Confirming Staff In New Schools - The Key To Success
“Now that final announcements on area reviews of schools are being made school staff can get on with the enormous job of making the school reorganisations work so that students continue to receive a quality education when the new schools open next year,” says NZEI National President Colin Tarr.
NZEI Te Riu Roa represents teachers and principals in primary, intermediate and area schools and support staff in both primary and secondary schools.
Late last week Education Minister Trevor Mallard made several final announcements on changes to schooling provision in areas affected by the area review policy. Announcements on the future of schooling in Invercargill, Stokes Valley, Wairoa and Northland are still being considered.
“NZEI is disappointed the Minister has announced closures of several schools rather than using the merger process,” says NZEI Te Riu Roa, National President, Colin Tarr.
“Despite strong representations that merger is the surest way of retaining knowledgeable and skilled staff for the new schools Mr Mallard has still chosen to close several schools. This runs the risk of losing staff who know the students and their learning needs.”
“NZEI is also disappointed that the Minister has chosen to close South Canterbury’s only intermediate school taking away that schooling option for the parents in the area.”
However the risks inherent in the announced changes have been eased by the negotiation of variations to collective employment agreements covering NZEI members working as teachers, principals, and support staff. These variations still need to be ratified by these staff but once in place they will provide staffing processes that must be followed when school reviews and reorganisations occur.
NZEI appreciates that Government support enabled these variations to be negotiated ahead of the Minister’s final announcements on the current school reviews.
“The variations will provide some certainty for school staff involved in reorganisations. They will provide both employers and employees with fair, just and transparent processes so that staff can be confirmed in positions, or provided with other suitable options, as soon as possible in the change period. This is a vital in ensuring the success of the new schools.”
NZEI field officers will be going to
the affected schools in the first weeks of the new school
term to explain the processes and options available to staff
in the variations and to provide support. “The area
reviews have caused huge amount of stress and uncertainty
for school staff, students, board members and parents. It is
to staff members great credit they have continued to provide
settled learning programmes for their students. Their
professionalism and strong commitment to their students will
ensure they continue to provide effective learning
environments for the children in the new schools,” says