Promise to new teachers
The Promise to New Teachers was first developed in 2017 by the Establishing Teachers’ Committee, at a time when 77% of new teachers were employed on temporary contracts. The number of new teachers in temporary contracts has decreased to 61% in 2019, which is a good start, but the problem is by no means “fixed now”. The other issues frequently experienced by new teachers remain as relevant as they ever were.
The Promise to New Teachers is a way for Boards of Trustees, principals and school communities to show responsibility for the future of the profession. By signing this promise your school community demonstrates a shared mutual commitment to new teachers in your school.
Taking responsibility for the profession - make it happen
If you want your school to sign up to The Promise to New Teachers here’s how you can make it happen.
- Talk to your PPTA branch chair about The Promise and why you should sign up. Offer to help them to arrange a branch meeting to discuss the issue. Invite your Field Officer along, they can support you.
- Hold a branch (school) meeting where you discuss why your school should sign up. You can show the PowerPoint presentation. Hold a branch vote to agree to support The Promise, which then gives the branch authority to ask your principal and board to support it too.
- Write to the principal and board chair asking them to sign up; here is a letter template. You may want to offer to meet with the principal and/or board of trustees about it too.
- Once your principal and board have signed, email email@example.com to let us know. We will add your school to the list and send you a copy of The Promise with your school name for the school to display.
- Hold a 'signing celebration': invite the principal and board chair to a branch gathering where they can sign it and talk about how your school is committed to doing right by new teachers. Send us photos or upload them to social media so we can share the good news too: contact PPTA.
Advice from the School Trustees Association
(Published in the NZSTA 19 October 2017 Operations Update, nzsta.org.nz, login required)
You may be approached by the teaching staff at your school to sign PPTA’s Promise to New Teachers. NZSTA has advised that Boards asked to sign this, seek advice from NZSTA before doing so. Here is our advice:
The Promise to New Teachers is only legally enforceable to the extent that Boards signing it are agreeing to abide by laws and contractual agreements that already cover them. These are not obligations that Boards can contract out of, and this document does not set a higher bar than what already exists.
In particular, the areas in the Promise are already covered by the Employment Relations Act, the State Sector Act and the relevant collective agreements.
Permanent appointments except for legal exceptions
Entitlements under collective agreements
Induction and mentoring
Support for new teachers
The belief that new teachers should teach in trained learning areas and have own teaching space– not legally binding
Broader than this, the commitments that Boards are making by signing up to the Promise to New Teachers all fall within the ‘good employer’ provisions in these and other regulations.
As the Promise to New Teachers is a signal of the intent of the Board of Trustees to meet its legal obligations and behave as a good employer to new teachers, there are no legal risks with signing it. The commitment of the PPTA members, the principal and the Board to working together to support beginning teachers may be a good example of a productive partnership between employees and the employer.