How the PPTA supports our member principals

The PPTA recognises that there can be tension between the management role that principals have, and being a union member. However, we are your union, and we are here to work with you as a member and as a school leader. Here is what we offer.

Advice on the Collective Agreements

Field officers can provide general support with interpretation of clauses and processes in the collective agreements, both the teaching collective agreements and your own.

Field officer contact information can be found here.

A wealth of PPTA advice is available online here, and in-depth advice is available by request here.

The PPTA negotiates the Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement and the Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement, alongside SPANZ Union and NZEI Te Riu Roa. In the lead-up to negotiations you have the opportunity to raise issues for claims, and there are opportunities for members to be part of the negotiating teams. The advisory officer responsible for negotiations of the principals’ collective agreements is Fran Renton, whom you can contact at frenton@ppta.org.nz

Personal representation

The PPTA will provide assistance and representation for you in any:

  • personal employment issues
  • professional issues
  • personal civil liability for health and safety issues
  • criminal investigations relating to alleged acts during the course of your employment and in the performance of your duties as a principal

If there is a conflict of interest with your local field officer, a different member of staff or an external lawyer will be provided to assist you. Please contact us to discuss the situation if you are unsure if we can help.

For confidential assistance with personal cases, contact the Deputy General Secretary – Membership on atwogood@ppta.org.nz or DDI (04) 9134233.

Personal employment issues

This includes issues between a principal and their Board of Trustees, right through to matters relating to the termination of a principal’s employment.

The PPTA provides access to support from field officers, in-house lawyers, and external lawyers. Principals experiencing personal employment issues will often be referred to an external lawyer to avoid possible conflicts of interest.

This support is not capped in dollar terms. However, duration of PPTA support is contingent on litigation risk (i.e. likelihood of success).

This means that the PPTA may withdraw support after mediation, or after an Employment Relations Authority investigation, if further litigation appears unlikely to succeed.

Personal professional issues

This includes all matters before the Teaching Council which relate to a principal’s conduct or competence. The PPTA provides access to support from field officers, in-house lawyers, and where appropriate, external lawyers.

This support is not capped in dollar terms. However, the duration of PPTA support is contingent on litigation risk (i.e. likelihood of success).

What this means in practical terms is that PPTA will provide legal representation up to the Disciplinary Tribunal stage, but should the member wish to appeal a decision to the District Court, further PPTA representation is not guaranteed.

Personal civil liability for health and safety issues

The PPTA provides access to support from field officers, in-house lawyers, and external lawyers as needed. This support is not capped in dollar terms. However, the duration of PPTA support is contingent on litigation risk (i.e. likelihood of success) as for general employment and professional support.

Criminal charges/potential charges (including health and safety-related)

This includes criminal allegations relating to an alleged act or omission by the member during the course of their employment and in the performance of their duties as a teacher (including the duties of a principal).

Principals are entitled to support on the same basis as other members, i.e. subject to the Guidelines for Granting External Legal Assistance.

Reimbursement is provided for initial legal costs, up to and including the entry of a plea, and in the event of a not-guilty plea, thereafter to a cap of $25,000.

In the event the defence is successful (i.e. the member is acquitted or discharged without conviction), further application may be made for reimbursement of all legal costs in full.

Secondary Principals’ Council

Your Secondary Principals’ Council representatives are your path to the union for feedback on sector-wide or regional issues. There are representatives for each region, plus for Māori, women, and Area School principals.

SPC contact details can be found here.

Media support

For advice on media issues, contact PPTA media officer Liz Robinson on lrobinson@ppta.org.nz

Last modified on Thursday, 30 July 2020 09:24