As schools launch into term two today Members of Parliament are heading back to school to experience the work of teacher aides and other school support staff. The invitation has also been extended to new Education Minister Nikki Kaye.
Primary teachers' union NZEI Te Riu Roa has organised the initiative in the hope of demonstrating how important teacher aides and support staff are to schools. The union wants to draw attention to the fact that many schools do not have the funds to pay enough teacher aide hours to meet the learning support needs of their students.
MPs will visit schools today in Northland, Warkworth, Auckland, Hamilton, Taranaki, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Gore and Invercargill. They will be presented with a petition calling for better funding for schools during their visit. MPs involved include Labour leader Andrew Little at Island Bay School, Wellington, where his wife works as a school administrator, as well as National, Green and NZ First MPs.
Almost 50,000 people around New Zealand have signed the petition over the past few months, and MPs will be asked to sign too and personally hand the petition to the new Minister of Education, Nikki Kaye.
The union also invited new Education Minister Nikki Kaye to spend a day working alongside school support staff.
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said school support staff would love the opportunity to show the minister the essential work they do to help children reach their potential.
“We appreciate Minister Kaye will be very busy in her first week in the job. However, many more MPs are going to be walking in the shoes of support staff throughout May, and support staff would welcome the opportunity to share the joys and frustrations of the job with her,” she said.