Vital learning assistants worth so much more: principal

Chris Dibben, principal of Tawhero School in Whanganui and one of our Principal Pay Equity Champions, speaks out about the vital role that learning assistants play in his school.

Chris DibbenThe Learning Assistants are vitally important in every room as they support and assist the teacher with learning groups and support and direct the students with their learning.

Our Learning Assistants are expertly trained in a variety of Learning Intervention Programmes and really support specific student learning and contribute to accelerating student achievement. Their knowledge and delivery of these programmes certainly enhances the learning opportunities for our students.

Their relationships they have with our tamariki are extremely valuable and based on mutual respect. They have actively been involved and participated in our Positive Behaviour for Learning journey and our Understanding Behaviour Responding Safely Professional Learning and their implementation. The positive, caring and respectful relationships our Learning Assistants have with each and every child certainly contributes to building and maintaining a positive learning atmosphere and environment for our students, staff and school community.

Our Learning Assistants are a very important part of the team that support all our students and those students who need extra support and are at risk in their learning and /or behaviour. The child management strategies and techniques they use actually empower students and provide our students with an opportunity to access learning and also hold their mana and self-esteem.

Their support allows our teachers to be more effective. Without our Learning Assistants in each classroom, I know each of our teachers could not be as effective and they really value and appreciate the support our Learning Assistants offer as they contribute to the positive learning environment in every classroom, the well-being of each student and student achievement.

Their knowledge and skills are worth much more than what schools can currently pay. There are other jobs requiring the same level of at skill in other sectors but they are paid higher rates. Having the government progress pay equity would better recognise our wonderful staff and reward them for the fantastic job they do.”

    Fair's Fair Mana Taurite is our campaign for pay equity in education. Learn more and join in.

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