The Ministry of Education is to cut 100 jobs by the end of June next year, according to the Public Service Association.
The union says staff at the ministry were told of the cuts on Friday. It says morale is at an all-time low at the ministry and fresh cuts will only make matters worse.
PSA national secretary Brenda Pilott says staff have been told the job losses are a result of the Government cutting $25 million from the Budget and the ministry finding only $8 million in savings.
Ms Pilott says the ministry appears to have no strategy for how the cuts will be made and services will suffer as a result.
As well as the job cuts, the PSA says the ministry currently has about 300 vacancies that it is not filling.
The primary teachers' union, the NZEI, says ministry staff already face considerable workload stress and wholesale cuts will lead to a reduction in the quality of service to students.
NZEI national secretary Paul Goulter says the money going to the Government's ill-conceived national standards policy should go to supporting teachers and children's learning.
The Labour Party says the job cuts will ultimately affect student achievement.
State Services spokesperson Grant Robertson says these sort of wholesale cuts will hurt the education system and losses in areas such as special education will directly affect the experience of parents and schools.
Mr Robertson says the National Government has clearly broken its election promise to cap, but not cut, the public service.