- Last Updated: 21 June 2016
Notes from a meeting of the Secondary Principals’ Council 13 May - 1 June 2016.
Progress is slow in some regions, sometimes because primary schools are still not keen to join a community, sometimes because the minister is holding up the achievement challenges and sometimes because the regional directors are pressing schools into a direction that they don’t want to go in. SPC was not impressed that the IES Panel has been asking for copies of appraisal documents from applicants for the leadership role. This confuses formative and summative assessment processes. In all other respects the Panel seems to be doing an excellent job.
Another part of IES that needs work is the Principals Recruitment Allowance (PRA). It is not enough to simply install a principal, the school and the staff need extra support as well. At the very least, none of the PRA schools should have to undergo a surplus staffing round as that further de-stabilises the school.
2. Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement (SPCA) Bargaining
SPC was pleased to have achieved a settled agreement but somewhat concerned about future of joint bargaining with SPANZ. Negotiating to a successful settlement requires skilled and professional advocates such as PPTA employs. While it is important that members direct and monitor the process to ensure a ratifiable settlement, it is not helpful to have busy principals imagining they can do the job of a skilled and experienced advocate.
3. Education Funding review
The initial report of funding review group will be in October this year. The government has made it plain that there will be no extra funding so any new spending will have to come out of current budgets. This is a matter of some concern because the Cabinet paper on the topic has already indicated that a percentage of the overall budget will be set aside for private schools and that more funding is needed for years 4 to 6 in primary schools.
4. Professional Learning and Development (PLD)
Chris Harwood and Rose Carpenter (Ministry of Education) who are in charge of the PLD roll-out of spoke to the meeting. They were not able to confirm whether the Secondary Student Achievement contract which teachers found so helpful will continue.
5. PPTA support for principals
Yvonne Oldfield (Deputy Secretary Membership) joined the meeting to talk about PPTA support for principals, including the very successful employment courses run jointly with NZSTA and legal support for principals (providing they are in their role as an employee.) Field Officers are always willing to provide general advice to principals about the application of the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement or the Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreement.
6. Creative Commons
There was discussion about the application of copyright to resources created by teachers. The Ministry of Education says this:
New Zealand teachers don’t, as employees, hold first ownership of copyright to resources they create in the course of their employment. The 1994 Copyright Act grants first ownership to employers, which in the case of New Zealand schools is the Board of Trustees (BoT). This means that when teachers share resources that they have produced in the course of their employment, they are legally infringing the copyright held by the BoT.
This is why adopting creative commons licences is preferable. Creative Commons Aotearoa is always happy to help schools develop policies.
The report of the PPTA Workload Taskforce is now available. It confirms that all teachers and leaders are overworked but that the pressure on middle leaders is particularly acute.
8. Kiwisport NZ
Jo Colin from Sport NZ joined the group to talk about the review they are conducting around the $8.5 million which is used to support sport in the regions. She noted that only 12% of the funding gets to secondary schools and the rest goes to primary. They are concerned that too much is going into curriculum delivery in primary schools which is not the best way to meet the goal of increased participation. The regions are being asked to develop plans setting local goals, in consultation with the community.
Arona (Akona at risk of not achieving) is the title for a range of initiatives focussed on the helping the 1999 birth cohort do better at school. It includes mentoring, homework centres and ART-type programmes. It was noted that the ministry and schools are almost at the limit of what can be done to lift achievement with these sorts of programmes. A better answer is the use of mentors and the social workers in schools scheme but both these options are considerably more expensive.
10. Principals’ appraisal
The Council discussed the cottage industry that is operating around principals’ appraisal including the recent exercise by NZSTA, NZ Principals’ Federation, SPANZ and the Education Council to Align the Professional Standards and Practising Teacher Criteria (PTC) through Tātaiako. The result is there are now 66 standards.
Secondary Principals performance agreement (Document on NZSTA website)
11. Numeracy and Literacy Standards
Bruce Hart attended the Secondary Qualifications Advisory Group (SQAG) where there was discussion about the disparity between NCEA and OECD benchmarks for literacy and numeracy. The response has been an investigation of the range of issues around measuring progress with numeracy and literacy in schools, including consideration of how to better define student progress and whether the existing literacy and numeracy achievement standards are the best fit.
12. NZCER Survey of Secondary Schools
Cathy Wylie from NZCER joined the group to discuss the findings of the latest NZCER survey of secondary schools.
What has improved?
- Behaviour - Cathy thought this might be attributable to the hui taumata in 2009 and the introduction of PB4L;
- Digital access has improved;
- Teachers appear happier in comparison to the 2012 data which was collected during the curriculum alignment process;
- More parents felt positive about consultation though understanding qualifications is still an issue;
- Teachers were more positive about PLD - despite the failure of ministry provision –perhaps this reflects more sharing?
- All but 7% of kids are going to the school they wanted to go to.
Principals’ views of their achievements:
- Most felt positive about building a school culture of leadership;
- They felt there was more inclusion; and
- That extra-curricular was working better.
- Finances were more stable – partly this is achieved by shifting the cost to parents (eg BYOD);
- 20% of parents say that their kids can’t afford to do things that the school offers ( but this may include overseas trips).
- Competition between schools has increased - Enrolment zones are more problematic. ( As an aside Cathy noted that it’s unlikely that PISA results will be better in the next round);
- The problems of low decile inequality are threaded through the report
- NCEA has taken over the curriculum – there is still a motivation problem (NZCER is doing more work on this including the 85% target)
- There is a huge workload in high decile schools – driven by credit accumulation
- Work 66 hours a week average;
- Have high stress levels;
- Morale has slipped – only 33% say it’s good - down from 45% in 2012;
- Levels of optimism have gone down;
- More schools are reporting they have had three or more principals in a year (30%);
- 13% of teachers say they would like to be a principal in comparison with 19% in 2012;
- There is a lack of support for principals and for developing leaders
Thursday 18th, Friday 19th of August