Early childhood package 'not enough' to attract much-needed staff - Early Childhood Council

Early childhood teachers will continue to fight for pay parity, despite a new package aimed at easing pressures.

Four million dollars is being thrown behind campaigns targeting overseas and new ECE teachers. 

"Efforts by the ministry to attract people into the sector, to make it easy for them to undertake training - but to ensure that we're turning out good-quality teachers - is critical," said Early Childhood Council CEO Peter Reynolds.

"We do want to see an emphasis put on making it easy and removing as many barriers as possible for those qualified teachers out in the community who are looking for opportunities to return."

Paying teachers better is still needed however, he says - kindergarten teachers recently had a pay rise of 18.5 percent, but they only make up 15 percent of the workforce - the rest have been left high and dry.

"We need to make sure that all teachers doing the same job in New Zealand in early childhood services get recognised and paid at the same level."

Applications open next month. The first 300 will be paid a relocation support grant, the Early Childhood Council says.

"On behalf of our members our message to the minster and his officials is that while we are grateful for this latent support, this is not enough," said Reynolds. "These are sensible changes that should have been made in the first year of this new Government."

Primary teachers achieved pay parity with their secondary colleagues earlier this year after taking to the streets. 

"The minister has decided that primary teachers are worth fighting for and now we need him to stand up and say that early childhood teachers are also worth it," said Reynolds.