At the end of term three, the Ministry of Education sends a letter out to schools with “provisional staffing” numbers - that is the number of teachers and units that it will fund in that school next year.
In basic terms, if student numbers have dropped in the past year, or the projected numbers for Year 9 coming in the next year are expected to be lower than usual, then your school might be told it needs to lose teaching staff. The reduction of teaching staff is commonly expressed as full-time teacher equivalents (FTTEs).
Where the FTTE requiring reduction is more that 1.0 (that is, a whole teaching position) the employer has to follow the procedures set out in 3.9 and Appendix H of the Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement (STCA), or 2.13 and Appendix 5 of the Area School Teachers' Collective Agreement (ASTCA).
Keep in touch with your PPTA field officer
Surplus staffing often causes anxiety among members so it is very important that the branch stays in touch with the field officer for the school for advice about the process and options available.
Three step process
The reduction of staff requires a three step process. First the employer is expected to try to meet the FTTE reduction by “attrition”. This means that if the reduction is small and there have been (for example) resignations or retirements in the school, the process may stop at this point.
Where a school is unable to meet reductions at the attrition stage, the employer then moves to the second step: calling for volunteers from the teaching staff. Anyone who is considering volunteering should speak with their PPTA field officer to check that they understand the options that are available. The employer has the final say over whether to accept a voluntary offer or not, dependent on curriculum and pastoral needs.
If attrition and voluntary offers are insufficient to meet the reduction needed then the school will need to hold a CAPNA meeting. This is the third and final step of the process. The employer in consultation with staff prepares a curriculum and pastoral needs analysis (CAPNA), which assists the employer to make decisions on which position/s and/or unit/s need to be disestablished based on objective grounds. PPTA has a surplus staffing nominee present at the meeting to make sure the process is correctly followed. The nominee is not a decision maker.
The surplus staffing meeting is in two parts. The first part is to make provisional decisions. The meeting is then adjourned to give affected teachers the opportunity to seek advice and make submissions. The meeting is then reconvened and the second part of the meeting is to consider any new information and make final decisions.
If your school is facing a surplus staffing situation we strongly advise that you contact your local PPTA field office for advice.