Workload and our collective agreements
A PPTA member taskforce has been working since the start of 2020 to make sure the workload provisions in our collective agreements are clear, modern and legal.
This important work has been carried out by principals, senior leaders, timetablers, branch chairs, middle leaders and classroom teachers and a final report, which has been unanimously endorsed, presented to PPTA executive.
Executive has approved all the report’s recommendations for further discussion with members.
“The report has provided executive with a strong, well-reasoned framework for discussing improvements to the collective provisions, with PPTA members, the Ministry of Education and any other relevant groups,” president Jack Boyle said.
How the work was done
The group was able to meet face-to-face once before the Covid-19 lockdown and then twice by Zoom. Further discussion was conducted by email.
The taskforce drew on:
- The personal experience of its members as leaders and teachers in a variety of schools,
- The 2017 PPTA Annual Conference paper on Modern Learning Environments (MLEs),
- Two 2018 surveys of PPTA members
- A 2019 PPTA survey of deans
- Surveys conducted on behalf of the taskforce – a survey on hours of work, a sample of online teachers, a sample of teachers and leaders in schools with MLEs
- A 2019 research paper into MLEs by Amanda Robinson
- Unpublished research by Tamara Yuill Proctor on collaboration in MLEs
- Advice from Ken Pullar, e-principal of NetNZ, on the work of online teachers.
The group identified a set of principles to guide changes to the agreements. Some existing provisions need to be clarified, some new provisions are necessary to modify the agreement, and some areas require new clauses to ensure the STCA is compliant with current legislation.
Under-resourcing and hours of work
An important finding of the taskforce was that in most instances the provisions themselves are clear and workable, but under-resourced by government. One example of this was that the progressively inadequate curriculum staffing for larger schools and junior high schools puts unequal pressure on those schools in administering the average class size provisions.
A major component of the taskforce’s report is advice on how we can introduce an hours of work provision (required by the Employment Relations Act but currently not part of the agreements) which is flexible enough to accommodate differences between schools and strong enough to provide wellbeing and workload protections for teachers at all levels of the school.
The next step is to familiarise members with the content and recommendations of the report, including discussions at next year’s Issues and Organising conference and with regional groupings of members. Resources have been developed to facilitate branch discussions on the possible changes, which branches have been asked to hold this term or in term 1 next year. There will also be discussions with groups of members who might be affected by specific recommendations (for example possible workload protections for e-teachers). We are also seeking to open general discussion with the Ministry of Education about the findings of the taskforce.
Any potential changes would be subject to membership approval in the PPTA’s normal claims development process in 2021-22 and to negotiation and membership ratification in 2022.
A copy of the report can be found at on the members only side of our website.