Post sponsored by

Source: New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI)

28 January 2021

NZEI Te Riu Roa has launched an independent review of perceived under-resourcing in primary schooling*, inviting public submissions on how to ensure every child can realise their potential. 

NZEI Te Riu Roa members have raised serious concerns about insufficient staffing and the ability of schools to meet the needs of every student, and NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford said it was time to take a proactive lead on finding solutions to present to government. 

“With that in mind, we’re launching Pūaotanga: An independent review of primary school staffing, to delve into these issues,” he says. 

The review is led by Steve Maharey, a previous Minister of Education and Vice Chancellor of Massey University. On the panel are Cathy Wylie, chief researcher with NZCER; Peter Verstappen, principal of Wakefield School; and Whetū Cormick, education consultant and former President of NZPF. 

Mr Maharey says the reviewers are delighted to be a part of the process.

“We understand there is a range of issues that have challenged the primary schooling sector for some time, and NZEI Te Riu Roa wants us to take a fresh look at how these might be resolved. We’ll be consulting as widely as possible and look forward to providing a comprehensive report and recommendations by the end of May,” he says.

Mr Rutherford says educators’ workloads are unsustainable and tamariki are missing out on the support they need.  

“To ensure each child reaches their potential we need teachers who have time to teach and leaders who have time to lead,” says Mr Rutherford. 

“Many educators I’ve spoken with believe that the current funding system is based on obsolete formulas which do not reflect the way we currently teach, the needs of our students and the expectations of our communities.  

“For years the system has been tweaked with bits of ad hoc funding removed and added on. This review will take a ‘ground up’ approach in looking at what students need to thrive, following the evidence from educators, parents and all interested groups,” he says. 

For more information on the review, Terms of Reference and how to make a submission in writing or at a public hearing, see

The panel’s findings will be released in June and will be part of NZEI’s campaign for improved staffing in primary schooling. Primary teachers will discuss the findings and recommendations at paid union meetings that month. 

*Primary schooling includes primary, intermediate, kura, area, middle and special schools.