21 Nov 2014

Secondary teachers back Govt pay plan

5:04 pm on 21 November 2014

The secondary teachers' union says the Government's flagship education policy could fundamentally change the school system and it is critical primary teachers get on board with it.

The Post Primary Teachers Association said 80 percent of its members in favour of including thousands of high-paid new teaching jobs created by the policy in their collective agreement. It would see some teachers and principals appointed to help groups of schools.

The union said the scheme, Investing in Educational Success, would do more than pay some teachers more and is a fundamental push against competition created by having individually-governed schools for the past 25 years.

It said it is critical that primary school teachers include the scheme in their collective agreement in order to ensure schools get the most out of the policy.

PPTA president Angela Roberts told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme today the scheme would help schools work together, creating a fundamental push against the competition that dogs the system.

"The first challenge that we have with this new model is that it really pushes against the competitive culture that has built up over decades since the start of Tomorrow's Schools. So the first thing that a community has to do, is it has to learn how to share its challenges.

"We've got an opportunity to start pushing back against the competitive culture that's in our schools and we've got an opportunity to start building practitioner-led collaboration and innovation. So, the idea isn't a bad one."

Ms Roberts said cooperation was definitely effective than competition at raising students' achievement.

The jobs pay teachers an extra $8000 a year to act as mentors within their own school, and $16,000 to do the work across groups of about ten schools.

The vote is significant because members of the primary school staff union, the NZEI, voted strongly against the policy earlier this year.

Ms Roberts said primary teachers should also vote in favour of including the roles in their collective agreement. But the NZEI said it still opposed the policy and wanted to work on alternatives.

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