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Principals strangled in red tape war with Ministry

Anne Tolley MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

19 March 2008

Principals strangled in red tape war with Ministry

School principals are so fed up with increased compliance demands and bureaucratic bungling from the Ministry of Education that they say the core job of teaching is being affected, says National’s Education spokeswoman, Anne Tolley.

“Principals are at their wits’ end. School administration staff are now required to wage a paper war in order to just record the movements and salaries of teaching staff.

“There are now 28 forms relating to staff hours, appointments, leave entitlements and pay. The situation is so bad that, in some cases, teachers’ salaries are being delayed while the mountain of paperwork is dealt with.

“One principal who heads a school of just 100 pupils, has two staff who are unpaid, despite the correct forms being lodged; another who is still bulk-funded despite the Ministry being advised at the beginning of the year; another who is being paid for one unit instead of two; and two OSCAR ladies who have been overpaid.

“He writes in frustration that ‘after dozens of faxes, phone calls, reporting back and explaining to staff the issues, the whole sorry process starts again tomorrow!’

“Another writes that ‘Where before we would fax off a sentence with a change of hours, for instance, now we have to wade through a whole complicated form which inevitably has a small box not filled in, or filled in incorrectly which we then have to redo.’

“This is just another example of how Labour has grown the bureaucracy to a point where it is seriously impacting on everyday lives. Schools need to concentrate on teaching, not unnecessary and laborious form-filling.

“No one expects schools to ignore good processes or be negligent in their ability to account for staff appointments and wages, but as one principal said about the current avalanche of paperwork ‘this is beyond a joke’.

ENDS

Attached: List of ESP forms [pdf]

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