92.5 teachers could not be found to cover teacher absences during just one week, the week ending 24 May 2019.

Te Tai Tokerau Spokesperson Leanne Otene says they have been concerned for some time, and decided to survey principals over just that one week.

“We got responses from 80 of our schools, covering over 15000 children” she said. “The total number of absences by teachers, mainly due to illness and workload, was 415 teacher Days absent, with 92.5 of those days having to be covered by mainly doubling up classes, or through the principal having to teach instead. This just adds to that person’s workload and is just one of the reasons we have teacher burnout up here. I dread what’s going to happen now winter is here!”

She went onto say “We know relievers are hard to get throughout NZ, due to poor pay and conditions. However, in Te Tai Tokerau its harder because many of our schools are isolated small schools, many are Immersion or Bilingual, and relievers who maybe available, are not prepared to travel to isolated area”

“It is obvious,” she continued. “That something or someone has to give urgently. We know this is again just another symptom of the current teaching situation, but it’s our kids up here who are suffering. Our teachers can’t keep coming to school when ill which is happening to cover days!

It’s great for the Minister to say he is aware of the situation, but we can’t wait till new teachers are trained.  We can’t wait whilst Treasury fiddles its fingers!

These are our tamariki who are suffering!

These are our teachers who are being placed into intolerable strain!

The ball is in the Ministers court to fix this problem urgently I can’t help thinking that a decent salary package just might entice some of those who have left the profession to come back in the meantime!  Perhaps that’s the answer Chris!!”


Contact Leanne Otene
Spokesperson Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association