Teachers get $9m counselling support to cope with stress of their jobs

Health Minister Chris Hipkins has made a plea for people to "think twice before sharing...
Chris Hipkins has announced $8.7m for counselling teachers. Photo: RNZ / File
Teachers will get $8.7 million worth of counselling to cope with the stress of their jobs.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins has unveiled a four-part package after talks agreed to in an "accord" with the NZ Educational Institute and the Post Primary Teachers Association during pay negotiations last year.

The accord provided for reducing workload, reviewing career entry and pathways, developing teacher aides and other para-professionals, and developing a "wellbeing framework" including " systemic supports to address the identified issues in relation to wellbeing".

Hipkins said the Government has agreed to:

  • An immediate $4.2m package of counselling and support services for Auckland educators.

"This package delivers, over a three month period, additional free-of-charge Employment Assistance Programme (EAP) advice and group workshops on issues of concern to staff in state and state-integrated schools, kura, and early learning services," Hipkins said.

"These services will be rolled out during Term 4 2020."

  • A further $2m for additional immediate EAP counselling and support services in locations or regions experiencing a further resurgence of Covid-19, with more options to provide nationwide support to be investigated in the coming months.
  • $1.5m to develop a nationwide wellbeing online hub to provide additional support until June 2023 for all of the more than 130,000 educators in New Zealand, and their whānau.

"The hub will provide a range of easily accessible advice, including peer to peer support and some materials specifically developed for the education sector. This is expected to be up and running before the end of this school year and is in addition to other general wellbeing online information provided by the Ministry of Health."

  • Up to $1m over three years to support the wellbeing of the Māori education workforce in Māori medium educational settings.

"This package does not replace supports already provided by schools and early learning services. The Government has a further $7 million to support teacher and principal wellbeing on top of today's announcement," Hipkins said.

"The Ministry of Education will work with the Accord partners and Māori medium and Pacific peak bodies in early 2021 to develop further initiatives to be funded out of the remaining funds."

The support for teachers comes a day after the Labour Party promised an extra $151m to fund mental health support for all primary and intermediate school children.






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