Meaningful action for ECE is too slow

The NZEI’s recent survey on ECE teachers’ wellbeing validates what the sector inherently knows – staff and services are under critical pressure and meaningful action from Government is too slow.

“Anecdotal evidence from our member services and teachers supports many of the NZEI survey findings,” says Te Rito Maioha Chief Executive Kathy Wolfe.

The survey showed high levels of early childhood teacher stress, burnout, job demands and other issues, especially in ECE centres staffed at the minimum required teacher-to-child ratios, compared to centres with more staff.  

“ECE services do their best to staff above the minimum teacher-to-child ratios, but ongoing teacher shortages, inadequate funding and pay disparity, exacerbated by the pandemic, make this very hard,” Kathy Wolfe says.

“We are working collaboratively with government on pay parity, pay equity, workforce shortages and so on – but the sector is saying progress is too slow,” says Kathy Wolfe.

“While the Government’s Early Learning Action Plan recognises that teacher-child ratios and groups sizes are an issue, these cannot be meaningfully addressed without first resolving teacher shortages, pay parity and ECE funding.

“Meanwhile, we have an exceptionally passionate and committed ECE centres and workforce, running themselves ragged to ensure the young tamariki in their care are getting the best quality education and attention they deserve.

“We call on the Minister to speed up the Government’s work in these crucial areas so early childhood employers, teachers, tamariki and their whānau can see they are genuinely valued.”