We'll miss them when they're gone

Ka noho mokemoke mātou mō rātou

New Zealand's losing more and more teachers, so we're asking Kiwi parents and their kids to show us how much they would miss their teachers if they were gone.

Simply upload a drawing of your child's teachers at weneedteachers.co.nz and tell us why you'd miss them.

Kids need teachers, yet schools are struggling to fill teacher vacancies, with some schools reporting zero applicants for vacant positions.

Within a decade, NZ will be short 1,800 teachers.

There are growing numbers of children entering school, yet there has been a 40% reduction in people training to be teachers.

There just aren't enough teachers to give your kids the education they deserve. There is also a desperate need for more support for children with additional learning needs.

We're asking parents and their children: Why would you miss your teacher if s/he was gone?

Take a photo of your child's drawing and upload it here to show your support.


Why are teachers striking and what are they asking for?

Teachers and principals are in collective employment negotiations and are asking for:

  • More teachers - so your kids can get more attention
  • More resources/staff to support children with additional learning needs
  • A pay jolt to salaries for teachers to address the teacher shortage - so that your children will have a teacher in the future

Can the Government afford it?

This is about choices. A 16% increase in primary teacher salaries would cost $300 million a year. This is equivalent to 4km of the $1.9 billion Warkworth to Wellsford motorway. Or approximately one cockpit of one of the four new military planes the Government has purchased.

Do other New Zealanders support these issues?

Yes, 91% of NZers want more money to be spent on education. And 83% think teachers need a pay increase. The vast majority of them think teachers need a decent pay increase, and 67% even thought double digits.


Who is behind this campaign?

NZEI Te Riu Roa, whose members work in every community in New Zealand, leading and advocating for quality public education.

We are the 50,000 principals, teachers and support staff who work in primary, area and secondary schools as well as early childhood centres, special education and school advisory services. We come together as NZEI Te Riu Roa - New Zealand's largest education union, a Treaty based organisation and a powerful advocate for quality public education.

We have the most important job in New Zealand - educating for the future.

As the professional voice of New Zealand principals, teachers and support staff we are engaged in building on the high quality education our schools and centres offer our children.

As the industrial voice of educators we are committed to securing the best employment terms and conditions possible for all members.

We strongly support educational initiatives that align with our values and vision for quality public education and strongly oppose policies and practices that are destructive to our vision and values.

We are the collective voice of the profession.



Fixing the teacher shortage crisis

Schools are struggling to attract and retain great teachers. There is also a drop in the number of people choosing to train as teachers. This is happening because of years of political undervaluing of the profession. It won't just fix itself.

What we want

  • Significant pay increases for teachers and principals over the course of the agreement.

Draft solution

  • A 16% pay rise over the two years of this agreement.
  • A renewal of the pay parity clauses ensuring that primary teachers aren't worse off than their post-primary colleagues


Time to teach, time to lead

Teachers and principals are facing immense pressure thanks to enormous workloads and more responsibilities without any additional staffing or time.

There aren't enough resources available for supporting children with additional learning needs.

Teachers and principals need time to teach, and time to lead.

What we want

  • Significant increases to staffing available to all schools to support leaders, classroom teachers and teachers working with students with additional learning needs.

Draft solution

  • A new teacher staffing and resourcing entitlement for schools to employ and train a SENCO.
  • More resource teacher positions nationwide, to better reflect student need.
  • Reducing the teacher:student ratio for year 4-8 students from 1:29 down to 1:25.
  • Ensuring that all schools have a minimum of 2 full time equivalent staff.
  • Increasing the professional leadership staffing entitlement for schools
  • Replace classroom release time (CRT) with Professional Practice Time (PPT) equivalent to 20 hours per full time equivalent teacher per term.
  • More teacher resourcing for each class to give the regular teacher time to complete professional responsibilities, such as assessment, that are difficult to do whilst responsible for a class.

Fixing issues with relativities and career development

Options for career development can vary a lot from school to school, which means that teachers aren't getting the same chances to grow in the profession.

At the moment, there are some issues with relativity, and there is limited recognition for teachers and principals with specialist skills.

Both these factors are contributing to the teacher shortage crisis.

What needs to change

  • Fix existing pay arrangements for principals
  • Fix existing relativity issues
  • Create meaningful new career options for teachers and principals

Draft solution

  • Fold U1 and U2 U-Grade principal salary into U3 to address an immediate relativity issue
  • Allow Communities of Learning to share the leadership allowance with multiple leaders, including people covered by the PTCA
  • Remove the qualification based salary cap for primary teachers
  • Inreoduce recognition for teachers working in Pasifika immersion settings
  • Fully recognise expertise in tikanga and te reo Maōri
  • Recognise expertise in special education
  • Then move to focussing on curriculum specialisation