It is difficult to have any confidence in government promises around collective bargaining when they are yet to deliver finalise the policy for learning support coordinators, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“Eight months ago the Prime Minister and Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin announced they were going to put 600 learning support coordinators in schools by early 2020.
“It’s clear from questioning the Minister yesterday and today that not only has Ms Martin not finalised the job description and details around the funding of the role, but there has been no decision made around what schools these learning support coordinators will go into.
“Some schools are arguing for priority to be given to certain socio-economic areas with increasing additional learning needs. The Government needs to be clear about what its plans are so these schools can plan for more teachers, or the status quo.
“Documents indicate the Government is weighing up a 1:500 ratio for learning support coordinators which would see more vulnerable young people missing out given the difficulties accessing support in rural areas and some lower deciles.
“Right now schools are trying to plan their resources for next year but this is difficult when the Government hasn’t been clear on what it is doing.
“Because collective bargaining still hasn’t been resolved, and there are still major teacher shortages, it’s not even clear the Government will be able to find enough teachers to fill the 600 roles.
“Not only does the Government need to announce details around what the learning support coordinators actually do and where they will go immediately, but it also has to provide enough lead-in time to enable schools to actually recruit for these roles.
“Ms Martin hasn’t given schools or teachers much confidence either, inappropriately commenting on Facebook implying some teachers are greedy and only interested in their pay packets.
“There is no way we are going to have 600 learning support coordinators by early next year without immediate clarity. The Government needs to get a move on and announce its policy, otherwise the Prime Minister will oversee yet another broken promise from her Government.”