NZEI congratulates school on supporting living wage

Press Release – NZEI

The move by a Dunedin school to become the first Living Wage school in New Zealand is just the start of a national movement in the education sector, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.NZEI congratulates school on supporting living wage for staff

The move by a Dunedin school to become the first Living Wage school in New Zealand is just the start of a national movement in the education sector, NZEI Te Riu Roa says.

NZEI President Judith Nowotarski says schools see first-hand how damaging the impact of child poverty is on learning.

“As educators, we have a strong interest in ensuring family incomes are sufficient to support children to thrive and participate in school and school-related activities. Ensuring all our community receives a Living Wage would have immediate and positive benefits for student learning and engagement.”

NZEI’s Principals Council last month encouraged all schools to commit to supporting the principle of becoming a Living Wage school. This means the school leading their communities in promoting the Living Wage and advocating for improved funding so that they can move over time to pay their own teacher aides, cleaners and other support staff the Living Wage of $18.40.

Ms Nowotarski says many schools face considerable challenges in paying support staff fairly because of insufficient operations grant funding from central Government.

“However treating staff fairly is an important part of creating the right environment for quality learning.

“North East Valley Normal School has shown that it is possible to make the right decision to pay all staff the Living Wage without compromising education. The decision means that the school will have to defer the upgrading of some of its IT equipment, such as new i-pads, for several months. But we strongly believe that supporting quality teaching and creating and maintaining a clean and safe learning environment is essential for children’s education.”

North East Valley Normal School principal John McKenzie will be speaking a public meeting to launch the Dunedin “Living Wage Aotearoa” campaign tomorrow night (Wednesday, 3 July) at 5.30 at the Technology Suite of Dunedin North Intermediate School.

ENDS

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