Teachers and their unions don’t like the new Education Council. Good

When it comes to professional disciplinary bodies, there is always at least the perception of conflict when the profession sits in judgement of their own.  Lawyers, police, journalists, real estate agents Рthey all go to their peers to be judged.

The government is taking a sensible step away from this with teachers, and it’s fair to say it’s ruffled some feathers.

Groups representing primary principals and secondary teachers are planning to ignore this week’s call for nominations to the council because they are angry they are losing the right to elect any of the organisation’s members – instead the Education Minister will appoint them all.

The primary teachers’ union is also unhappy, but it will challenge the Government to choose people who represent teachers by running its own nomination process.

The Education Council is replacing the Teachers Council and will be a statutory body rather than an autonomous Crown entity, a change that places it further from government influence.

However, all the new organisation’s nine members will be selected by the Education Minister from a pool of nominees that anyone can put forward.

To be clear – anyone can be nominated. ¬†It doesn’t actually freeze teachers, principals their union mates or any strong advocate out from the process. ¬† Read more »

A textbook case of Teacher Registration and Council secrecy failure

I know I have bored some of you to death with the never-ending examples of bad teachers. ¬†But there is a point to it. ¬†If I didn’t highlight each and every occasion, you simply wouldn’t know the extent of the problem.

There are a number of dimensions to this.  One, is the suppression of any details Рsometimes even the name of the teacher and the school.

The other is the fact that Teacher Registration is being held up by teachers and their unions as being an essential component in protecting the children from bad teachers, when the opposite is demonstrably true.

Take this case:

The Teachers Council has confirmed it is investigating the head of an Auckland Charter School which is set to open its doors to students for the first time this week.

Middle School West, in Auckland, was officially opened yesterday, but on Tuesday 130 students will begin their education there.

James Haggett is Principal of the Charter School, a position he took up in November last year. Read more »

Another Nail in the “Charter Schools are over-funded” coffin

PPTA, NZEI and opposition parties have tried to establish the myth of Charter Schools being over-funded in the minds of what they consider to be the gullible public.

For the first 4 Years of the first 5 schools the whole Charter School budget was $19 million (i.e. less than $5 million a year). Charter School start-up funding is approximately $1 million per school.

Hekia Parata has just announced a new State School in Takanini. Start up funding $20 million.

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced that $20 million has been set aside for the establishment of a new primary school in Takanini, Auckland.

Takanini is a fast-growing suburb and anticipated population growth is expected to generate approximately 4000 additional pupils by 2020.

Ms Parata says Takanini is a sought-after area because of special housing and private land development and there is a need to cater to the booming school-aged population. ¬†¬† Read more »

No more hiding behind suppression for kiddie fiddling teachers

After decades of criminal teachers hiding among the community, recent changes to the Teachers Councils protocols means that teachers that have any sexual connection with students will now face permanent public exposure.

Misbehaving teachers will be routinely named and shamed, even if their misconduct came before a rule change favouring the publication of names, a disciplinary tribunal has ruled.

Former Ashburton College teacher Michael Burrell-Smith recently lost a bid to hide his name after his registration was cancelled for inappropriate relationships with at least two female pupils.

He argued the notice of charge for his conduct was filed and served before July 1, when a rule change came into effect in favour of publishing teachers’ names in disciplinary cases. Previously, the default position was that names were suppressed.

Since the new rules came in, 20 teachers whose misconduct took place before July 1 but whose decisions came out after that have appeared before the tribunal.

Six unsuccessfully sought name suppression. Read more »

Another Great Charter School ERO Report

So about now the comments will flood in and all the apologies from the NZEI/PPTA patch protectors.

A Northland charter school which was one of the first in the country appears to have passed its first test with flying colours.

The Education Review Office (ERO) report for Te Kura Hourua O Whangarei Terenga Paraoa, released last week, found many areas of the school were doing well and identified just a couple of areas for improvement.

The kura, sponsored by He Puna Marama Charitable Trust, is a co-ed secondary school based in Whangarei that emphasises Maori education.

After initially opening its doors to 50 students on February 27 this year that number grew to 53 students with many more on the waiting list for next year. ¬†¬† Read more »

The refreshed Labour’s bizarre education/poverty views

Maybe being upset at finding out she is spokesperson for nothing Louisa Wall has put out a rather strange and confused education release along with the NZEI.

The confusion starts with the heading:

South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings

Ummm – if comparative socioeconomic markers go down in a location the schools get more money. Does the release mean Labour doesn’t want them to get it?

It then becomes hard to know who is speaking as the release is confused and badly written but one of Wall or NZEI President Judith Nowartaski goes the way of the Bruce McLaren Principal Roy Lilley¬† (he of the 416 spare places in his school caused by a Charter School that hasn’t begun yet) and complains about Charter Schools easing financial burdens for families.

