Te Whare Akoranga o Maungawhau, March 17, 2023
From The Principal
Kia ora koutou
You'll be all too aware that this week’s newsletter follows the largest ever Strike action from teachers and Principals from multiple education sectors across New Zealand.
Over many years in education, I’ve seen a handful of examples of strike action being taken, and always as a last resort, but nothing of this scale. Typically, they mark a time of critical mass when a sea change is needed.
The reality is that nobody welcomes the level of disruption caused. Teachers certainly don’t as we fully appreciate the significant implications for working families at a time when continuity of learning is something we're all anxious to achieve.
Nonetheless, it’s worth being aware of why we’re in the current situation.
Teaching is unquestionably a demanding occupation, but I believe it is also a vocation that comes with tremendous rewards, and there is certainly no other job I’d rather do. The fact is, however, that serious, longstanding issues have been left unaddressed and unresolved since the Primary Teacher and Primary Principal Collective Agreements expired early in 2022.
The 2019 settlement was a significant first step forward in some respects, but offers currently on the table fall far short of what all educators agree is genuinely needed, with negotiations stalled after almost a year now.
Pay is just one factor, but it's a legitimate one. Requesting a cost of living increase is not an unreasonable claim to put forward, as I’m sure most working people would also be advocating for whatever their line of work. Teaching needs to be an attractive and appropriately valued occupation, and a pay cut in real terms won't do anything to help achieve this.
Beyond this, there are also very real issues of equity baked into the current model, with Primary Schools continuing to receive significantly less support and resourcing than secondary colleagues in terms of staffing, leadership personnel, release time and access to learning support for students in genuine (and increasing) need.
As a Principal (as a parent), I want outstanding, world-class teachers for all students. I want a workforce strategy that encourages teaching as a sustainable and rewarding professional career pathway, both now and into the future. I want those children experiencing the most significant barriers to success to receive the specialist support they are promised in glossy Ministry of Education brochures and websites, and to have access to what they need and deserve in a decent, high-functioning society.
I don't want funding for public schools that relies on endless fundraising and teacher goodwill to meet the most basic of curriculum needs, or one that is resourced according to different funding models across education sectors, all of which appear to be related to little more than the shoe size of the children we teach.
The facts we face are that Primary beginning teachers are now paid marginally above minimum wage. Few would argue that this is a fair or sustainable situation.
Alongside this, recruitment to teacher training has dropped sharply year on year. Applicants for vacancies are harder to find than ever (particularly in Auckland suburbs that teachers typically can’t afford to live in). A worrying proportion of those who do train and embark on a teaching career leave within the first 5 years.
The statistics are sobering, and tell us that we now have more New Zealand teachers who have left the workforce than those who have remained.
As a school leader, I see far too many examples of excellent, dedicated Principals who find themselves overwhelmed with the expectations of achieving excellent outcomes with inadequate resourcing, leaving us with the highest proportion of first-time Principals we have ever had in Auckland schools. This amounts to significant knowledge and educational expertise being lost unnecessarily.
All of this has an impact on how well schools are led and managed, which in turn affects the outcomes for the children at the heart of our communities.
So, if you feel understandably frustrated by yet more disruption on top of other disruptions we have faced, that's completely relatable. It’s worth bearing in mind the context, however, and what we all want for the immediate and the longer term for our schools and the education workforce that serves them.
I know that everyone will be sincerely hoping that any further action can be averted, and that a settlement can be reached in the very near future with the government.
To finish on a much more cheerful note, we have outstanding success to celebrate from our Zones Touch teams this week, with both the girls’ and the boys’ teams securing 1st place in the Zone. The children were thrilled with their success, and I’d like to congratulate all those who took part, with thanks to the staff and parent helpers who made it possible!
Events & Reminders
Friday 17th March:
- Last day for Scholastic Book Club orders
Thursday 23rd March (Rescheduled Conferences)
- Early pickup 1:00pm
- Parent/Teacher Conferences (2pm - 5:30pm) Bookings online https://www.schoolinterviews.co.nz/code CODE: cdtdq
Many thanks to those that attended the PTAs AGM
In the meeting the report was presented and discussed. We also thanked/acknowledged the help and departing members from 2022 and voted in parents to new or updated roles. Thank you and welcome to our new officers:
- Pam & Rosemary as co-Chairpersons
- Sarah as Communications Coordinator
- Chelsea as Secretary
- Paula as co-Treasurer
We also discussed next steps to clarify Class Coordinators’ role responsibilities and the upcoming event calendar for Terms 2-4. Further meetings for each event / event team will be held before the next PTA meeting in Term 2. If you are interested in joining a team for a school event, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
PTA Social Event - Wednesday 22nd March, 7-9pm @ The Bridgman – all welcome
You are invited to join the PTA community for a drink at the Bridgman on Wednesday 22nd March 7-9pm. All welcome.
This is not a fundraiser – just a chance to have a drink and a catch up with other members of the MENPS community.
Bridgman Pub – corner Valley & Dominion Road.
Yummy Apple Stickers Start Collecting (Now Until End of Term 3)
Please collect individual stickers from your Yummy Apples to redeem for sports equipment for MENPS! If you buy apples by the bag, please collect the "Cut Out Label" or Barcode from your bag of Yummy Apples (each cut out label is worth 10 apple stickers!).
A copy of the collection sheet has been sent home with students (please check school bags!) or can be downloaded from the Yummy Apple Website www.yummyfruit.co.nz or picked up from the box in the office. Stickers can also be attached to a blank sheet of paper and do not have to be on an official collection sheet.
Completed sheets can be dropped back to your class teacher or the office at any time until the End of Term 3.
These will be redeemed for a share of $200,000 of sports equipment!! Last year MENPS was allocated over $1500 and the children have been using the equipment during both class P. E. lessons and at lunchtime. Thanks for your support!!
Earn funds for MENPS while you shop online!
Do you like online shopping? Why not Support MENPS PTA by doing your shopping through REWARDHUB and select MENPS PTA as your nominated cause - no hidden costs to you. Make your everyday support your local community.
Follow this link to see how: https://rewardhub.co.nz/fundraising-for-mount-eden-normal-school-pta?q=menps and let’s make a difference together!
PTA - Supporting our school through fundraising & fun events
Co-Chairpersons Pam Clifford & Rosemary Li
Secretary Chelsea Chen
Treasurer Linda Waddington-Miller & Paula Tran
Class Coordinator Leader Chantal Brunner
Advisor/Coordinator Melanie Woollard
Sponsorships Rayni Chung
Communications Sarah Eason
PTA Advisor Scott Optican
School Representative Hilary Edwards
Facebook and keep up to date with the PTA on Mount Eden Normal Primary School PTA page.