How close are Labour and the PPTA?

Very close.

ACT’s Free Press column explains:

Not Labour
Labour have asked more parliamentary questions about Partnership Schools than any other education topic this year.  Despite the fact that Partnership Schools are getting exceptional results for disadvantaged children.  Savage and Fraser were giants who built Labour to give the disadvantaged a fair go.  Today’s Labour are more interested in their PPTA supporters.

Wholly Owned Subsidiary
Last Wednesday Labour’s education spokesperson asked a question on Partnership Schools.  After the primary question, which is published before question time, questioners try to surprise the Minister with supplementary questions.  Labour’s whole line of questioning was revealed in a PPTA press release that came out minutes after he asked his questions.

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Registered? Of course he was

The Labour party and the teacher’s unions all say that registration of teachers should be mandatory…to protect the kids.

Like in this case where a registered primary school teacher is up on charges for fiddling with kids.

A primary school teacher accused of indecently touching nine of his female students over a four-year period has denied the allegations.

The man in his 50s, who has name suppression until the end of the Auckland District Court trial, pleaded not guilty today to 16 counts of doing an indecent act on girls under the age of 12.

The name of the school at which he taught was also suppressed.

Crown prosecutor Eliza Walker said the alleged indecency began shortly after the teacher started working at the school.

She told the jury the charges covered the defendant touching a girl’s chest, lap, buttocks, waist and “private parts”.

It is also alleged he groped a girl under her culottes and kissed one complainant on the forehead.

“She was freaking out but she didn’t say anything or do anything. It was the last day of school and she just thought ‘why was this happening?”‘, Ms Walker said.

“[The girl] was shocked by what her teacher was doing to her.”

Ms Walker said the actions took place on school grounds, mostly in the classroom in front of the other students.

The prosecutor outlined the evidence likely to be given by each girl.

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Two Politicians, two very different parties but a common belief in a ‘ Fair go ‘

After the story of the Student teacher hit the headlines I approached three politicians for comment and their responses are below. Two of them have a common belief in a ‘fair go’ for the Student teacher which is heartening to see.

Labour Party’s Spokesperson for Education, Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins,Labour Party’s spokesperson for Education.

I don’t comment on specific employment matters.

On the general issue, I would expect all trainee teachers to be given full support to complete their qualifications. They should not be discriminated against based on gender, race, sexuality, past employment, or future employment prospects.

– Chris Hipkins

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Union considers life-long ban on teachers who have worked in a Charter School


On the PPTA Blog I asked the following questions:

Given the PPTA’s stance on how to treat a student teacher if he is employed by a Charter school what does this mean for all the teachers currently employed by Charter schools?

Do the PPTA intend to blacklist from employment in State schools every single teacher who has previously worked in a Charter school?

Will they pressure State High School Principals and BOTs to not interview or employ teachers who have previously worked in a Charter school or will they be welcomed back to the PPTA-approved fold?

Remember that the majority of teachers currently working in Charter schools have previously worked in State schools and have paid union fees in the past.

I received the below response.

PPTA members will decide on the basis of this conference paper.

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The PPTA have a message for Northland


After I received a statement from the PPTA regarding their decision  to blacklist a student teacher at Tikipunga High School in Whangarei I have been asking questions on their Blog and have been following their posts. Their most recent post was very interesting and was titled, ‘Big shout out to PPTA members in Northland.’

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Face of the day

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Minister of Education Hekia Parata

Today’s face of the day spoke at an alternative education conference that I attended 2-3 years ago. I was impressed by her and thought her speech was entertaining and intelligent. She stood out as many of the others were not skilled public speakers and while well-meaning did not hold my attention. I told Cameron when I got home that I liked her and thought that he should tone down what he was writing about her at the time.

When I e-mailed Ms Parata the other day I had high hopes. This I thought, was an opportunity for me to show Cam how wrong he was. A strong statement from Ms Parata regarding the PPTA’s discriminatory actions and the governments full support of its Partnership/Charter Schools would go a long way to changing his opinion of her.

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The Ministry of Education are disappointed

Cartoon altered by Spanishbride -whaleoil.co.nz

Cartoon altered by Spanishbride

After reading about this story I contacted the Ministry of Education by e-mail and asked them the following questions.

