21 Aug 2015

Plea for permanent teacher aides in North

12:10 pm on 21 August 2015

It's time teacher aides are given permanent staff jobs to help schools manage violent pupils, a Northland school principal says.

Teacher and student at Linwood Primary School, Christchurch.

Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

A survey of 100 schools in Northland found more than half felt they were not properly resourced to deal with disturbed children.

Principals said they were seeing a steady flow of new entrants who've been damaged by drug abuse and violence, and could not control their impulse to lash out at others.

They said the funding for minders for those children was inadequate, and only about half were getting the intensive help they needed.

Bruce Crawford of Hikurangi Primary School is one of more than 50 principals who said they are not adequately funded to cope with aggressive pupils.

He said teacher aides are now essential in the school environment but good ones were hard to find because they are treated as casual labour.

"Teachers aides need to come on to the staff and stop being treated like mother helps where they are under-rated, under-valued by outside agencies and be treated in a similar vain as paralegals and paramedics and paid accordingly."

The Ministry of Education said it was helping about 1200 children in Northland this year and provided specialist teachers to help those with behavioural difficulties.