ECE Teachers Deserve A Raise – We’re Giving Them One (Part 2)

Sat 20 Jul 2019

Teaching is one of the most important jobs in the world. Parents and Grandparents of both families of the founders and directors of Chrysalis Group, Nikeeta and Dr Darius Singh, were teachers (and one of their parents has been teaching for 48 years and still teaches in South Auckland, which makes him one of the longest serving teachers for that Catholic school and all its sister schools around the world!). Their parents and grandparents significantly influenced Nikeeta and Darius’s core understanding of the power of teaching and education to lift aspirations and hope for a better future.

That is why we understand the simple truth that investing in our teachers today is the best investment we can make in our tomorrow. Our international publication on Gaia (Earth) Inspired Education Principles (already published in Europe, Asia, Australia, Sweden and soon to present in USA at the largest Earth and Science gathering on the planet with NASA in attendance too) promotes Nikeeta and Darius’s quote that “Humanity’s best hope for the future are our teachers, because they are the ones closest to and have the most influence in preparing the future guardians and leaders of our planet”. Testimonials have been received from education professionals around the world about their talk which delivers a powerful message for the future of education.

To learn more about what we are doing to value our teachers, continue reading below.

“Humanity’s best hope for the future are our teachers; they are the ones closest to and have the most influence in preparing the future guardians and leaders of our planet”, N&D Singh

What has been done for “Education and Care Provider” ECE centres?

There are over 4500 Early Childhood Education providers in New Zealand. These comprise the following types (see pie chart):

Looking back through the years of both Labour and National led government budget announcements and funding increases for ECE, we see minimal to zero funding of subsidy rates or teaching wages to Education and Care ECE providers:

  • 2019: only 1.8% increase in early childhood education subsidy rates, effective in January 2020 (click for reference)
  • 2018: only 1.6% increase in early childhood education subsidy rates, effective in January 2019 (click for reference)
  • 2011-2017: only two lots of 0.83% in terms of effective wage increases (click for reference).
Types of ECE providers in NZ. Data source: https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0010/192943/ECE-Summary-page-2Services-in-2018.pdf

Extract from “The pay-talk discussions and the wider impacts” by Peter Reynolds, CEO of the Early Childhood Council:
“Since 2011, Kindergartens and Kindy teachers have enjoyed three pay increases: 4%, 4% and 0.38% and none of these have been passed on to Education and Care ECE centres in the form of a top up. And yet, all ECE providers in table 1 above operate under the national curriculum Te Whaariki. Furthermore qualified ECE teachers, whether they work in centres or kindy, all do the same job and have very similar job descriptions. The two funding increases that were received since 2011 by Education and Care ECE providers were both 2.5% applied to non-wage-related costs – equivalent to 0.83% in real terms. And that was applied to all ECE services, so Kindies received this too”.

What are we doing, in spite of this?

In early 2019, the Chrysalis Group management team decided to invest in their own higher minimum wage for unqualified (yet experienced) teachers, teachers in training, and teaching assistants to $20 per hour + staff perks worth up to a further $7 gross per hour. With NZ’s legal minimum wage currently set at $17.70 per hour, we are up to 13% higher with our own minimum standards and when we add our generous staff benefits and well-being package, this is over 50% higher. Our minimum total remuneration package is even 25% higher than the living wage that is set at $21.15 per hour.

This commitment to lift our own minimum wage to $20 in our centres has arrived two years before the Labour-led coalition government have planned to increase the legal minimum wage requirement to $20 across NZ in 2021.

Our goal with this pay rise being implemented throughout our multi award winning child care centres in Avondale (West Auckland), Blockhouse Bay (Central Auckland), Manurewa (South Auckland) and Tauranga (Bay of Plenty) is to give a genuine message to our teachers that they are valued. This has also sent an internal ripple effect of the same positive message for our qualified teaching wage bands, head teacher / team leader and management bands.

Why are we raising our wages?

Offering the highest wages and salaries on top of multi-award winning workplace environments enables us to select the best teachers who can deliver the best teaching passion and performance – it’s as simple as that. “We have seen with our own children, what a difference a great teacher can make, and we are willing to invest in the very best ECE teaching talent in New Zealand with our multi award winning workplace environments, competitive wages and salaries, as well as attractive staff benefits and well-being packages”, says co-founder Nikeeta Singh. But, reasons run deeper than just a pursuit of excellence; a significant pay rise for New Zealand’s ECE teachers is long overdue.

New Zealand is experiencing a nationwide teacher shortage. In 2019, nearly 1 in 6 Auckland primary and secondary schools began the year with teaching vacancies. With 134 teaching vacancies in 87 of Auckland’s 565 schools, the Ministry of Education is now undertaking a large-scale overseas recruitment campaign to lure overseas teachers to New Zealand’s shores.

Last month in June, the government pitched a new plan to New Zealand teachers that would make them among the highest earning public workers in the country. The deal would offer raises in some instances of over $30,000 per year. The hope is that these salary boosts will incentivise more young Kiwis to join the field of education and, in turn, better equip the next generation. The other hope is that the ECE sector is not forgotten among all the supports going towards the Primary and Secondary sector.

“We have seen with our own children, what a difference a great teacher can make, and we are willing to invest in the very best ECE teaching talent in New Zealand with our multi award winning workplace environments, competitive wages and salaries, as well as attractive staff benefits and well-being packages”, says co-founder Nikeeta Singh.

What do we want to gain out of all this?

By raising our wages ahead of the Ministry of Education’s public teacher salaries, or independent national wage benchmark reports, we at Chrysalis Group have always acknowledged the immediate value of educators in our early learning centres.  While we appreciate the government’s efforts to encourage more young New Zealanders to become teachers, we’re ready to pay our teachers ‘top of the top band for top performance’. Hiring and developing the ‘best of the best’ teachers means better outcomes for our tamariki, which in turn will continue growing our “outlier” reputation among parents and communities, and generate more sustainable performance and continued and ongoing investment back into our centres (as we have proven every year for the last 10 years).

In our small Chrysalis family of early learning centres, we are committed to the finest possible education for children. We believe our premium wages and salaries for our teachers reflect the value we place on this. By giving our teachers more value, more opportunities and more inspiring places to work and build their careers in, we are showing the deep passion, vision and family legacy of ‘lifting aspirations and hope’ that Nikeeta and Darius are striving to live up to for their colleagues and in turn for your children. ‘

Contact our centres today to open those doors for your child.

“Creating the best New Zealand tomorrow with the best teachers today”

To know more about how we value our teachers, please read on to: