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Non-contacts essential to address workload

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Media Release - 25 November 2003

Non-contacts essential to address workload

Increasing teacher non-contact time is essential to improving recruitment and retention of secondary teachers and quality education delivery to students, PPTA president Phil Smith said today.

“It is disappointing that some principals and even the Education Minister do not appear to understand the huge workload stresses that secondary teachers are under,” he said.

“The non-contact time is for those duties which arise from classroom teaching – reflection, planning, professional contact with colleagues, counselling and pastoral care – which have to be addressed during the school day.

“We saw what happened last year when teachers had to cope with the under-resourcing of NCEA level 1. Teachers fear that next year with three levels of NCEA things will be even worse.”

Mr Smith said most schools were implementing the minimum three non-contact hours this year, many were already offering teachers next year’s entitlement of four non-contact hours and some were even offering the 2005 entitlement of five hours.

“Our audit of secondary schools (see attached) from the middle of this year indicates that the majority are already successfully implementing the non-contact provisions.

“Schools that are struggling to implement the non-contacts need to talk to those schools which are leading the way and which have shown a willingness to look at the time available in the school day and alter their timetables accordingly.”

Mr Smith also said additional staffing to resource the non-contact provisions was being provided through the Staffing Review Group recommendations. However, he called on the Minister to implement the remaining secondary staffing steps as soon as possible.

“Even with the extra non-contact time provided through the secondary teachers’ collective agreement, teachers are still coping with burgeoning workloads associated with delivering two levels of NCEA this year, and three levels next year.

“Our ability to recruit and retain quality teachers in secondary schools is correlated to teacher workload and working conditions, which the non-contact provisions are designed to improve,” he said.

“Ultimately, teachers’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions”.

Ends

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