A message from the pres - part one
E te whānau, ngā kaiako o Aotearoa, tēnā koutou katoa.
Greetings from Edinburgh.
As we move towards the end of our first academic term (in an election year) I thought it might be useful to report on some of the work PPTA is progressing on your behalf as well as keeping you informed about some of the important issues we’ll be facing as the year goes on.
The new Standards to replace the PTCs are being piloted this term and the Education Council is inviting feedback on these Standards and the Code of Professional Responsibility for teachers at educationcouncil.org.nz.
We’ll be keeping you posted on how the trial and consultation both evolve and how they might impact the real jobs of teachers.
The Minister of Education has received the joint PPTA/MOE Workload Working Group Report and has made the first formal acknowledgement that this is an area of concern by committing NZ to a focus on teacher wellbeing for this year at the International Summit of the Teaching Profession in Edinburgh.
Throughout the course of this year we’ll be pressing the Minister, Ministry and other agencies to take pragmatic steps to remove, or at the very least reduce, unproductive tasks that take teachers away from teaching and to work with the profession to identify the supports needed to realise our shared commitment to teacher wellbeing.
The key recommendations for rebalancing the burgeoning administrative roles that teachers now have to fulfil are outlined in the Workload Working Group Report, which has not been released by the minister yet.
We’ll be continuing to keep an eye on how Communities of Learning (CoLs) are changing the landscape for schools in New Zealand. While we see the value of collaboration in our schools replacing the disastrous competitive model of the last few decades we can’t turn a blind eye to issues that may arise – from structural difficulties in getting CoLs working together to any unintended consequences of the model.
We’ll also be seeking surety from the Minister that the money set aside for this initiative is being put to good use and we’ll be surveying our members about how it’s working so that we can continue to advocate for a model that works for teachers and kids.
The Funding Advisory Group continues to meet and we will remain focused on ensuring that a move to a more ‘needs-based’ funding system doesn’t merely rearrange the funding deck chairs and leave the question of adequacy of funding unanswered.
We will also be retaining a keen interest in how the Ministry look to address teacher shortages because while we know that improved remuneration for teaching is essential to attract more great teachers into the profession, there doesn’t seem to be the same awareness from our government.
In an election year we really want education to be a headline. However, we don’t want it to be a political football: where sound bites take the place of considered, widely discussed and universally agreed policies that are going to be good for our workforce, our kids and our society.
With so much change in both legislation and in practice our focus will be on the direction in which policy makers appear to be taking education – and we’ll be advocating for consultation – and partnership - with the sector, robust and home-grown evidence and an awareness that public education is a cornerstone of a fair and just society.
Another key focus will be on looking after the people who look after kids. A highly qualified and motivated workforce has the biggest in-school influence on educational outcomes for our students so approaches that look to undermine the value of teachers – from untrained teachers in charter schools to lack of guaranteed access to professional learning for all - will continue be resisted strongly. Schools should not be businesses; they should be public social institutions with equality of access, so all children can participate and succeed.
My sincerethanks to those of you who have contributed suggestions for inclusion in the work of PPTA for the year (and of course if you have ideas, concerns or queries please feel free to contact me).
Ngā mihi nui hoki koutou mahi.