māori fluency.We need to better resource the recruiting training and retention of people with te reo Māori fluency to teach and support children.

Resourcing for bi-lingual education for Pasifika students has been cut in the past five years. Resourcing needs to be restored and increased to support success for Pasifika students.

More resources and information are on standupforkids.org.nz

How did we get from our Better Plan to our Joint Initiative outcome?

Download this information as a pdf

The Better Plan we launched in May 2014 was based on what educators and parents told us were priorities for investment in education. This diagram shows the progress – or lack of it – we’ve made with those issues through the process of the joint initiative.

Original elements of the NZEI Better Plan What happened along the way What’s reflected in the outcome of the Joint Initiative
Smaller class sizes The Joint Initiative, agreed with the Ministry of Education in December 2014, focuses only on areas of shared agreement in relation to the Investing in Educational Success policy. Class size was excluded from the Terms of Reference. No progress on this issue. We will need to campaign collectively through other mechanisms to address this.
All children at ECE services with 100% qualified teachers Phase 1 of the joint initiative included a strong focus on transition from ECE to school. In Phase 2, the focus will be on the identification, description and development of possible roles and resources for Communities of Learning to support successful collaborations and transitions within early childhood education and between early childhood services and schools. This will be undertaken by mid 2016 and may inform future collective bargaining. While not a commitment from Government to restore the 100% qualified and registered teacher target, this recognises the critical role of qualified teachers in ECE. Moreover, the Community of Learning model provides the ability to pool resourcing and will therefore mean some additional resourcing may be available to ECE services in COLs.
Better funding
for children with
special needs
The Government responded pre-Election 2014 with a commitment to increase funding for in-class support for children with special needs. The Joint Initiaitve Working Party found many good examples of effective support for children with special needs and a corresponding need for more resourcing to support these initiatives. The Community of Learning gives schools and services the opportunity to choose teaching roles and resourcing (time and PLD) that focus on learners’ transitions and community engagement. This could provide significant support for learners with special needs who face particular challenges during transition.
Sustainable funding
for support staff
Support staff were referenced in the Terms of Reference but the Working Party had insufficient time to complete the work required in this area. In Phase 2, there will be a focus on the identification and development of possible support staff roles for Communities
of Learning. Consideration will include:
  • how any roles and resourcing could operate within and across schools and centres within a Community of Learning
  • how any roles and resourcing would align with existing career pathways and build on work in the Professional and Industrial Forums
While not a commitment from Government to address the funding issues for support staff, this recognises the critical role of support staff in teaching and learning. Moreover, the Community of Learning model provides the ability to pool resourcing and will therefore mean some additional resourcing may be available to support better quality support staff jobs in COLs.
Support for initiatives that make a real difference for Maori and Pasifika students The Joint Initiative Working Party found that many schools and services support Maori and Pasifika student success through deepening relationships with whanau and aiga, providing additional support at transition points and reflecting te Ao Maori in their practices. The Community of Learning gives schools and services the opportunity to chose teaching roles and resourcing (time and PLD) that focus on cultural competency, community engagement and on learners’ transitions. Phase 2 of the Joint Initiative will include a major focus on Maori and Pasifika achievement.