PPTA revolt occurring

Just as primary had a teacher organisation that headed rogue but was pulled back, secondary has one too, the PPTA executive, but not yet reined in. However, great news – from information just to hand, the PPTA is about to be provided with the opportunity to head back to good sense. But it will require its various branches to act decisively, publicly, and soon – soon so that it becomes part of the election debate.

I am now in receipt of a terrific declaration from a PPTA branch, sent to all branches – directly opposed to the PPTA executive support for the IES.

The main points set out in the declaration are:


We believe we are now in a position diametrically opposed to our sister union, NZEI, and such an opposition does nothing for the greater good of state education. We also believe that the IES proposals will not bring about the success envisaged. 

This branch believes that the real cause of disparity in educational achievement is to be found in the composition of school rolls and no effective collaboration among schools can occur until the inequity inherent in such compositions can be addressed.

[All hail, the writer of this – whose name I know – you will go down in the annals.]

1. Although PPTA assures us it sought an early collaborative approach with NZEI as the two main state unions involved in the discussions, we believe that our emphasis on policy has outweighed any real attention being given to NZEI’s legitimate concerns. 

2. PPTA should not have agreed to participate in confidential negotiations, thereby leaving its membership out in the cold.

3. This branch believes that if $359 million over four years can be found to improve educational success, then there are better ways of using the money than contained in these proposals.

4. This branch believes that the IES proposals will undermine the current working of schools by destabilising administration and teaching, through the removal of key people on an on-going basis.

5. This branch believes that the IES proposals will impact upon all current teacher workloads, not just those of the four categories of teachers envisaged under the scheme.

6. This branch recommends that PPTA should be looking at career pathways differently, to ensure the best teachers have the option of continuing to do what they do best, that is teach. Such scrutiny could involve: 

Higher teacher qualifications on entry; a more rigorous teacher selection process; the quality of training programmes; a basic career pay scale that runs for 20 years for a qualified teacher; a separate MU pay scale that offers real incentives and rewards for responsibility both in time and money for middle management.

7. This branch also recommends that PPTA look at assessing the current classroom teacher workload, reviewing NCEA; its initial objectives and form, its subsequent modifications, its impact on teacher and student workload and learning. We propose that we as a union support the position of less assessment in schools.    

So there you have it. As regular readers of this site will know, this declaration is utterly consistent with what  has been expressed in various postings. And they will be aware of the fierce but defensive arguments in response by members of the executive.

The PPTA signing of the IES has seriously harmed discussion of the education manifestos of the opposition parties (Labour, Greens, and NZ First) and what a tragedy – these manifestos in total being the best manifesto expressions, in my memory, of the needs of children and teachers – early childhood, primary, and secondary. If we go down the farcical and dangerous IES track, it will be a heart-rending loss for education.

Organisers of this declaration, get it out there – this could be huge.

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16 Responses to PPTA revolt occurring

  1. stevemouldey says:

    Interesting, I’m a branch chair but haven’t received this. Perhaps not as widespread as they hope?

  2. Kelvin says:

    Should be coming from what I am reading. You will have your contacts but give me a ring if nothing happens 0272409092

  3. philcullen says:

    Kelvin, You know my background and my devotion to primary schooling. Politically, I am totally apolitical, however. In our last two federal elections I have been forced to vote informal since I was offered no choice. Both of our major parties’ ideologies are about 10 kms. to the right of Genghis Khan, not far from George Bush and Sarah Palin.
    I’ve been looking forward to a change of government in New Zealand to show the world that it can stand up to the big boys, that it loves its children and that it cares about the continuing supremacy of its school system. I’m actually praying that your Labour Party wins….for the sake of kids around the world. Yes. The world will take notice. Please don’t disappoint me. Just think of the respect that the world will have for a country that is prepared to think seriously of the future, and, in standing up to the fat men of the world, is prepared to care for its kids.
    It is such a pity that some of your principals are too willing to trade professional ethics for political skulduggery.
    Full strength to you and those Kiwis who care about kids and their future as you do.
    Phil Cullen

  4. Kelvin says:

    Sorry my friend – it isn’t going to happen. A number of reasons, one of them being a PPTA executive that has been plain cruel. Education debate stalled because of its morally bankrupt behaviour.The pain of primary school children is on its conscience – children who needed extra and individual attention – the exec didn’t care a damn. The waste! Children just don’t get a look in in Western countries these days.

  5. Kelvin says:

    A principal writes: Just got home from public meeting where Hekia spoke. Palmerston North. Very few party faithful – mainly elderly, even less interest from general public, but those who did attend like myself were from education. All up maybe 70-80 people. She got the message again especially from secondary principals present re IES. Principal of Freyberg said his staff voted today: 150 PPTA members – all rejected it. The government’s biggest system change since Tomorrow’s Schools is a dead duck . [My comment: what lunacy is this – what utter irresponsibility – these are our children.]

  6. Austen Pageau says:


    As I have said repeatedly is does no good to attack the PPTA Exec for lacking morality when we share the same goals. The new IES programme is not a part of GERM, in fact it moves in the opposite direction, reducing competition between schools. The rest of the National Govt agenda has been driven by Treasury and involves the promotion of standardised testing leading to performance pay and increasing competition between schools through charter schools and maybe even vouchers down the line. The move towards EDUCANZ is also driven by Treasury, who are rumoured to be writing the new professional standards.

    IES however does not come from Treasury. They gave Parata much less money for new initiatives this year and my understanding is they were quite shocked when Key announced the $359 million initiative and then had to scramble to rearrange other figures. IES more likely comes from the new Secretary for Education, who is more interested in building collaboration and stepping back from the excesses of Tomorrow’s Schools. He spoke of just such hope last year. PPTA has been calling for exactly this for years now. How could the Executive flat out reject even entering into negotiations on it?

