18 Apr 2024

Teachers worry about curriculum, NCEA changes amid staff cuts

8:05 am on 18 April 2024
No caption

Photo: 123RF

Teachers are concerned about the roll-out of curriculum and NCEA changes amid drastic staff cuts at the Ministry of Education.

The Ministry of Education yesterday announced a proposal to cut 565 jobs, including nearly 90 regional and front-line roles directly supporting schools. RNZ understands 225 roles of the jobs are vacant.

Post-Primary Teachers' Association president Chris Abercrombie told Morning Report the cuts were "absolutely" going to affect teachers and principals.

"No principals or teachers will lose their jobs in these cuts, that's really clear, but the work that they do is supported by the curriculum centre, by the regional offices, by those positions."

Post Primary Teachers Association acting president Chris Abercrombie.

Post-Primary Teachers' Association president Chris Abercrombie. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Government plans to make changes to the English, maths and science curriculum and the NCEA level two and three refreshes were yet to be rolled out.

Abercrombie said he was "really worried" about the ramifications of the cuts on those.

"Any changes like that... is going to need a workforce to do it.

"It's either going to be pushed back onto teachers, or contractors are going to be brought in, or the work is just not going to get done, or it's going to get done poorly."

He also questioned cuts to jobs in regional offices, saying they were front-line roles that schools dealt with daily.

"These aren't some bureaucrats at the headquarters in Wellington, they're in offices in Invercargill, in Napier and New Plymouth, that's who these people are, and they're the ones who schools deal with every single day."

Education Minister Erica Stanford was adamant the job loses at the ministry were part of a deliberate shift to move resources to the front-line.

Among the cuts were those involved in the NCEA changes which been delayed pending a review, she told Morning Report.

"For the most part, the Curriculum Centre proposed changes are around the NCEA change programme... there are a few in the curriculum area.

"What I'm not going to do is hold on to resource that we could be directing to the front-line for a year or more that we don't need while we are reorganising."

National MP Erica Stanford

Education Minister Erica Stanford. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Despite more than 200 jobs going at the curriculum centre, Stanford said there would actually be new jobs created in the regions to help teachers with the curriculum changes.

She couldn't say when they would be created.

"We've already got a plan in place for this work to happen... and exactly the opposite of what I think people are worried about will happen, we are going to have excellent guides for teachers."

There would also be new money for education in the budget next month, Stanford said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs