Second Meeting with the Ministry of Education on ECE Teacher Pay Parity

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Meeting of ECE leaders at the Ministry of Education. Parliament/ the Beehive is in the background.

Education Ministry Meeting on Pay Parity.
July 29, 2020.

Stuff published an article regarding our First meeting in May 2020.  At the first meeting we presented a list of the names of all service providers who submitted signed forms agreeing in principle to paying all their certificated teachers at KTCA pay rates in return for funding at kindergarten rates.

Following the 2nd meeting in July 2020 we prepared a short paper for the Ministry of Education to assist it in the advice it provided to the Minister of Education. 

Minutes prepared by the Ministry of Education of the 2nd meeting

Summary of Meeting on Pay Parity – 29 July 2020

Attendees:

Dr Sarah Alexander

David Haynes

Helen Hurst
(Associate Deputy Secretary, Sector Enablement & Support)

Keith Newton
(Group Manager ECE, Resourcing & Operations, Sector Enablement & Support)

Kirsty Macdonald
(Senior Policy Analyst, Early Childhood Education Policy, Education System Policy)

Apologies: Siobhan Murray (Senior Policy Manager, Education System Policy)

Introductions

Helen Hurst welcomed the group and introductions were provided by everyone in attendance.

Main discussion

Pay parity and opening up the higher funding rate to ECE services that pay their teachers at pay parity rates – what the Ministry is doing and progress

Dr Alexander and David Haynes shared their thoughts on the subject of pay parity and made the following observations:

  1. Pay parity in the context of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) sector would mean parity with all other qualified teachers, reflecting the qualifications as recognised by other key parts of the Education sector e.g. the Teaching Council.
  2. Pay parity is a concern for the ECE sector and is more than an issue of fairness. It is having a detrimental impact on:
    1. teacher recruitment
    2. teacher retention
    3. the sustainability of services nation-wide
    4. teacher wellbeing and income to support themselves and their family
    5. the ability of service providers not funded at the higher kindergarten rate to compete for staff and on quality of service with those that are.
  3. Some teachers are making choices to move to organisations such as kindergarten or other parts of the education sector e.g. primary schools as teachers and as teacher-aides because of the better pay offered.
  4. Anecdotally the teacher shortage, as recognised by the Minster of Education in making a $4 million teacher supply and recruitment package available last September, has not been helped by the package’s strategies and still exists even in the context of a reduction in child participation following coming out of Covid19 lockdown  
  5. Dr Alexander recommended that as the Government’s lead advisor on education, the Ministry of Education must prepare advice on the necessity of pay parity and method of implementation, thereby leading and advising instead of waiting and responding to minister interest, and Budget allocations.

Helen Hurst and Keith Newton provided the following comments:

  1. The Minister has stated publically that he wishes to see pay rates for qualified teachers improve and be more consistent.
  2. Decisions on funding are made in the context of competing priorities across the whole of Government including the need to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.
  3. In Budget 2020 the Government announced a $151m investment over 4 years and closing the funding difference is significant, with the Minister signalling that it is likely to be a stepped approach to the issue (Budget by Budget).


NB:  Dr Alexander and David Haynes shared their view that the issue is time critical and needed to be addressed with urgency before more qualified teachers are lost to the sector and the quality of ECE degrades. Dr Alexander mentioned that Government promised work would be done to extend pay parity to other teachers in ECE 18 years ago in 2002 when it was provided to teachers in kindergartens. 

  1. There is work underway to help provide quality advice to the Minister to inform future investments and advice on key aspects of the Early Learning Action Plan and the ECE Regulatory Review. Examples tabled were:
    1. The ECE Census 2020 – see latest bulletin item on this ECE Census 2020
    2. The ECE remuneration survey – see latest bulletin item on this ECE remuneration survey
    3. The ECE affordability project (fees project) – see latest information on this ECE affordability project
    4. The Workforce Strategy and support teacher issues – see latest information on this Early Learning Workforce Project

It was noted that the meeting was a useful exchange and helpful in sharing additional sector views. 

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