'Yes, we've won... we're keeping our technology teachers'

By Amelia Wade

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Intermediate principals and teachers felt a great sense of relief yesterday after the Government backed down on increases in class sizes.

Northcross Intermediate principal Jonathan Tredray believed parents were the deciding factor.

"That was really the turning point, they could see the benefit because they had experienced the technology subjects and saw their kids enjoying it and learning from it.

"I don't think the Government would have listened to us because we're just another whingeing body.

"John Key's made his money through trading, but that does not work with education - it's not a tradeable commodity, it's about our future. I couldn't get over the short-sightedness of it."

Principal of Wesley Intermediate Nigel Davis said it was important that teacher unions and the trustees association had worked together against the changes.

"I think it was the first time they'd all come together to support the students."

As soon as he heard of the backdown, Mr Davis sent a runner around to all the teachers.

In one room, the teacher yelled, "Yes, we've won!" and when her students asked her what she meant, she told them: "We're keeping our technology teachers."

"And they all started yelling and clapping," Mr Davis said.

When the changes were first announced, the school - which has up to 140 pupils - was set to lose one teacher, which is 12 per cent of its staff.

Papatoetoe Intermediate principal Brian Hinchco said the Government's attempt to do away with technology subjects was taking away what it meant to be a New Zealander.

"Every New Zealander has been through technology, they've made wooden spatulas or pencil cases, they've made pikelets in the food room and it appeared the Government was attacking the very fabric of what it means to be a New Zealander."

The school, with 848 students, was set to lose six teachers and bump up class sizes to 40 students a room.

Brenda Bennett, whose daughter Amelia is in Year 8 at Pukekohe Intermediate, said the idea of cutting the technology subjects was ridiculous and not thought through.

"It just seemed like they were giving it a go."

Last year, Amelia's favourite subject was woodwork and it would have been a shame if students did not have that opportunity, Mrs Bennett said.

"Some children aren't as good with literacy or numeracy and need more practical work."

Principal of Mt Roskill Intermediate Michael O'Reilly called the backdown a great move by the Government, but was a touch sceptical.

"I'd be interested to see the fine print, 95 per cent of me is feeling really positive but sometimes there's devil in the detail around some of these things, so we just have to be aware of that."

- NZ Herald

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