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Posted by on in Education

It can be assumed that Roger Partridge attended school, ergo he is an educational expert.

But, in this exclusive we can reveal that he is actually… a superhero; able to ‘fix’ education with a single rant.

A global budget (which Principals, teachers, parents, Boards and support staff oppose) is actually about ‘innovation’. Bif! 

Having less money in schools for the very people who provide additional support for our most needy such as Teacher Aides and ultimately fewer teachers so that every kid can have an iPad instead will improve outcomes. Bang!


Having bigger classes because of a reduction in staffing to pay for other things will enable higher accountability and lift teaching quality. Pow! 

Alongside such socially minded vigilantism, Mr Partridge also gets time to read. 

Hattie’s research (which was trotted out in 2012 when removing a minimum number of guaranteed trained staff in schools and maximum class sizes was last attempted by the Neo-Liberal warriors) does claim that high quality teaching has a significant impact on educational outcomes- it’s kind of a no-brainer but researchers are good at repackaging those and ideologues good at paraphrasing them. However, as far as I’m aware that research did not correlate increased accountability measures, performance pay and larger class sizes with improved outcomes…. (Don’t worry Roger, you’re not the first to take liberties with Hattie’s research to substantiate your own reckons and despite the more nuanced films of the 2000’s we still don’t expect our superheroes to use brains over brute force every time!).

Nevertheless, the plots to narratives in this oeuvre do often find the hero enmeshed in traps due to their relative lack of intellect compared to the man on the street, adding tension to the final showdown. As such, pointing out that Hattie’s meta-analysis also found that feedback was critical to improvement for learners may be a bit beyond you- let’s give it a shot: what is the likelihood that feedback will suffer if there are ever more sardines in the classroom tin or teachers are even more busy than currently, filling out forms to meet accountability measures? 

Perhaps Superheroes can do maths too? Don’t worry if you can’t, modern day avengers don’t need to get bogged down with such detail as they leap several ironies in a single bound.

What the masses needs is a superhero. Cape flowing, undies on the outside, muscles rippling and an unequivocal focus on doing what’s right. A warrior who knows who the enemy is and will stop at nothing til they are brought down – and Mr Partridge knows who the enemy is:

Those nasty unions (who advocate for improved funding so teachers don’t have to buy kids lunches and books, so fees for ‘free’ education don’t have to skyrocket, so the kids who need extra support don’t have to miss out if the school hasn’t got enough in their pot or their families can’t afford it, those terrible unions who have advocated for PLD so that teachers can be the best they can be, who have the audacity to desire stable and healthy working conditions, those ne’er-do-wells who are anti progressive despite making the current government’s flagship Communities of Learning policy workable rather than an ideological carpet bomb) - it’s all their fault.

With the vision and power of your eponymous namesake, those low quality and protectionist teachers will be no match for “a partridge in their pedagogy.”


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I am  surprised at the comments made by some Principals over recent days. I have sat on a cross sector Health and Safety Forum that was formed on 9 December 2014 and has met regularly since.

Every agency involved in any aspect of education in NZ has been represented. This group has cooperated, debated, argued and resolved issues that suddenly have reared their heads again.

The liability and ability to sue individual teachers and principals has been around since the 1992 Health and Safety in Employment Act was passed and continues through various amendments until the present day.

These fines were for failure to provide duty of care and gross negligence and where serious harm was caused, as such nothing much has changed.

1992 penalties

(a) imprisonment for a term of not more than 2 years; or
(b) a fine of not more than $500,000; or
(c) both.


a fine not exceeding $250,000, who fails to comply with the requirements of……….


Every person who fails to comply with section 16(3) commits an offence, and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000.

So what has changed?

2015 penalties

The Act creates three offence tiers relating to breaches of the health and safety duties. The offences and the respective maximum penalties can be summarised as follows:

Reckless Conduct (has a duty and exposes any person to whom the duty is owed to risk of death or serious injury/illness and is reckless as to that risk) – fines up to $3 million
(or $600,000 and/or up to five years’ imprisonment for individuals).

