24 November 2005
PPTA releases briefing papers
More support for NCEA, the need for smaller class sizes, help for secondary schools to recruit and retain technology teachers and insufficient operations funding are among the key issues raised in PPTA’s briefing papers to the new government.
PPTA president Debbie Te Whaiti said the briefing papers confirmed the Association’s belief that the education system was generally on the right track.
“Teachers are making huge efforts to use the full potential of the NCEA system to benefit the diverse student population encountered in New Zealand secondary schools.
“Despite NCEA implementation problems, the majority of teachers have no desire to return to norm referencing and are committed to making the system work.”
However, Te Whaiti said the papers still highlighted areas to be addressed: NCEA with its expectation of individually tailored courses for students put pressure on class sizes and on teacher workload, and the need for ongoing teacher professional development.
PPTA’s proposal to develop an assessment advisory service to provide additional support to teachers was still moving slowly through Ministry processes, despite the considerable benefits if it were piloted from the start of 2006.
In other areas, the papers note the need to train more technology teachers because many have left the service through retirement or to take jobs in the trades.
“There are very few students training to be technology teachers, partly because of the wider skills shortage in New Zealand but also because the salary scale no longer caters for them. The providers are becoming disinclined to continue to offer courses for Technology.”
The papers express PPTA’s concern over the level of the operations grant and the Association’s belief there is potential for some elements of the grant – funding for librarians’ salaries, and for ICT – to return to centralised funding.
“The return to central purchasing of ICT hardware and software and central assistance with network infrastructure is of great financial help to schools because ICT has been a significant drain on the operations grant.”
The papers also report on slow progress in the work streams set up under the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement.
“This is of concern because the work streams underpin the new process of long-term planning and improvement so it is important for all sides to be able to demonstrate that this alternative process can produce a steady stream of outcomes between industrial rounds.
“PPTA is also concerned at the inefficiency of seemingly endless unproductive meetings.”