Primary Teachers Get Unified Pay System With Secondary

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education (Early Childhood Education and Maori Education)

"The agreement between the Government and the primary teachers' union over the final shape of the unified pay system for teachers is an historic achievement," Education Minister Wyatt Creech and Associate Education Minister Brian Donnelly said today.

"The unified pay system means that the country's primary school teachers can look forward to large pay rises and back pay.

"The development of a unified pay system is a major educational achievement. For the first time we now have a pay system where a student's age does not determine how much a teacher is paid," the Ministers said. "Primary teachers will be rewarded based on their contribution as teachers. Their new pay system includes units of payment to reward, recruit and retain the teachers schools need.

"The removal of the pay distinction between primary and secondary teachers honours the Government's Coalition commitment to pursue with vigour the achievement of a unified pay system for the teaching profession.

"Unifying the pay systems under this offer has had a costly price tag of $254 million over 2 and a half years. It gives primary teachers average pay increases of 11%."

Mr Creech said there was no chance of the pay differential between primary and secondary teachers emerging during the term of the contract with an agreement that any subsequent pay increases that may be agreed with secondary teachers would be passed on to primary teachers.

"The investment of more than a quarter of a billion dollars to pay for the new pay rises for primary teachers follows large pay increases delivered to secondary teachers when their contract was settled at the end of 1996. Secondary school teachers got average pay increases of about 13% then," Mr Creech said.

"I hope that the significant extra investment in teachers' pay generates a sense of how much the Government values the contribution well performing teachers make to the education of our young people.

"The agreement to develop explicit professional standards for teachers and to the use of these standards in determining pay progression means that teachers will have a clearer sense of what is expected of them and stronger incentives to meet those incentives - this has to be good for teacher quality.

"Over the past 18 months we have not only increased basic pay rates for primary and secondary teachers but we are also in the primary settlement introducing new ways to see that quality teaching is recognised. There are also extra payments to enable schools to deal with their recruitment and retention needs."

Mr Creech said he was pleased that the negotiations had been concluded.

"We can now turn our collective minds to getting schools really humming and lifting the overall quality of education our students receive," Mr Creech concluded.