Failure to comply with a Duty (with exposure to risk of death or serious injury/illness) –
fines up to $1.5 million (or $300,000 for individuals).

Failure to comply with a Duty (no exposure to death or serious injury/illness) – fines up to $500,000
(or $100,000 for individuals).

So let me see prior to the new act fines of up to $500,000 caused no issues ($500k is approx. $808K now) but $600,000 now is a problem? That means individual houses have to be put in trust?


Who is kidding who?

The new law clarifies and tightens up lines of responsibility and that post Pike River is a good thing but in order to qualify for these fines you must have done something reasonably (extremely) bad.

Today saw the launch of a health and safety practical guide for boards of trustees and school leaders. The guide provides clear explanations, example policies, procedures and checklists. The Ministry have also separated out the individual tools and put write enabled versions under the appropriate sections on the webspace.

The dual NZSTA and Ministry resource, the guide has been peer reviewed by over 80 schools and the Health and Safety Sector Reference Group, (the forum) made up of your principal associations, PPTA, NZEI and NZSTA. NZSTA have also committed to printing and sending all schools a copy of this guide.

To ensure a positive health and safety culture, as well as compliance, at all workplaces the general expectation is that schools will review their practices in this area to ensure they are meeting the requirements. Our practical guide and factsheets will support principals and boards to meet their obligations.

As the forum have said all along, if you have sound robust current systems then you have nothing to worry about. Do ensure that you get feedback from your organisation representative at the very informative forum.

If you are a PPTA member get the latest updates by contacting us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Posted by on in Education

Whatever your obsession, the fixation you have
- that you know will/can fix the world,
- or the nation (if you are a politician),
- or just that wayward kid of yours.

Have we got the soapbox for you - SCHOOLS - the perfect platform on which to load the responsibility for your great idea.
An education for the 21st century means teaching coding in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching financial literacy in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching Mandarin in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching human relationships in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching swimming in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching work skills in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching parenting skills in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching cooking in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching manners in schools.

An education for the 21st century means teaching .............. in schools.

When you get a little tired of fixing the world and need something a little more satisfying than the soapbox - try this:

The New Zealand Curriculum

NZ curriculum - tki website

Oh and you might want to visit your local school - find out what they do, and how you can support your school community?
It might be a whole lot more satisfying, and healthier, than an obsession belted out from a soapbox.


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Posted by on in Teaching Profession

What teachers do

Nearly everyone has been to school so nearly everyone is an expert on schools and expert on the subject of  teachers and teaching.

So they say.

And while we grump about that saying and love Taylor Mali for his rebuttal  - we just sigh and flip the page or move on from the person trying to “bait the teacher.”  

It is incredibly important that we start and join conversations about our schools – about teaching and learning - and that we start doing this right away. 

We must not assume that people know what our secondary schools do. 

We must identify the strengths of our local secondary schools. 

We must identify the strengths of our teachers and of our students.

We should know the whakapapa of our school.

We should be able to explain how important our school  is to our community and explain what secondary schools do. 

We must be able to explain about teacher training – why teachers are expert in their fields and why they are expert in understanding how learning happens.

We must know what teacher registration requires and what it means.

We should also be clear that being expert in a subject isn't enough, caring about children isn't enough – you need to be a qualified teacher to be teaching our tamariki in our schools every day.

We should be uncompromising on the subject of teaching as a profession - and that we have the absolute right to be treated as trusted  and respected professionals.

We should expect no less for our students.

We should expect no less a valuing of our own work as secondary teachers. 

Leave no room for myths and anecdote, no longer remain silent, amenable and imply consent. Then we will see what value the government places on teachers, students, teaching and learning.


(with thanks to Edward Berger for his post "Saving community schools" http://edwardfberger.com/)


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