Stuart McCutcheon’s axe has fallen on the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education and Social Work after 21 staff
were told this week that their jobs are on the line. Echoing through the Beehive, McCutcheon’s axing of each and every
job will make it harder for Jacinda Ardern to fulfil her commitment to end the chronic teacher shortage we face.
Early in July , Stuart McCutcheon confirmed that he wanted to cut 22.4 full-time equivalent jobs from the university’s
Faculty of Education and Social Work. After months of uncertainty about their future, those set to lose their jobs were
told the news in one-on-one meetings throughout this week.. They now have four weeks to provide feedback on the
decision. The timing of the decision is inexplicable given that a lack of teachers is one of the most pressing
challenges New Zealand faces. For future generations to fulfil their potential - whether as a social worker, nurse,
teacher, business owner — they need a great education. We succeed as a nation only when we invest in our teachers and
their communities. The starting point for that is making sure we are doing everything we can to train the teachers,
social workers and counsellors we need. Stuart McCutcheon needs to take responsibility for what he has done to make it
harder for this Government to address the chronic shortage of teachers and counsellors we face.
Thousands of people in towns and cities all across New Zealand rightly came together last Wednesday to call on the
Education Minister Chris Hipkins to increase the number of teachers. Because of years of underfunding by the last
National-led Government, our education system is also falling short when it comes to ensuring teachers’ pay and
conditions reflect the remarkable difference they make to Kiwi kids’ lives. Every teacher, every child, every parent,
uncle, aunty, grandparent and friend that came out on Wednesday to show their support for our incredible teachers proved
just how much our public education system matters to New Zealanders.
Nanette Cormack, Deputy Secretary of the Tertiary Education Union (TEU), said:“Rebuilding the tertiary education sector
after years of neglect under National starts with our youngest learners. Kids need feel they are ready to go on to do
further study, and a positive school experience is a crucial part of that. Making sure we have enough teachers to
inspire our kids to pursue a life of learning, and that the education system values these people for what they do, is
one of the best things we can do with the money we all pool together through taxes. That’s one of the reasons why it is
so infuriating to see Stuart McCutcheon cutting the jobs of the very people we need to train the teachers of the future.
“We all agree to contribute to the future of our public education system because it’s the right thing to. Why can’t
Stuart McCutcheon do the same? It’s time he stood up and said he will do what he can to help us address the teacher
shortage – for the good of all of us. The University of Auckland recently posted a budget surplus of nearly $70 million,
so we know he can do it. .”