Teachers want $1.6 billion spend-up

The Education Institute has drawn up its wish-list days ahead of the Budget.

It's crunched the numbers, and believes an extra $1.6 billion is needed every year for education from early childhood through primary.

About $61 million is needed, it says, to restore 100 percent fully qualified teachers in early childhood education centres.

"The previous Government took that away and said 80 percent qualified is good enough," said Education Institute national secretary Paul Goulter.

"This Government's committed to 100 percent qualified teachers, and to fund that we believe will cost an additional $61 million."

Mr Goulter says they'd also like to restore funding to centres that was frozen by the previous Government, and it won't be cheap - around $218 million.

"Early childhood services have done it real hard with frozen funding. They've cut back as hard as they can. Inevitably, that starts to impact on the quality."

And they want $289 million spent on reducting the teacher-toddler ratio from 1:5 to 1:3.

All-up, that's around $600 million on early childhood education - and the Education Institute also wants an extra $1 billion of spending in the primary education sector.

"The Government has talked about the terrible situation they've uncovered in education and the urgent need to fix it. We're basically saying to them we totally agree with you, we want to work with you - and this is the cost."

The primary education spend-up it's after includes 16 percent pay increases for teachers and principals, smaller class sizes, more "professional leadership time", more staff in schools, more pay for principals at small schools and more operational funding.

"The solutions are not cheap, but prioritising a quality education for every child will mean a better future for all of us," said Mr Goulter.

Even more money would be required if staff are to be guaranteed a living wage and pay equity.

The Education Institute represents nearly 50,000 teachers and support staff.


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