Phil Twyford at Flanshaw Road School, Te Atatu South

Phil Twyford: Hi, I’m Phil Twyford. I’m the local Member of Parliament here in Te Atatu, in West Auckland, and I’ve spent the last few hours here at Flanshaw Road School hanging out with the learning support staff that are such a vital part of making this wonderful primary school in our community work.

And I’ve spent time with the office staff and also with a whole lot of the teacher aides in classrooms all around the school looking at what they do with kids who are learning English as a Second Language, kids who get ORS funding for special needs, you know, including some kids who are autistic, and need that one-to-one support to make the classroom experience work for them.

And I have to say it’s been utterly inspiring and moving to see the difference these support workers make to the experience for so many of the kids in the school. A lot of these workers start on the minimum wage on 15 bucks an hour, and I’m here today to support the campaign to unfreeze the operations grants, to demand that the government takes seriously the need for these support workers to be paid better. To recognize the value that they bring to the school and to the community.

So I want to lend my voice to NZEI’s campaign to value these workers and to fund our schools properly because without these workers the school simply couldn’t function.

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