Early childhood teacher shortage severe

15 October 2018

The union representing early childhood teachers has added its voice to ECE employers’ call to Government to do more to reverse a teacher shortage in early childhood services.

The recent recruitment drives for primary and secondary school teachers announced by Minister Hipkins exclude ECE, despite a severe shortage across the sector.

800 new early childhood teachers were needed to replace those leaving the profession, and 1300 more teachers were needed to meet growth in demand for early childhood education places.

NZEI President Lynda Stuart said that the causes of the early childhood teacher shortage were similar to those in primary, but in ECE the issues are significantly worse.

“Salaries for ECE teachers are low because they are bulk funded and because historically it’s a female-dominated profession. The National Government put an 8 year freeze on ECE funding and scrapped the 100% qualified teacher funding band. These effects are still being felt in the sector, with services struggling to fund pay increases.”

Earlier this month NZEI revealed a number of workers in the sector being paid below the legal minimums.

‘Early childhood cannot continue to be the poor cousin, and young children deserve better.”

The Ministry of Education needed to do more to proactively plan for the education sector as a whole, and both address the immediate needs and the underlying causes of the shortages.

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