24 May 2006
Funding boost for secondary education
PPTA is welcoming the Government’s commitment to provide additional funding for a range of initiatives aimed at addressing barriers to recruiting and retaining secondary teachers.
The initiatives include senior subject advisers for schools, workload relief for heads of department (HODs) with beginning teachers, and a new G3 diploma. There is also a medical retirement provision that will assist teachers unable to return to teaching because of serious illness to exit the profession with dignity and for schools to appoint a replacement sooner.
PPTA president Te Whaiti said senior subject advisers would provide a valuable resource for teachers around assessment, helping to build their confidence and expertise. “Our research tells us teachers want this support from other practising teachers who are experts in assessment.”
She said workload relief for HODs with beginning teachers was also significant for two reasons. Research showed HODs were overworked, particularly since NCEA, while ERO reports suggested the level of support and guidance for beginning teachers varied. Ultimately, Te Whaiti hoped that all HODs would receive some form of workload relief, as recommended by the Staffing Review Group in 2001.
The new G3 diploma would bring some closure for teachers with ‘degree-equivalent’ qualifications and the majority of G1 and G2 unit holders* who have been barred from the top step of the secondary teachers salary scale since an ADR panel decision in 2002. About 950 teachers completed the original G3 diploma last year.
“Many of these teachers are in areas such as maths, science, computing and technology in which secondary schools have really struggled to recruit and retain enough teachers,” Te Whaiti said.
The initiatives stem from the longer-term work plan of the 2004 Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (STCA) and are aimed at addressing barriers to effective teaching, recruitment and retention.
They follow more than a year of work stream meetings between PPTA, the Ministry of Education and School Trustees Association. The work is focused around workload, career pathways, teacher professional development, staffing, qualifications and work environment.
Te Whaiti said the new initiatives showed that incremental improvements for secondary teachers could be made outside the traditional bargaining process.
“The 2003 Ministerial Taskforce on Secondary Teacher Remuneration said there had to be a better way of working to ensure a supply of high quality and appropriately qualified secondary teachers.
“This is a better way but it requires genuine, open and ongoing commitment from all parties to ensure it yields the gains that will benefit secondary education.”