Teachers claim great win after scheme extended

25 August, 2017

NZEI Te Riu Roa members are claiming a great win after the Minister of Education Nikki Kaye said the voluntary bonding scheme, available for beginner teachers in decile one schools, was being extended to every school in Auckland.

“This only happened because of the thousands of teachers who contacted NZEI and the Ministry of Education to inquire about the scheme since we revealed on Monday that the Government had kept it virtually under wraps for years,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa president Lynda Stuart.

The voluntary bonding scheme was introduced across the country in 2009 but only 12 people had applied for it last year, as almost no principal or teacher was aware the scheme existed.

Eligible teachers get $10,500 at the end of their third year teaching at a low-decile or remote school. They get a further $3500 at the end of their fourth and fifth years.

Education Minister Nikki Kaye reportedly said the scheme would be available for all new Auckland teachers from next year, but the amount of money might be slightly less.

“It’s great that the Minister is looking to some solutions for the Auckland teacher shortage, but there still needs to be an additional incentive for teachers in low-decile schools which have the hardest job recruiting and retaining staff.

 “The teacher shortage is at crisis levels in Auckland, and other areas of the country. This is a complicated problem that requires a well-considered and thorough workforce plan, not knee jerk policy.

“There are particular challenges in low-decile and remote schools throughout the country and we need to make sure that the learners at these schools are getting the best deal possible.”

In the last few days, more than 2000 teachers have used NZEI’s online tool which checks whether they are likely to be eligible. Of those, 320 have asked NZEI to help them with their application. NZEI is also asking the Ministry for back-pay for the teachers who missed out through not knowing about the scheme or who missed the deadline to apply – in some case only by a matter of weeks.

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