New Zealand government backtracks on teaching cuts

The Government is preparing to back away from plans to reform the funding of intermediate schools.

The association representing intermediates says more than 300 technology teachers were going to be pushed out of a job under the changes.

And this afternoon Prime Minister John Key conceded that some schools would lose too many teachers under the plan.

Key has admitted changes buried in the Budget that will see specialist funding for the likes of woodwork, metalwork and cooking teachers axed go too far.

“It tends to concentrate the issue and there are one or two schools that would a significant number of teachers that would have to leave under that proposal and that would be too many for the Government so we’ll just have to work on that.”

The changes have some schools threatening to go on strike.

“Certainly industrial action wouldn’t be beyond the realms of possibility, the feeling is very strong amongst the teaching community and especially in intermediate schools,” Principal of Dunedin’s Balmacewen Intermediate Andrew Hunter said.

But Key said he thinks “everyone should just hold their breath a wee bit and we’ll work our way through it”.

The Government says by altering funding and increasing some class sizes it will save $43 million a year.

A specialist group from the Ministry of Education will work with the worst affected schools.

Education Minister Hekia Parata will find out if a more measured approach pleases teachers when she opens a conference for intermediate schools on Wednesday.

ONE News

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