Primary school teachers from throughout North Otago gathered outside Waitaki MPJacqui Dean’s office in Thames St on Friday morning as part of a nationwide protest against the Government’s flagship education policy.
The teachers involved in the protest are part of the New Zealand Educational Institute, which wants to make classrooms smaller and increase focus on early childcare.
NZEI member Chris Mosedale said it was disappointing that Mrs Dean failed to make an appearance.
“We let her know that we were going to do and when it was happening, but we actually didn’t know she wasn’t coming until we read it in the Oamaru Mail,” he said.
“Apparently she had an urgent meeting to attend in Central Otago.”
There were about 60 teachers and four children present, with representatives from most schools in the area.
“We want to make classrooms better for teachers, giving them smaller classes and making sure help begins at the bottom, so children are prepared when they start school,” he said.
Mr Mosedale said he was pleased with the turnout of people.
“It was good. We had a good amount of representation from the schools and we feel we got our message across.”
Mr Mosedale said better funding was essential.
“We already have the expertise and experience in each and every classroom in New Zealand and we are already making a difference. With better ministry support and funding, we can do more.”
The NZEI sent letters to all Government ministers, informing them of the nationwide action.
The major changes they are calling for include smaller class sizes, high-quality early years education with 100 per cent qualified teachers, better funding and support for children with special learning needs, resources for initiatives that support Maori and Pacific student success and sustainable and realistic funding for school support staff so that teachers can focus on teaching and learning.
By BRAYDEN LINDSAY
PHOTO: Teachers and supporters outside Jacqui Dean’s office on Friday morning.