‚ÄúFor new Charter Schools to be able to offer free uniforms and stationary will significantly affect the ability of South Auckland schools to match this offer.”

What? Does someone in the Labour party read what they write? Yep – the intent is nonsense but they could at least write a correct sentence.¬† Read more »

When Public Private Partnerships work

It needs to be a community effort to successfully close the digital divide, Hastings Intermediate principal Andrew Shortcliffe says.

He is spearheading the group of 10 schools, following in the footsteps of the Auckland-based Manaiakalani Trust, which provides low-income families with a “financial pathway” to owning digital devices.

With help from the trust, Tamaki College in Auckland was the first state secondary school to go fully digital, in 2012, with more than 600 students using netbooks. The school doubled its NCEA level 2 achievement rates for Maori and Pasifika in its first digital year.

Shortcliffe hopes to see the same results in Hastings schools, and for Ngati Kahungunu and the council to underwrite a trust and support the logistics of the project.

He said community support was crucial, and quoted the adage: “It takes a village to raise a child.”

If a trust were created, it would buy the devices in bulk, which parents could then buy with a deposit and small weekly payments.

The project was about more than just giving children devices, Shortcliffe said. It would also guide parents on how to help their children learn in the digital age.

Parents would be given some basic “digital knowledge” before the children could take the device home.

When the child moved from primary school to intermediate, that device could go with them.

Shortcliffe said the initiative was a “leveller”, and would take down the barriers that some low-income families faced.

Having the East Auckland¬†Manaiakalani experience to draw on shows that throwing tech like iPads and notebooks at kids as young as 5 isn’t necessarily a waste of money and effort, the results speak for themselves. ¬†But where the invisible success takes place is in the community.

There is a much higher engagement by parents who are seeing their children being swept along with both the interest as well as bottom line results, and that in itself becomes a “multiplier” where the community as a whole feels engaged by and with the school.

Parent’s are now clambering to get their children into such schools, and children get the messages from home that the are very lucky to have this opportunity.

Schools going in partnership with private providers as well as charter schools can be a solution for areas where results aren’t met by a one-size-fits-all approach to education. ¬†Results can’t be argued with.


– Tracey Chatterton, Dominion Post

School using their own kids for a union organised anti-government protest

A parent wrote in to complain

My 5 yo came home from school today, very excited about¬†tomorrow’s Purple-themed mufti day.

Not knowing anything about it, we¬†checked out the school Facebook page and discover the attached¬†“clarification” message from Rangiora Borough School Principal, Alan¬†Sutton, advising that it’s to “support the union‚Äôs protest over the¬†purpose of the scheduled $359 million Investing in Success‚Äô¬†project”.

My boy is now very disappointed that he can’t participate in the Mufti¬†Day.¬†I’m appalled that a school would use my child as a pawn in their¬†political agenda!

I’m not generally outspoken, have been reading your site for about 6¬†months but have only commented once or twice.¬†But this has angered me, so I had to share it with you, and will be¬†writing to the Principal to share my outrage.

A bit of checking around with other schools makes it clear that the Purple Themed Day¬†is really just meant to be for unionised staff. ¬†The fact that Rangiora Borough School have extended this to a “mufti day” for the kids (remember some are as young as FIVE) without telling the parents this is a highly political move is just plain shameful.

This was posted on the school’s Facebook page after the parents raised a stink over their kids being used in this way: ¬† Read more »

This is how the Teacher Unions get the answers they want


Not all teachers are rabid unionists.  Which is why I get told about these sorts of dirty tricks.

How many teachers would have voted NO on that? ¬†Seriously…

If you need a reminder on how questionnaires can be manipulated to get the result you want, here’s a classic Yes Prime Minister clip that explains it. ¬† Read more »

Parents not the Village Idiots Labour/Unions think they are

Labour and the teacher unions spend their whole time treating the parents of school age children like they have IQs lower than a jam sandwich.

Examples are ignoring the benefits of National Standards (they are going to ban them of course), telling families in challenges areas that they don’t want Charter Schools (they are going to ban them of course), telling parents they will save $100 on donations – while charging them $3.50 a week for a “device”, etc.

Parents have clearly also seen through the – slap a few more teachers in the classroom (wherever they come from) and she’ll be right approach too.

New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards than on reducing class sizes, a Herald-DigiPoll survey reveals.

Education has become a political battleground before September’s election, with both major parties promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.

Asked about their priorities, more than 60 per cent of those polled said they would spend money on trying to improve teaching standards rather than cutting class sizes.¬† Read more »