Meet our Support Staff....

By Fiona Stenning | Posted: Monday November 11, 2019

We will introduce our NZEI Support staff members each day this week. We are currently working towards both a collective agreement settlement for all support staff and a pay equity settlement for teacher aides, with pay equity claims for other support staff roles.

The current "Living Wage" is $21.15, 72% of teacher aides country wide are on  Grade B which ranges from $17.70 - $20.69.

As support staff, we each have our own personal stories from our work. It's those real stories that we want to share with you! 

Fiona Stenning 

I’ve worked two and a half years at Oamaru Intermediate school, as well as 3 years at a previous school. Prior to joining OIS I worked as a registered counsellor in Timaru for Family Works as well as private practice in Oamaru. 

While seeking a change in work due to family commitments I opted to teacher aide due to my passion to support and advocate for children, preteens and teens in a supportive environment.

I fully support NZEI gaining central funding from Government for all support staff as I have been privileged enough to work alongside a very multi-talented, highly qualified team. Many have tertiary level qualifications and experience with bucket loads of empathy, energy and intuition that all OIS students and staff benefit from. This is no ordinary team, which we need the Government to value with a living wage as a bottom line at least.

My role at OIS involves:

  • Working closely supporting students with varied health and education needs to moderate to complex needs.

  • Writing social stories with students if helpful.

  • Daily meet with a student to set-up their planner for in class and out of class activities.

  • Support the SENCO teacher if students are unsettled requiring extra support. Can include written and verbal updates for reports.

  • Work as classroom support in four different classrooms in reading, writing, maths and science. As well as tech support when required. (Art/Cooking/Sewing/Woodwork).

  • Facilitate the Well Being Core Education course for teacher aides at weekly meetings if required. Includes teaching mindfulness tools for students and staff.

  • Support some Teacher Aide’s in wellbeing plans for specific students.

  • Attend and feed into Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) where appropriate with classroom teacher, SENCO Teacher and Educational Psychologist.


Design/write and deliver a wellbeing module for small groups of students. Teaching contemporary useful tools to identify and manage strong emotions in a modern world. Includes looking at Stan Walker, Mike King, singer Adele’s and Sir Winston Churchills struggles and triumps in life. As well as learning a variety of relaxation and mindfulness tools. Also offering check-ins to see if tools are working and if extra outside support is desired by student/family. Drawing on skills gained in Community & Family Studies degree and Diploma in counselling.

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