    It is unfortunate this letter has become public in this way but it has not been hidden from members in PPTA. It was discussed at the last regional meeting I went to earlier this term and all the members at that Auckland region meeting seemed satisfied with the Executive Members’ responses. It is unfortunate branches are now apparently discussing this letter in isolation as it contains many misunderstandings about what IES means. There is plenty of information available on the PPTA website to break down the confusion which has been exacerbated by the media completely misrepresenting the package and referring to super teachers and other nonsense.

    You again seem to indicate that PPTA should be taking a hard line stance against a policy we have been asking for, for years, because it could potentially help National win reelection. But changing the government cannot be the sole goal for a public sector union. We’ve got to be able to work with whoever is in power for the benefit of our members. We denounce bad policy no matter where it comes from as well. You will have see the PPTA has launched a public campaign against Act for their charter school policy. The goal is to make sure voters are aware of what they are voting for, to promote good policy and point out the bad without being partisan.

    Now as to branches voting against IES, I’m not sure what it is they are voting on exactly. The variation to the STCA is not yet complete and bargaining is ongoing so there is no package to vote on. When that variation is complete it is a requirement that members ratify it. If they choose not to then we would have to determine if further negotiations would make any difference or not. IES cannot go into our contract without member approval so Executive cannot force this on anyone.

    As for the secret working group, members were kept informed of progress and the results of the working group were presented at regional meetings and were available on the website. Collective News emails were sent to all members on the email lists informing them of this. Negotiations were only entered after feedback from members at the I&O Conference, PUMs and regional meetings. It was considered important to enter negotiations before the election especially, while our bargaining position was strongest.

  7. Kelvin says:

    Austen: Can’t you get it? the IES concept stinks. The devil is not in the detail it is in the concept. Declaring it about collaboration doesn’t make it so. The concept of the super teacher achieving marvels, Austen, is pure managerialism. IES is a unit for bureaucratic control dreamed up by a bureaucrat. I’ve seen it all before, wet-behind-the-ears temporary representatives seeing themselves as full-time Metternichs. Peter Hughes was brought in to pull the wool over your eyes – and guess what?

  8. Austen Pageau says:

    So you also think we should get rid of Specialist Classroom Teachers then? I have to tell you when I was a first year teacher I got support from the SCT in my school and it made a massive difference. The CoS roles are very nearly identical to the SCT role right down to the time allowance. They are not to be managers but to provide support. The SCT who helped me couldn’t report back to the senior management, he didn’t tell me what to do, he made suggestions, opened my eyes to strategies never taught in teachers college. This isn’t a super teacher model, it is the expansion of an existing system that works well.

    In my school we’ve been doing PD for the last couple years which involves us being placed into groups and observing each other’s teaching around specific goals and areas of concern. It isn’t part of appraisal we just give each other feedback and share what works from each in the group. It works to an extent but none of us have the time to make it really work. Having another 5 SCTs in the school with time for exactly this kind of support and advice is exactly what would help.

    If you are opposed to teachers being out of the classroom I suppose you also want HODs to be eliminated. After all they are chosen on the whim of a principal, taken out of the classroom to manage curriculum and paid more.

    The one teacher moving between schools, only one per every 50 teachers by the way, will be in a role very similar to that of Senior Subject Advisors like we used to have, a position which got positive feedback at the time and most were sorry to see discontinued. Now you can argue that these things don’t work in primary but that is an entirely different argument. Here you are making the case that PPTA Exec has betrayed its own members, that this is bad for secondary too. But aside from vague generalisations about managerialism I don’t see any specifics about how these roles will be awful when HODs and SCTs are okay.

    • Kelvin says:

      Your response Austen, from a person in education, is one of the saddest I have ever read. Read the last three sentences again Austen. Would you point me to the philosophy, the values, those paragraphs are based on? Ayn Rand.

      • Austen Pageau says:

        So, just to be clear, you don’t want to see SCTs and HODs eliminated? Is this really about IES and its merits or disadvantages, or is it expressly about defeating the National Party by any means necessary?

  9. stephen dadelus says:

    Austin won’t be swayed! He will seek out evidence that affirms his position /perspective within a like minded affinity group (have a guess which one) that shares his beliefs and values. The Ministry is full of these cliques. They tend to be white male dominated unfortunately!

    • Kelvin says:

      Oh for goodness sake Austen – if IES is about SCTs and HODs why the bureaucracy setting up around clusters? Why the context of clamping down on freedom of speech in EDUCANZ in unison with the clusters? This is the big move on primary schools, but as you say your responsibility is not to primary. Fair enough, a circumscribed morality. Very convenient, and the moment to bow out of the discussion with you.

  10. It is still up to the members to vote. It is simple as that.

  11. Ian Skipper says:

    Greetings Kelvin

    At the moment I have an unreliable computer that keeps freezing, crashing, or doesn’t want to start. Just hope this message gets to you.

    So I have not got any further with financial support idea we discussed – my apologies but I didn’t want to start something I could not properly monitor.

    Hope your daughter up north is going ok.

    I will be away 15 -20 September chasing sheep in the King Country. Cell phone reception down there is not great.

    With regard to PPTA, was talking to a member friend couple weeks back and they have not had a vote yet on their views of IES.

    Been scheduled for after election apparently.




  12. Kelvin says:

    Thanks Ian. Yes – the financial support idea can lie there for awhile. Thanks for good wishes. Get fit chasing sheep. And no – PPTA members have not voted yet – draw your own conclusions from that. All the best. Kelvin

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