Mangawhai Beach School,
34 Insley Street,
Friday 5th September 2014
Attention; Tracey Martin
Teachers and principals of New Zealand voted to reject the government’s Investing in Educational Success policy.
I would like to reiterate as a collective, our entire staff voted against the implementation of IES and also voted against any negotiations of a counter claim.
In January the government announced the implementation of “Investing in Education Success” aimed at raising the quality of teaching to improve student achievement, backed by $359 million of new funding over four years. The policy proposed that all primary and secondary schools would be grouped into clusters of about 10 schools, with each cluster led by an Executive Principal from one of the schools, who would be paid an extra $40,000 a year and work two days a week across the cluster. About 1000 Expert Teachers would receive an extra $20,000 a year and spend two days a week out of their own classroom while they mentored other teachers across the cluster. About 5000 Lead Teachers would be role models to teachers within their cluster. This new policy was not discussed with the people who do the job.
We have always have been strongly opposed to the spending of money in this was. Teachers at our school and across our Nation cannot see a direct benefit for our students from this policy. Teachers have a number of concerns, but the key issues are:
1) Teachers want the money to go to much-needed front-line resources for students,not into another tier of management.
2) The relationship and continuity of learning between primary students and their teachers is very important for effective learning. Taking an Expert Teacher out of their classroom for 40 per cent of the time, to be replaced by relievers, would have a negative effect on students’ learning.
3) This policy proposes a radical shift in schooling through a top-down one-size-fits all model, without any consultation with schools or parents. It will impact on the role of boards of trustees, school/community relationships, teaching practice and the autonomy of individual schools, and will end up being a huge distraction from student learning.
Our union, NZEI Te Riu Roa, has consulted with teachers and parents about what they think would be the most effective way to spend an extra $359 million for the benefit of our children’s education.
It is for the government to decide whether it will try to impose the policy by offering large sums of money to those few teachers and principals who wish to apply for the new roles and create “Communities of Schools” where schools are unwilling. If the IES becomes mandatory, we would lose some autonomy in how we run the school, as some decisions would be made at a “Community of Schools” level which leaves the role of the Board of Trustees in question. The greatest impact on our children would likely be if their teacher was selected as an “expert teacher” and was replaced by a reliever for two days every week. While the release time is discretionary, it is the equivalent of 0.4 a week. Please note that the expert teacher role is not a career pathway. Teachers will only be allowed to enter a contract for two to three years.
It is our hope that the government will start afresh by listening to parents and teachers about how best to spend $359 million for the benefit of our children. The PPTA have chosen to enter negotiations as they are motivated by the proposal. Please note the PPTA and NZEI have never worked together and this is another example of the government pushing a “one size fits all” model. Who is to say the “expert” teacher might be a secondary teacher or of the “expert” principal might have never taught in a school? The concept of school communities has been around for a long time but we maintain there is no need to invest this much money into another management tier in education.
We are greatly disturbed by the comments of Mike Hosking, who on Seven Sharp post the vote, attacked teachers, parents and principals by saying that “people didn't get somewhere by saying NO”. His attack was unfounded and misinformed. His perception of this issue is teachers and principals who are good at their jobs should get paid more and through IES they will. We conclude this is not the truth. We think it is appalling that our parents and society are not being informed of the truth and the facts.
For the sake of our children, we the undersigned, truly hope for the government to stop and listen to us as we have a far better plan!
We would be happy to discuss any of these issues, please do not hesitate in asking.
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