25 August 2005
PPTA welcomes future-focused schools policy
Labour’s schools policy emphasises the importance of a well-funded public education system as the key delivering the best possible learning opportunities for all young New Zealanders, PPTA general secretary Kevin Bunker said today.
He said the Association supported, and was currently undertaking through a series of work streams, work on developing ongoing professional learning, new career pathways and paid sabbaticals for teachers.
It also supported moves to improve the rigour of teacher education and, with regard to NCEA, enhance the moderation service and improve the rocky relationship between NZQA and teachers.
Bunker said it was also pleasing the party was committed to developing solutions to address the extra workload inherent in NCEA assessment, which many teachers felt was constraining the quality of their teaching.
“PPTA has asked the minister to draw NZQA’s attention to the secondary teacher workload report which demonstrates the huge challenges that schools have faced in implementing the NCEA, and to develop a plan to reduce the NCEA workload for teachers.”
Bunker said secondary teachers were also likely to support Labour’s commitments to reduce the burden of compliance on schools, investigate the adequacy of schools’ operations funding, and lessen the reliance on offering funding in contestable pools in favour of a system based on need.
In addition, its commitment to implement the remaining recommendations of the School Staffing Review Group (SRG) - including those for additional management time and staffing to reduce class size was also significant.
“Though the move to reduce class sizes for new entrants is a good one, striving for smaller classes at the secondary level is also important.
“According to PPTA research, secondary teachers perceive that more than a third of their classes are too large – either for the physical space, the teaching methodologies or for the practical nature of the subject
“Large classes mean teachers have too little time to provide the appropriate level of individual attention for students.
“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.”