The Staffing Summit
The Secondary Principals Council of Aotearoa hosted a Staffing Summit at the Rydges Hotel in Wellington on July 15-16 2021 for secondary, area, and kura a iwi school principals.
The purpose of the summit was to consider current staffing needs in our schools and to advance a more effective, needs-based, staffing model for our sector.
Around 60 school leaders, sector leaders and academics attended the summit.
The summit covered:
- Presentation of recent research
- Government funding of secondary education
- Curriculum needs
- Distance and blended learning
- Equity of provision
- The operations grant
- Supporting learners
- Pastoral care and wellbeing of senior leaders
- School collaboration
- Designing a needs-based staffing model
The programme and the presenters at the summit can be viewed here.
Staffing adequacy report to Summit
The Secondary Principals Council undertook a staffing adequacy survey of schools with secondary students, the results of which were presented at the summit.
The staffing adequacy report can be read in full here: Survey Report
Case studies for the Staffing Summit
A researcher was employed to undertake case study work in a representative sample of schools to identify the gaps between resourcing and need in our sector. This involved having the researcher in school for a day during term 2.
The case study findings were presented at the summit and can be read here: Case study findings
A report of the summit, including summary notes of the sessions, can be found here
A needs-based staffing model
As an outcome of the summit, SPC has developed a needs-based staffing model for secondary and a report explaining why a change to the staffing of secondary and composite schools is critical. Copies have been mailed to schools and a digital copy can be found here.
Peter Blatchford, Emeritus Professor in Psychology and Education, UCL Institute of Education
Peter was the keynote speaker at the summit and argued that much debate and research is misguided because of the narrow focus on student attainment and because it is not concerned with what actually happens in classrooms, particularly how class size affects teaching and teachers. He drew on many years’ experience researching class size effects, and on work for his recent book Rethinking Class Size, co-authored with Tony Russell.
Rethinking Class Size is available as a free download from UCL Press.
Professor Blatchford directed the large-scale five-year Deployment and impact of support staff in schools (DISS) project funded by the English and Welsh Governments, which was voted one of the 40 most influential educational research project of the last 40 years by the British Educational Research Association. He co-directed the follow-up Effective Deployment of Teaching Assistants (EDTA), Making a Statement (MAST) and Special Educational Needs in Secondary Education (SENSE) projects.
He has also directed two other large-scale funded projects – a programme of research on the educational effects of class size differences and pupil adult ratios (CSPAR), and an ESRC funded programme of research on collaborative group work (SPRinG) and grouping practices in schools.
His research has led to a number of publications including the books ‘The Child at School: Interactions with Teachers and Pupils’ (Blatchford, Pellegrini and Baines, Routledge, 2016); ‘Reassessing the Impact of Teaching Assistants’ (Blatchford, Russell and Webster, Routledge, 2013), ‘Class Size: Eastern and Western Perspectives (Eds: Blatchford, Chan, Galton, Lai and Lee) and ‘Rethinking Class Size: The Complex Story of Impact on Teaching and Learning’ (Blatchford and Russell, 2020).
He has recently completed a Leverhulme funded international network on 'Class Size and Effective Teaching' and a Nuffield funded survey of school breaktimes and pupil social lives in primary and secondary schools. He is a Fellow of the UK Academy of Social Sciences. He recently completed a three year Leverhulme funded Major Research Fellowship.
Rethinking Class Size: The Complex Story of Impact on Teaching and Learning
Long-standing arguments about class size are as strongly worded as ever. Much of the debate has been couched in terms of the connection between class size and pupil academic attainment. On one side, teachers and voices representing practitioners argue that large classes are a real problem, while on the other side, policy reports and some researchers argue that class size is not important.
In his presentation, Peter Blatchford argues that much debate and research is misguided because of the narrow focus on student attainment and because it is not concerned with what actually happens in classrooms, particularly how class size affects teaching and teachers.
Drawing on many years’ experience researching class size effects, and on work for his recent book ‘Rethinking Class Size’, co-authored with Tony Russell, he seeks to answer two important questions:
- Why is there this disparity between practitioner and policy view?
- Why has research failed to find clear, negative effects of large class sizes?
Peter argues that answers to these questions will go a long way to a more realistic understanding of the effect of class size differences, as well as guidance on how to make the most of small and large classes.
The following article from PPTA advisory officer Rob Willetts may also be a helpful read: Class size, average class size, and pupil-teacher ratio; truth, lies and government statistics