National | Education

Will New Teacher Aide Funding Help Combat Violence in Classrooms?

A Māori Educationalist says Māori students are set to benefit from extra teacher aides, but will the funding help deal with violent children?

Hoana Pearson spearheads the Māori Principals Association. She maintains that Māori students have diverse needs.

"Whilst this is an exciting initiative, it's exciting to get extra funds and resources and we certainty need those, we actually need the people to be able to employ them to work in our schools as well," says Pearson.

Although Pearson welcomes Education Minister Hekia Parata's 2016 Budget announcement that allows for extra teacher aides for 1250 students, she says there still needs to be more support for all Māori students.

"We don't have teacher aides around our schools waiting for funding. So, we get funding for children but we don't have the people to utilize it with, so that causes a problem because of the fixed term nature of teacher aiding," says Pearson.

Last year the Tai Tokerau Principals Association found that half of the number of Northland schools they surveyed weren't equipped to deal with violent children.

Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association President Pat Newman says,

“It's about 30 percent of the children in Te Tai Tokerau that are at risk in a major way.

"We know the number of children who have high violence and behavioural problems and in proportion, it is a huge number. The extra hours do not address those aspects whatsoever, of behaviour, of violence etc. at school or at home."

Meanwhile, $15.3 million is set to be spread over four years for students with a range of learning difficulties. Students who qualify will receive five hours of teacher aid assistance each week.