PPTA President

Image Angela Roberts PPTA president 2013-2014

News and views from PPTA president Angela Roberts.

Includes the PPTA News viewpoint and his responses to various education issues raised in the media.

(Angela began her presidency mid January 2013)



Govt offer worth a peek - Investing in Educational Success

PPTA president Angela Roberts discusses PPTA's cautious support for the government's Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative.

Govt offer worth a peek

As president of PPTA I am used to having my honesty, motives and intelligence questioned — it goes with the territory. Recently I’ve been charged with being a “sell out”, “naïve” and of “dithering” because I’ve expressed PPTA’s initial support for the National Party’s $359 million investment in teaching and learning.

There’s nothing naïve about it.

We’ve long called for greater support for classroom teachers and the further development of career pathways. We’re the source of the Specialist Classroom Teacher positions (SCTs) and the Senior Subject Advisors (SSAs) that the proposed new positions of lead and expert teacher closely emulate.

We’ve also been severely critical of the competitive side of Tomorrow’s Schools. In our view it’s discouraged sharing of good practice, fuelled the socio-economic polarisation of schools and invited the manipulation of school rolls in order to draw in top-performing students and to keep out those who need more support. Cooperation cannot be legally coerced. It can only come through professional commitment and the development of trusting relationships.

The proposal is that executive principals and expert teachers will be charged with building networks of support and collaboration. This will be difficult given past practice and current structures, but systemic change to discourage competitive behaviour is an idea worth pursuing.

It would’ve been nothing short of hypocritical for PPTA to have rejected proposals that attempt to address our concerns simply because they have come from an unexpected place — particularly when they come with significant funding attached and a willingness to engage about the approach and the process.

There are those who feel that the leopard can never change its spots and that regardless of the surface intent, the outcome will be performance pay and privatisation. If that were the agenda, this is not the way to achieve it. If the goal was privatisation there would be no point in setting up an entirely sector-based working group to oversee the process, and the implementation would be via private tendering (like the charter schools) and not by way of variation to the collective agreements.