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ECE Teachers are Made of Money – Education Minister

The pay many teachers earn in ECE is hardly enough for the time, effort and cost put into becoming and being a teacher. Pay rates set by the Ministry of Education for qualified and certificated teachers in non-kindergarten ECE centres are only $21.87 and $22.51 an hour, depending on the level of qualification.  
Now the Teaching Council is proposing to hike its fees to teachers so that it can fund the costs of meeting its statutory obligations to the Government
-  $470 to apply for registration and a practising certificate 
-  $500 for a returning to teaching practising certificate after a break of 5 years
-  up to $500 for renewal of a practising certificate. 

Emotions are understandably running very high among teachers. They feel they are being treated very badly.  For some this is the last straw in being underappreciated and undervalued.    

How did this come about? 

In 2016 Education Minister Hekia Parata said she wanted the Education Council to become a self-sufficient business operation and instructed it to increase the fees it charged teachers and find other sources of revenue.  While it was suggested that teacher registration fees would be increased from $220.80 to $510.00 this did not go ahead.

A new Labour-led Government came into power in October 2017.  Chris Hipkins replaced Ms Parata as Minister of Education.  In Sept 2018 he changed the name of the Education Council to the 'Teaching Council'  - at an estimated cost of $220,000 for the name change.  

Fee increases are now most likely to go ahead because Minister Hipkins supports Ms Parata's view that the Teaching Council should be financially self-sufficient and its money is running out with no new injunction of funding from the government. 

Employers note that:
Where employers are making payment of Teaching Council fees on behalf of an individual teacher or a group of teachers, separate payment in full for the applicable fees for each individual teacher is required at the time of application.

Teachers note that: 
The Teaching Council has no facility for teachers to pay fees by instalments in arrears as it is a legal requirement that all applicable fees are paid in full prior to a Practising Certificate being issued. Neither does the Teaching Council have the facility to support the pre-payment of fees by instalment in advance.

Proposed Fee Increases
  Current Fee Increase Option 1 Increase Option 2
Renew current practising certificate  $220.80 for 3 years   $470 for 3 years $500 for 3 years
A new graduate applying for registration and a practising certificate  $220.80 for 3 years   $470 for 3 years $300 for 3 years
Overseas trained teacher applying for registration and a practising certificate  $302.57 for 3 years $570 for 3 years $400 for 3 years
A prov registered or subject to confirmation teacher applying for full practising certificate  $302.57 for 3 years $570 for 3 years $600 for 3 years
Making a renewal application after the expiry date of current certificate $270.80 for 3 years $570 for 3 years $600 for 3 years
Limited authority to teach $168.66 for 3 years   $470 for 3 years  $500 for 3 years
A Registered teacher who hasn’t completed any teaching in NZ in the last 5 years
applying for a Returning to Teaching Practising Certificate
 no charge  $470 for 3 years $500 for 3 years
 A graduate of an initial teacher education programme applying for teacher registration only   no charge   $470 for 3 year $500 for 3 years


Can it be considered right to have a flat fee rate for all school and ECE teachers when teachers in the vast majority of ECE services can be paid substantially less than teachers in schools and 'free kindergartens" and do not have pay parity? Read more about Pay Parity here.

So should the fees be set at a different rate for teachers working in the early childhood sector?

Furthermore how can it be considered right for Teaching Council fees to be regularly adjusted for inflation when ECE teacher wages are not regularly adjusted for inflation?  

Click here to go to the Teachers' Council in-house online consultation

Here's a thought: Should all teachers (and schools and ECE services on behalf of their teaching staff) refuse to pay, then the government would be left to pay the costs of the Teaching Council meeting its statutory obligations instead of teachers. 

Tell us what you think -  Add your comment below ↓


The article below was published on 24 November 2016

teacher wages and family money worriesThe Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand has been put on notice by Education Minister Hekia Parata to become a self-sufficient business operation and instructed to raise fees on teachers practising certificates and find other sources of revenue.

ChildForum says the Government is walking all over early childhood teachers.

“Early childhood teachers are not made of money. They should not be made to pay more for a practising certificate,” ChildForum’s chief executive Dr Sarah Alexander said.

“Early childhood teachers do not earn massive amounts of money. They are highly vulnerable in terms of pay and conditions of work compared with teachers in schools and in the public education sector.”

Already, early childhood teachers who are not able to complete the requirements for full registration within six years of gaining their teaching qualification owing to reasons such as taking time off to have children or working in home-based ECE or a different part of the education sector, face a fee around of $4,000 and four months of additional study for a teacher refresher course if they want to stay in.

“Increasing the costs of certification is yet another move that will add to early childhood teachers questioning how much longer they can afford to stay in the profession and this will result in greater loss of talent and investment in teacher education and building up a qualified ECE workforce.”

After restructuring and renaming the NZ Teachers’ Council Ms Parata has announced that the Government is giving ECANZ $21.3 million of taxpayer money on top of the $3.43 million already given to enable it to complete the transition process.

A condition attached to this cash injection is that ECANZ work towards financial self-sufficiency.

“The Education Council will be required to provide quarterly updates to the Minister on its financial position and progress, while the Ministry of Education will commission an independent review of the Council’s financial progress in a year’s time. The Minister will appoint a person with corporate finance expertise to the Education Council to help support its pathway to financial sustainability” Ms Parata said.

Sources of other revenue, in addition to that raised by increasing fees to teachers, could come for example from commercial businesses, private childcare companies, marketing companies, etc.

“This does not exactly fit with the Minister of Education’s words about helping teachers to take more ownership of their professional body,” said Dr Alexander.


NEWS FLASH:  Proposed new fee charges were announced in April 2017.  The proposed fee increases did not go ahead.  A new Labour-led Government came into power in October 2017   

  Every year  Or, every three years 
Fee for lodging application for practising certificate after existing cert has expired  $100 one-off fee (up from $50.)  
Fee charged of teachers who hold a practising certificate $170. $510. (up from $220.80)

Fee for moving from a:

  • provisional certificate
  • subject to confirmation certificate
  • overseas or Australian trans-Tasman
$270 $610 (up from $302.57)
Fee for limited authority to teach $170. (up from $56.22)  
The Education Council does not intend to introduce a separate discipline fee to cover its costs for dealing with teacher conduct and competence issues     


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