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Early Childhood Council Centres Problem Attracting Teachers

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December 19, 2016.

The Early Childhood Council lobby group representing the business interests of some centre owners is in the news concerning centres belonging to its members struggling to recruit teachers.

The reasons why NZ teachers are not attracted to its centres will likely have a negative impact on teacher supply across the sector, affecting public perception of the desirability of the early childhood education sector to work in.  

Board member, Mira Metu who owns three centres is quoted as saying “My last job ad I think we got seven applicants and it’s just so hard to pick something sensible out of that sometimes.”

She said she’s now looking to hire staff from the Phillipines.

The business lobby group’s president Theresa Dodd says she can’t enrol children at her centre because she’s not getting job applicants.

“I personally can account for the fact that I’ve turned away some enrolments because I haven’t been able to find the staff, or the staff that I want, to fill the positions at my centre”.

Fiona Hughes representing the BestStart chain claimed the shortage was more a localised one confined to Auckland. On record BestStart previously (formerly known as Kidicorp) backed the government’s decision to move away from 100 per cent qualified teachers because children needed unqualified “nana’s” too.  

On social media qualified teachers are saying that – good jobs – can be hard to find.

Comments concern: the poor working conditions teachers face in some centres, corporate greed, staff turnover being a key indicator of poor quality, teachers being underpaid, and applicants who are cheaper – not qualified and not experienced being preferred by centre owners.  

It is becoming clear to teachers that working in ECE in unsafe conditions is also not safe for teachers. A teacher lost her job and was reported for misconduct to the Education Council yet the centre owned by longstanding treasurer of the Early Childhood Council, Lonnie Parker continued to operate after an infant was burned while bathing and the centre was found by the Ministry of Education to have breached regulations on tap temperature and a number of other licensing criteria. 

Teachers want to work at centres that operate above minimum standards, that are safe, and that value professionalism and qualification.   

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