“Today’s strike is what happens when you have a rigid, centrally-planned wage structure. ACT would pay good teachers more with the Teachers Excellence Reward Fund,” says ACT’s Education spokesperson Chris Baillie.

“Good teachers deserve to be appropriately remunerated. That isn’t happening at the moment because they are rewarded for years on the job rather than excellence. They also have to put up with an overstaffed Ministry of Education forcing a ‘curriculum refresh’ and other bureaucracy that gets in the way of teaching.

“To combat this, ACT would 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 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, who are accountable to their Board of Trustees, 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.

“Teachers play such an important role in our society; a good education is what sets someone up for a lifetime of success and we need to show our respect and appreciation to the teachers who shape future generations.

“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.

“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 turning up to class and 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 ACT’s fully costed tax plan and Teachers Excellence Reward Fund, the average teacher on $70k gets an extra $7,000 each year. Our tax cuts mean they keep an extra $2,300, while our Reward Fund averages out to $5,000 extra per teacher.

“With total discretion, a principal could reward a top performing teacher with an extra, say, $10,000. The effect of the policy would be to seriously change the range of people considering teaching.

“As education standards plummet and teachers walk out of classrooms this is the sort of real change New Zealand needs. ACT wants to reward the hard-working teachers that will be so influential in helping kids reach their full potential.”

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