Police paid more than teachers because life on the line - Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata defends $10,000 salary gap - but says performance pay would close it.

Education Minister Hekia Parata says police are paid more than teachers because they put their live on the line.

Speaking on yesterday's TV3’s The Nation programme, Ms Parata conceded that while police started their careers at a salary of around $45,000, teachers got around $10,000 less.

Ms Parata said the average pay for teachers, including head teachers and those in management positions was $71,000 but for the full range of teachers was it was only $47,232.

However, she could not say how much extra money would be paid to teachers if performance pay were to be introduced.

“We are talking about developing a system that works for the profession.

“And to put some sort of figure on it, is to somehow move away from [having] quality happening for all teachers, and that means quality learning experiences for all students.

“Performance pay is just one in a basket of activities that we need to be introducing.”

Ms Parata‘s performance pay proposal includes a second proposal to freeze the number of teachers at the level they are at now - 52,500.

“In 2016 we expect to have about the same number as we have now in 2012,” she said.

“So what we've decided is we're not going to continue to grow the numbers. “

She said that in recent years the number of teachers had grown faster than the number of students.

"Actually what we've had is a five-fold increase in the number of teachers while we've only had a 2% increase in students,” she said.

“So we have continued to invest in the quantity of teachers for the last 10 years, but we haven’t seen the student achievement rise in that same period of time.

“That tells us that we have to have better quality teaching, and better quality professional leadership, to get the best possible learning for our young people.”

But she agreed that could see some classes increase in size.

“Actually what we've said is that 90% from the modelling of actual role growth over the next year is that four out of the 13 years will have a small adjustment and 90% of schools will lose or gain up to one teacher.” 

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