Communities of learning (CoL)

Communities of Schools are also known as Communities of Learning. A Community of Schools or Learning is a group of schools approved to receive resourcing under the Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative announced in 2014.

PPTA survey of Communities of Learning

PPTA recently surveyed members about their experience and opinions of Communities of Learning. The survey report and the report to PPTA Annual Conference are below:

pdf button Implementation of Communities of Learning – practitioners’ experiences  (Survey report August 2017)

pdf buttonCommunities of Learning: The slippage between planning and implementation (2017 Annual conference report)


PPTA thanks the many members who contributed to the survey.


Requirement to appoint 60% of within school teachers (WSTs) to permanent positions in CoL schools

The STCA and ASTCA require schools to make at least 60% of their within school teacher (WST) roles permanent.

In the joint guidelines from NZSTA, the Ministry of Education and PPTA (page 4) the three organisations have made clear that:

“if the school has three or more roles to allocate, each appointment to the role may be either permanent, or for a fixed-term in accordance with clause 3.2.3 of the STCA, provided that fixed-term appointments will never make up more than 40% of a board’s roles. There must be a genuine reason to appoint to a fixed-term.” (see the Guidelines for the appointment of the within school teacher role in Secondary Schools attached to this page)

This requirement is repeated as clause 4.24.5(a) of the STCA and 3.33.11 (b) (i) of the ASTCA.

It has come to our attention that some schools within CoLs are being advised not to make permanent appointments to WST roles. This advice is an inducement to schools to break the law and to breach the requirements of the collective agreements negotiated by PPTA and the Ministry and also agreed to by NZSTA.

PPTA is advising its members in CoLs that it will take legal action against any board which does not appoint at least the minimum proportion (60%) of its within school teacher roles as permanent positions.

Funding is on-going

Schools are reminded that the funding for CoL positions is baseline (on-going) funding. If a school is required to reduce the number of permanent WST roles because of either a reduction in the number of roles they are entitled to, or because of a change in government policy the costs of reducing those roles will be met by the Ministry Education in the same way that the Ministry meets the costs of required staffing reductions.

The disestablishment processes for WST roles are contained in clauses 4.24.13 and 4.24.14 of the STCA and 3.33.8 of the ASTCA.

Being a part of Community of Learning (COL) consultation

If you've been told your school is going to join a community of learning (CoL)  [as part of the IES initiative] then be aware that you have a right to be consulted.

PPTA Te Wehengarua has developed advice in PowerPoint form for branch officers about being part of the CoL consultative process (attached to the top of this page as a pdf).

Email if you would prefer the PowerPoint version of "Developing a Community of Learning: Consultation with teachers." 

weblink Ministry of Education - Community of Learning Guide to Writing a Memorandum of Agreement

weblink  Ministry of Education - Community of Schools Tips and Starters: Working Together

weblink  Ministry of Education - Community of Learning: Guide for Schools and Kura

weblink  Ministry of Education - Community of Learning: Role Selection and Appointment Information

weblink Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: Collaboration to Improve Learner Outcomes (ERO, 2016)

weblink Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: Working towards collaborative practice (ERO, 2016)

weblink Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako: The Emergent Stage (NZCER 2016)

Collective agreements

Secondary Teachers' Collective Agreement provisions include:

STCA 2015 1.8 Definitions: (i) “Communities of Schools” are also known as Communities of Learning. A Community of Schools or Learning is a group of schools approved to receive resourcing under the Investing in Educational Success initiative announced in 2014.

STCA 2015 3.2.2 Advertising and Appointment

STCA 2015 Part Three: Community of Schools-level induction and networking programmes (see 3.8D)

STCA 2015 Part Four: Remuneration -  Acting Principal (see 4.15.2), Acting in a Higher Position other than Principal (see 4.16.3 and 4.16.4), Allowances (see from 4.22, 4.23, 4.24)

STCA Part Five: Hours of Work (5.1.1) Inquiry Time (5.2.7)

Area School Teachers' Collective Agreement provisions include:

ASTCA 2016 Part Two - Terms of Employment: Advertising and Appointments (2.2.2),  Community-level Induction and Networking Programmes (see 2.20)

ASTCA 2016 Part Three - Remuneration: Allowances (see 3.31-3.33), Acting or Relieving Principals (3.11.3), Acting in a Higher Position (other than as Principal) (3.12.4)

ASTCA 2016 Part Four - Hours of Work: (4.1.1), Inquiry Time (4.2.6).

Inquiry Time

Inquiry time is additional staffing to schools to be provided each year.

It would be about 200 FTTE of additional staffing per year under full implementation of the IES.

The amount of inquiry time depends on the school’s guaranteed staffing allocation each year.

It represents approximately four hours per year per FTTE across all teachers.

No eligible schools will have less than 50 hours per year.

The extra staffing time is to be used to release teachers from class to work with other teachers who are in a mentor role, predominantly around the student achievement goals the school has agreed it shares with the other schools in its Community of Schools (CoS).

The use is determined by the school, following consultation with the CoS/CoL.

There is no individual entitlement to the time. In any one year some people will receive inquiry time allocations and others will not.

The time can be spent working with someone in the CoL within school teacher role, or the CoL across community teacher role or any other specialist support or mentor, such as the SCT, a subject specialist, etc.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 17 May 2023 08:19