  • Can you please tell us what action if any is going to be taken to address the discriminatory behaviour of the PPTA and the school towards the Student teacher?
  • What has the Ministry said to the  PPTA and the school that withdrew the student teacher’s placement?
  • What consequences if any will there be for the PPTA and the school after denying the Student teacher equal access and opportunity to a State School for placement?
  • What further action if any will the Ministry be taking in order to protect the Student teacher’s human right to equal access to training regardless of his sex, race, age, religion or place of employment?
  • Does the Ministry believe that the PPTA have broken the law and that they have a case to answer with the Human Rights commission?
  • Does the Ministry believe that  Tikipunga High School has broken the law and that they have a case to answer to the Human rights commission?
  • The Ministry has acknowledged that the PPTA has no responsibility or authority to influence these decisions. Are there any rules that the PPTA has broken that you can bring to our attention? Is there a piece of legislation that you can provide us with that states whose responsibility and authority it is to influence this kind of decision?

I also said…

I realise that some of my questions are very similar. I do not expect them all to be answered. Please answer the ones that you think are most pertinent and that you can answer most comprehensively.

I received a response today from Dr Graham Stoop, Deputy Secretary of Student Achievement:

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Comment of the Day

From George:

Comment to Angela Roberts, President PPTA:
Your response to Whaleoil is no more than political rhetoric.

It appears that you and the PPTA are engaging in “patch” preservation.

You are appointed to support your members in their endeavour to educate the children of parents who have chosen the state option.

It is not your directive to humiliate parents and teachers who don’t share your values.

They have the ability to make responsible choices unlike your insistence that discretion should be eliminated from education. Charter education will succeed or perish as a result of its performance. The negativity you generate will not determine this.  Read more »

Face of the day

Alec Solomon Principal of High School -edgazette.govt.nz

Alec Solomon, Principal of Tikipunga High School. Whangarei -edgazette.govt.nz

Today’s face of the day is Alec Solomon, Principal of Tikipunga High School in Whangarei. The student teacher who was told that he was no longer welcome was on placement at Alec’s School.

I contacted Alec by e-mail and offered him the opportunity to either make a statement which I would publish unedited or to answer a few questions. Unfortunately this was his reply.

Kia ora Juana
We have no comment.  Thank you.
Alec Solomon

I would have really liked to have heard his side of the story as I suspect that he was under huge pressure by the PPTA to withdraw his offer of placement to the Student teacher. His School has a lot to offer a Student teacher and the Student teacher forced to leave it must have been devastated to be discriminated against in such a career damaging way.

The Student teacher is also not commenting  and I suspect it will be for the same reason as Mr Solomon. If they speak out against what the PPTA has done they make themselves an even bigger target. Alec Solomon cannot afford to have his PPTA member teachers threatening him with a walk out or a strike or some other form of protest as he has to put the needs of his students first. I think that it is terrible that both he and the Student teacher have been put in this invidious position.

The PPTA responds

On Sunday I sent the following e-mail to Angela Roberts who is the President of the NZ Post Primary Teachers’ Association.

Hello Angela,

I write for Whaleoil Media on the Blog www.whaleoil.co.nz

Today we have posted this article

The article is about a student teacher being refused access to work experience in a school because he is employed by a Charter School. I have recently completed an investigative series of articles on Charter Schools after visiting three of them in Auckland.

Before I write an article in response to today’s piece which was written by Cameron Slater I would like to offer the PPTA the opportunity to explain their side of the story. I will post your response UNEDITED on the Blog.

If you would like to give us your reasoning and justifications please send your reply to this e-mail. Alternatively if you are open to answering a few questions and sending your answers to us please let me know. I will then ask our readership for the questions they want me to put to you.

Kind regards


Angela replied and provided a statement which I have provided unedited below. I appreciate Angela’s prompt response and willingness to give us the PPTA’s side of the story. We welcome alternative viewpoints on the Blog.

If you are a new reader please take the time to view our moderation policy before commenting as we take moderation very seriously here.

Whaleoil will never delete comments from people who disagree based on their view of the facts of a given situation.  However, many such comments also stray into attacking the blog staff, other commenters or other people at the same time.  When such comments are removed, they perceive this as being censored for their views, and not for their behaviour.  Whaleoil encourages everyone to try out commenting with opposing views without at the same time attacking or undermining people or the blog staff, and be pleasantly surprised their comments will remain published.

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