Parents make arrangements as teachers strike - 'Going to the zoo'

Classrooms won’t be filled with the sound of children tomorrow, as teachers take strike action.

More than 1200 schools will be closing when primary school teachers walk off the job. Source: 1 NEWS

It's the first industrial action by primary school teachers in 23 years. The last was in March 1995.

Many teachers say they're frustrated at lack of resources, short staffing numbers and low pay.

"I'm looking at growing numbers of the people that I studied with only four years ago who are leaving the profession because they want to have families.

"They're leaving because they want to buy a house. And these were really amazing people who belong in the classroom, teaching," primary school teacher Carl Pynenburg told 1 NEWS.

That means the school run tomorrow is on hold. Parent Emma Judd has had to make other plans.

"I've a really understanding boss and I’ve taken the day off to spend with my girl so we are going to meet up with friends and go to the zoo.

"Teachers certainly deserve a lot more than they get, they look after our kids around 200 days a year so we really need to value that," Ms Judd said.


Alternative arrangements have been made for children, including school holiday and after school care programs, workplaces being flexible and parents taking the day off.

Berhampore school's teachers in Wellington will picket, but special support workers will help vulnerable students.

"We are aware it's a challenge for quite a few families so we really appreciate the support of our families, they’ve been very strong behind us," Principal Mark Potter said.

But NZEI President Lynda Stuart believes the inconvenience for parents is worth it.

"Actually I know they want the best for their children, we want the best for every child across this country. So sometimes it’s about having that short term pain for long term gain," Ms Stuart said.

She said they thank parents and hope they’ll back teachers, by marching beside them during picketing tomorrow.

The union also told 1 NEWS it won't back down over pay and is not ruling out further strike action.

But the Government says they need to be flexible.

"The important point here is that their starting position is significantly higher than anybody else is getting and there is going to have to be significant movement on their side," Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

Pay talks will resume later next week.