Fast track teacher education programmes: Teach First NZ
In 2011 PPTA Te Wehengarua commissioned a review of the literature on fast track schemes in teacher education, as a means of informing the decision-making of the Association and its members about the Teach For All (TFA) scheme - Teach First NZ - seeking to prepare teachers for New Zealand's schools.
In February 2012 PPTA Executive set its ‘bottom-line’ requirements about Teach First NZ as follows:
a. That schools be funded so that Teach First students have no more than 12 hours class contact in Year 1 and 2.
b. That schools be funded for 0.2 FTTE mentor time per student for the two years.
c. That all requirements set by the Teachers Council’s approval panel for the course be met; and
d. That members be reminded that PPTA will support them should they feel pressured to act as mentors for Teach First participants
In 2014 PPTA took an Employment Relations Authority case to enforce the requirement that all teaching positions must be advertised, as required by the State Sector Act and the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (STCA). The case was triggered by the appointment of Teach First NZ participants to teaching positions without these positions being appropriately advertised.
PPTA had been trying to address that employment problem with Auckland University, Teach First NZ and the Ministry of Education since 2011. They were advised that the proposed employment process would be in breach of the STCA and the State Sector Act. Alternative approaches were suggested to allow the scheme to progress without breaching the law. The case was taken as a last resort.
The Employment Authority ruled in favour of PPTA, and restated that the requirements of the State Sector Act and STCA apply when appointing to teaching positions, i.e. positions that require the instruction of students.
The findings are that:
1. Except for short term casual positions, all positions must be advertised, and
2. The process of advertising and selecting for positions must be open and the employer must act fairly and independently to select the best candidate for the position from the field of candidates.
The finding upholds an important principle for all PPTA members that the appointments process must be open, fair and transparent.