Teachers and principals denied the time to teach and lead

6 November 2017

New national educational surveys confirm NZEI Te Riu Roa’s claims that teachers and principals are being denied the time to teach and lead, and that children’s education is suffering as a result.

In three studies just released by the NZ Council of Educational Research [i], 75 percent of principals said that they wanted to spend more time on educational leadership, and 92 percent said their school lacked the funding they needed to function properly.

The surveys not only show teachers and principals were working longer hours, but also that children's education had suffered at the same time.

Teachers had noticed a dramatic decrease in children's abilities in "key competencies" since the last survey,  including taking risks in their learning, different ways of looking at things and taking part in hands-on activities.

"New Zealand children deserve the best education in the world, and New Zealand can afford to provide it to them,” said NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart.

"These surveys show children are missing out on some opportunities to learn because teachers and principals are bogged down in administration or are struggling to get support for children with additional learning needs.

“The surveys reinforce our members’ call for teachers to be freed up to teach and principals given more time to lead so that every child can achieve their potential.

“The new Government has an opportunity to fix the funding crisis that the previous Government left behind, and finally do what works for children’s learning.

“Members have already indicated they’ll want action on time, and pay in their collective agreement bargaining next year,” Ms Stuart said.

Key NZCER findings included.

• 66 percent of Principals worked more than 56 hours a week.

• 42 percent  of principals reported high or very high stress levels.

• Only 8 percent of principals said their school’s operation funding was sufficient in 2016.

• Teachers wanted better provision for children with additional learning needs.

• Nearly one third of teachers agreed, or strongly agreed, that their workload was too high to do justice to the students they taught.


[i] The research on the NZCER website:

 Schools resources, relations with other schools and support

 Teachers’ work and professional learning

 Principals and their work

For more information: