Teachers, principals and parents will have their fingers crossed a long-running dispute over teachers' pay and workload will be resolved today.
The Government is expected to reveal details of a revised offer to both primary and secondary teachers, after Education Minister Chris Hipkins became involved in negotiations with teachers' unions NZEI and PPTA last week.
Discussions between primary teachers and the Ministry of Education over revised pay, workload and support began in May last year amid claims of a crisis in education, fuelled by a shortage of teachers.
Primary teachers took strike action for the first time in 24 years last August, and in November rolling strikes were held around the country.
Secondary teachers joined talks in August, and after a year of negotiations and strike action all sides appeared to have reached an impasse.
Teachers rejected the Government’s latest $1.2 billion combined offer in April and the dispute escalated last month when around 50,000 teachers took part in the largest strike in New Zealand’s history, with primary and secondary teachers walking off the job together for the first time.
The Education Minister held 10 hours of negotiation talks with both teachers’ unions last Thursday in an attempted to provide a circuit-breaker to the dispute.
Mr Hipkins labelled the talks as constructive, while PPTA President Jack Boyle said they were "very productive" and regional rolling strikes planned for high school teachers were called off by the PPTA yesterday.
Berhampore Primary School teacher Amelia Ward entered the profession during the ongoing industrial action and says it’s taken its toll on her.
"In the last year I’ve really gone, 'What have I done? Have I made the right choice?' Stress and the effects on my life outside of school have been huge," she said.
Ms Ward said she’s "really hopeful" the Ministry of Education’s latest offer will include an increase in support for children with learning difficulties.
"I’m hoping with this new offer we’re going to be heading back to a sense of normalcy, not having to worry about striking."
Employment academic Dr Stephen Blumenfeld said teachers have maintained the support of the majority of the public.
"They’ve run a very good campaign and they’ve been joined by parents," he said.
"When it comes right down to it, it really is pay at this point in time - that’s the real sticking point in bargaining."