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Phil Smith takes up presidency

Phil Smith takes up presidency

The worsening crisis in secondary teacher staffing is one of the major challenges for Phil Smith who today took up his position as PPTA president.

Mr Smith replaces Jen McCutcheon who becomes the association’s senior vice president.

“I look forward to contributing to the staffing debate to ensure the views of secondary teachers are properly articulated,” Mr Smith said.

“The recruitment, retention and workload issues in the secondary sector need to be looked at in depth, and can only be resolved with long term solutions which take into account the reality that New Zealand is part of a global education market.”

Mr Smith believed the impact of the General Agreement on Trade in Services on public education, the related issue of export education and the pay and conditions of secondary teachers would present major challenges during his presidency.

“We’ve come some way with the settlement of the collective agreement last year, however, much more needs to be done to ensure secondary teachers work in a robust, well-resourced public sector and in an environment in which their professionalism is respected.”

Another key challenge for PPTA was to re-establish the importance of professional issues following the protracted industrial dispute.

“We need to re-energise PPTA’s role in articulating professional issues such as the new curriculum and the NCEA.

Mr Smith has experience at all levels of the association. A member since 1971, by 1978 he was branch secretary at Pukekohe High School. He moved to James Hargest High School in Invercargill in 1988 – where he is currently head of history - and became its branch chair, as well as Southland regional secretary, in 1993. He has been a member of the PPTA executive since 1996.

“I have done the hard yards in the organisation and have a good understanding of how it works at all levels.”

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