“Tonight the Government is eradicating the Charter School model right when Charter Schools would solve their most urgent problem – teacher shortages,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.
“The flexibility of the Charter School model would solve teachers’ complaints when the problem of New Zealand’s teacher shortage gets worse.
“A lack of pay and support has made teaching an unattractive profession for new graduates and experienced teachers are not being rewarded for their knowledge due to inflexible contracts.
“Take the recent case of Eileen Gilmore who, despite her 43 years experience teaching, is capped at earning $59,000 – less than her son, who also teaches – because she doesn’t have a degree.
“It’s no wonder we have a teacher shortage as experienced teachers are fed up and are leaving the profession in droves.
“Charter Schools solved all of these problems through flexible governance and funding structures but unfortunately the Government won’t listen to reason.
“Charter Schools were able to pay teachers more and reward experience through individual contracts, and provide support staff and mentors to classes with complex needs to relieve pressure from teachers, all while receiving the same funding as state schools.
“Instead of closing Charter Schools, the Government should be looking to expand the model to provide more flexibility and better working conditions to all schools.
“We’d then be able to pay teachers what they’re worth and provide teachers the class room support they’ve been crying out for.“