4 Jun 2019

Teachers' strike: Year nine students not taught today

5:31 am on 4 June 2019

Thousands of year nine pupils are expected to miss school today as secondary teachers start their five weeks of industrial action.

Generic child image.

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

Members of the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) will refuse to teach one year group of students each Tuesday for four weeks, starting with year nine students today.

They will also hold a week of rolling one-day regional strikes, starting with Auckland and Northland on 17 June and finishing with Wellington on 21 June.

Late last week, the Education Minister Chris Hipkins called a forum with the teacher unions, the New Zealand Educational Institute and PPTA, to resolve what he called an impasse over pay and conditions.

The talks are set down for Thursday 6 June.

None of the parties involved will talk to the media this week.

Secondary Principals' Association New Zealand is not involved with the strike action or the meeting.

Its president Deirdre Shea said most year nine students were not expected to attend school today, although she said it was likely some of the grade's students would turn up.

If some of them did turn up, she believed most schools would have some provision to look after them.

Ms Shea said the strike action was likely to cause disruptions to the students and their parents, "that obviously creates some real concerns" for looking after the children.

Ms Shea said secondary principals represented a broad church and held a variety of views on the strikes, although she said there was a genuine understanding that the profession had real issues with recruitment and retention of quality teachers.

"There's obviously very strong feeling with regard to members of the PPTA and the secondary sector, and that feeling is certainly well understood."

Ms Shea said she did not have any detail of the meeting between the minister and the unions, but said it would be a good day for everybody involved if the meeting could resolve the need for industrial action.

"I'm ever hopeful that something can come out of this," Ms Shea said of Thursday's forum.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs