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Free counselling service for teaching workforce

Education Minister Chris Hipkins. Photo. RNZ.

Teachers and support staff across all early learning services, kōhanga reo, kura, and state and state-integrated schools can now access free Covid-19 Employee Assistance Programme support

Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced the plan earlier today.

“Our kaiako and teachers have been vital in supporting our learners during Covid-19 and have stepped up again to assist them and their whānau in this latest resurgence in our community,” says Hipkins.

“On behalf of all New Zealanders, I would like to express my gratitude to our education workforce for going above and beyond to ensure our children and young people are supported while learning from home. 

“They are playing an important role in our country’s Covid-19 response by looking after the education and wellbeing of our children. I’m sure every New Zealander will join me when I say we need to look after their wellbeing at this difficult time as well.”

The service is being funded out of a $16m Workforce Wellbeing Package. It will be accessible from August 25 2021 to November 25 2021. 

Each educator can have up to three confidential one-on-one counselling sessions online, or by phone, to support them while Covid-19 restrictions are in place.

“This is in addition to any existing services that an early learning service or a school already provides to their teachers and support staff,” says Hipkins.

“Everyone has their own way of dealing with stress. Having someone to talk to – may it be your family, whānau, friends, work colleagues, or via our Employment Assistance Programme – can help. I encourage all our educators to make use of all the wellbeing resources available to them, including this new support. 

“We have overcome Covid-19 before and we can do it again. To our educators, parents and students across the country – please look after yourself, your families and each other.”

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