Giving teachers a stronger voice

The new Government’s programme to raise the status of the teaching profession and restore trust and confidence will take another step forward today when Parliament votes to give teachers back the right to elect representatives to their own professional body, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.  

“We believe that teachers have as much right to determine how their profession is led as doctors, lawyers, nurses and countless other professions that elect their own professional representatives,” Mr Hipkins said.

“We’ve also heard from teachers that they want the word ‘teaching’ reflected in the name of the organisation. Today’s Bill does just that, renaming the existing Education Council as the Teaching Council, a title that better reflects their work. 

“The Bill an important first step in raising the status of teaching after some tough years for the profession.

“We hear a lot about low morale among teachers and principals and difficulties in attracting new people into the profession, which is a real concern given the importance of quality teaching to the education of our young people.    

“With this Bill the Government intends to give teaching professionals more ownership of and trust and confidence in their peak body. We want to work in partnership to build the profession and empower teachers to be great ambassadors.

“The council has an important role and teachers and principals should be much more involved, balanced with the substantial public and Government interest in the Council’s work.”   

The Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill increases the number of council members from nine to 13 – with seven registered teachers and principals to be directly elected by their peers and six members appointed by the Minister of Education.

The seven elected members would represent the three parts of the system – one each from the ECE, primary and secondary teacher sectors; a primary, a secondary and an ECE principal or leader; and a representative of initial and ongoing teacher education.

The Education Minister would retain the power to appoint six members of the Council, with one of these members being appointed after consultation with parents and community interest groups. This would enable the Minister to ensure there is sufficient governance and specialist expertise in areas including finance and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.  

The chair would be appointed by the Minister from either the elected or appointed members.   

Mr Hipkins said work was continuing on related initiatives including the establishment of an Education Advisory Service and College of Education Leadership, and the Government will work with the sector to develop a comprehensive education workforce strategy.

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