Sunday, 23 May 2021

ACT announces Teaching Excellence Reward Fund

ACT Leader David Seymour and Education Spokesperson Chris Baillie have today proposed a new $250 million fund which would be allocated to schools to promote teaching excellence.

“Many New Zealanders can recall a teacher who made a real difference in their lives through their commitment and dedication. Unfortunately, compulsory union contracts mean the teachers who go the extra mile are paid the same as those who show up just to eat their lunch,” says Mr Seymour.

“Teachers are rewarded for years on the job rather than excellence. To combat this, ACT will establish a $250 million annual fund that will be allocated to schools, based on the number of teachers at that school.

“Principals will oversee the Teaching Excellence Reward Fund. They would have discretion to provide awards to teachers who have demonstrated excellence. There is no formula imposed by Government, this is not ‘performance pay’ it is an Excellence Reward Fund that a principal can use over and above normal salaries, just like any boss of a small to medium enterprise is in charge of remuneration.

“Principals will be able to provide awards to any teacher in their school, including managers and other members of the senior leadership team. This would be on top of the current teacher remuneration framework.”

“I was a teacher for 22 years. I watched as some teachers put in minimal effort but were paid the same as those who prepared well and went the extra mile,” says Mr Baillie.

“This fund will motivate many teachers to go the extra mile for our kids and will reward those who already do.

“All too often teachers move out of classroom roles where they excel and into middle management so they can get a pay rise. This fund would keep our best teachers in the classroom.

“The fund would reward exceptional efforts and performance of teaching staff, extracurricular involvement and acknowledge high performance in middle management.

“Principals could also use it to attract hard to staff subjects. The future of our country depends on students doing well in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths (STEM). However teachers with STEM qualifications are often harder to attract because they have higher earning potential elsewhere. 

“With total discretion, a principal could reward a top performing teacher with an extra, say, $15,000. The effect of the policy would be to seriously change the range or people considering teaching.

“A school could contribute more to the fund through its own efforts of fund raising and donations.”

Notes to editors: The Teaching Excellence Reward Fund is modelled off the Auckland Grammar School ‘Academic Endowment Fund’. This fund exists as a charity that provides financial support for a number of projects to improve educational outcomes at the school. ACT believes that such initiatives should not be the preserve of only wealthy schools, but should be mainstream.