18 May 2005
Budget: more teachers, PD and funding
PPTA wants this year’s Budget to deliver more staffing for schools, professional development for teachers across all levels of the NCEA, and operations funding that reflects the real costs of curriculum delivery.
The Association’s junior vice-president Robin Duff said the Government needed to ensure that the public education system was adequately resourced for teachers to deliver the best quality education to their students.
In the secondary sector, that meant more teachers for schools to cope with the NCEA, which was driving curriculum expansion and ushering in a change to more individualised learning, increasing teacher workloads and placing increasing strain on teacher effectiveness.
“Many teachers believe their high levels of workload undermine the quality of their teaching, so if we really want to maximise the benefit of NCEA for students we need to reduce class sizes and enable teachers to engage with students in the kind of one to one learning that the NCEA promotes.
“As a first step in enabling that to happen, we would like the Government to implement the final steps of Staffing Review Group (SRG) staffing as soon as possible, as well as extra staffing for middle management positions.”
He said the Association also wanted to see urgent action on the recommendations of PPTA’s research report Teachers talk about NCEA, including:
Two professional development days across all levels of the NCEA, not just scholarship; An enhanced external moderation service staffed by secondary teachers; Commitment to address the time requirements of NCEA through the Teacher Workload working party, and An increase in the operations grants of secondary and area schools to recognise the continuing financial impact on schools of NCEA assessment.
“The two professional development days for Scholarship are a good start”, Mr Duff said, “but we hope the Minister will look at offering further opportunities for teachers at all levels of the NCEA to improve their practice, as the Ministry provided from 2001-2004 with NCEA jumbo days.”
He said moderation was also a major concern for teachers and needed to be urgently addressed. “The current model of using practising teachers to work as moderators in their spare time simply isn’t working.
“Teachers dislike the faceless nature of moderators, they want to meet them and be able to discuss work with them so they can better understand their decisions.”
He also said that although the Government had increased operational funding beyond the level of general inflation, PPTA research showed that the extra costs imposed on schools were still outstripping those funding increases and were forcing schools to charge parents more through activity fees and school donations.
“There needs to be a major review of education funding and more substantially a review of the extra costs that schools have had to cope with in the last few years,’ he said.