Here we go again, Teacher’s union scaremongering over bulk funding

The teacher’s union are whinging again. Has there ever been a government policy they’ve agreed with?

This time they are scaremongering over bulkfunding…like it is a bad thing.

A government proposal is threatening to revive one of the most bitter disputes the school sector has seen in the past 25 years.

It has suggested giving schools a bulk allocation of funding and leaving it up to principals to decide how much of it to set aside for staffing.

Principals’ and teachers’ groups say that sounds like “bulk funding”, which was ditched in 2000, and they are angry the government has sprung it on them as part of its review of the school and early childhood education funding systems.

Under the proposal, according to an information sheet published by the Ministry of Education, schools could decide how much of their funding to use for what were called staffing credits, and how much to use as a cash component paid in instalments to cover operational costs.

The suggestion differed from past bulk-funding proposals because the ministry would continue to pay teachers’ salaries, it said – the schools would receive notional “credits” for their teachers, not the actual funding for their pay.

It said:

  • Principals would determine the split between ‘cash’ and ‘credit’, with the flexibility to make adjustments during the year.
  • Unspent credit would be paid out at the end of the year and a process for recovering credit overspends would be established.
  • Teaching staff salaries would be charged against the credit portion at an average rate. This was a significant difference from historical bulk-funding proposals, which would have seen schools charged the actual salary.
  • Non-teaching staff salaries would be charged against the credit portion at actual cost.

However, any unused allocation of staffing credits would be paid to schools at the end of the year.

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If there was no bullying from the PPTA then why did Kamo High pull support?

The board of Kamo High School seem to be changing their story regarding the pulling of support from a local charter school.

They now say there wasn’t any bullying from the PPTA, despite originally claiming that was the case.

Kamo High School’s board chairman says there was no intimidation from the national teachers’ union after the school agreed to let a charter school use its facilities.

The Whangarei school had agreed to give charter school Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei Terenga Paraoa access to its chemistry laboratory but letters released by Act Party leader David Seymour show the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) urged the school to withdraw their support.

Mr Seymour, whose party led the introduction of charter schools in New Zealand, said the PPTA had bullied the Kamo High School out of a “win-win” arrangement. However, the school’s board chairman said the school hadn’t been bullied but he could see both sides of the issue and supported the PPTA.

“I don’t think they are bullies, no one felt intimidated or forced to do anything,” he said.

“On an operational level we have state assets and it’s our view they be available to forward the education of the community.”

Not bullied?

I guess that just proves that Kamo High School are as spineless as a jellyfish.

PPTA president Angela Roberts said she was concerned about the charter school using Kamo High School’s facilities when charter schools receive funding equivalent to $28,000 per student, compared with $15,000 per student for a similar-sized state school.

“We don’t want these schools, which are being propped up by considerable additional funding, using resources at these state schools,” she said.

In a letter sent on May 10, PPTA’s Ms Roberts warned principal Joanne Hutt that sharing facilities could go against health and safety laws and would upset teachers who had voted not to support charter schools.

Two weeks later, the school told Ms Roberts that it had decided not to share its chemistry lab with Te Kura Hourua, saying the issue had become a distraction.

Raewyn Tipene of the He Puna Marama Trust told One News the charter school needed to work in a chemistry area and believed there wouldn’t be a problem to ask the nearby high school.

If that isn’t bullying then it is a clear case of gutlessness from the board of Kamo High School.


– NZ Herald

PPTA intimidates state school into breaking its cooperation with a charter school

The disgusting bullying tactics of the PPTA have been laid bare as they continue their ideological war on Charter schools.

Act Party leader David Seymour is accusing a teachers’ union of bullying a state school which offered to share resources with a charter school.

Letters released by Mr Seymour show that the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) urged Kamo High School in Northland not to offer support to charter school Te Kura Hourua o Whangarei Terenga Paraoa.

The Decile 5 school had agreed to give the charter school access to its chemistry laboratory.

In a letter sent on May 10, PPTA president Angela Roberts warned the school’s principal Joanne Hutt that sharing facilities could go against health and safety laws and would upset teachers who had voted not to support charter schools.

“At the least this will lead to resentment and ill-feeling, and would be an unfortunate situation where there is no plausible benefit to the students or staff of Kamo High School,” she said.   Read more »

Chris Hipkins called out on a whopper of a lie


There is an interesting editorial in The Herald that paints the PPTA in an unfavourable light. It is rare to read an education article that isn’t blaming the government for all of education’s woes and even rarer to find one that contradicts the head of a union. Even more startling is that the journalist points out that a statement made by Chris Hipkins is a lie. It is not a small lie either, it is a whopper.

It is sad but possibly not surprising that the first tranche of funding for the Government’s “communities of learning” scheme has been taken up mainly by schools that were already better off. Sad, because the purpose was to spread the benefits of the best leadership and teaching and in this way reduce the gap between top performing schools and those at the bottom. But perhaps not surprising because, like every education initiative of a National Government, the scheme was greeted with suspicion and derision by the profession and the poorest schools may be the easiest to discourage from participating.

The fact that 36 per cent of the first round of extra funding has gone to decile 10 schools and only 11 per cent to decile 1 schools, “makes a mockery of National’s claim they are targeting educational achievement”, says Labour’s education spokesman, Chris Hipkins. “It is also a slap in the face to the many outstanding teachers flogging their guts out in our poorest communities.”

It is nothing of the kind; the scheme was, and is, open to all.

The journalist couldn’t be any clearer. He or she is calling Chris Hipkins a liar.

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PPTA cause a problem – then claim they are fixing it

The inability of school Principals to pay staff differently where there are shortages has two causes – the PPTA opposed bulk funding and PPTA/NZEI insistence on national contracts.

Principals struggling to fill teaching positions have resorted to buying houses for staff as a last ditch attempt to offset the impact of the housing crisis.

A “perfect storm” has created a secondary school teaching shortage, exacerbated by teachers fleeing Auckland’s skyrocketing house prices, a principal says.

A new survey of principals found about one in 10 schools reported they were unable to fill permanent positions after advertising.

The average secondary school teacher earns between $46,000 and $75,000 but the median Auckland house price is $812,000 – four times the value of a Southland house.   Read more »

American charter school Myth promoted in New Zealand

On the PPTA Blog there is one writer Tom Haig who has a passion for attacking charter schools. One of the more recent rockets he has fired was one claiming that a particular charter school got rid of students at a higher rate than other schools.

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Interestingly it turns out that this is a myth about charter schools that originated in America.


A sign for the new KIPP Thrive Academy hangs outside what had been the closed Eighteenth Avenue School Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Research Disproves Another Charter School Myth

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“World Class” education or the system is failing?

Have you ever noticed that when the media and the teacher unions are attacking charter schools they always describe New Zealand schools as world-class? Our teachers are the best in the world they tell us, there is no need for charter schools. Our Maori and Pacific students are doing just fine they tell us; they are not falling through the cracks.
When a story is not about charter schools then all of a sudden the cracks are allowed to show. Have you noticed that they always claim that the education system is failing when they are attacking the Government?
To prove my point here are some quotes.

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The PPTA brings up an old chestnut so I give it a roast

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Tom Haig, on the PPTA blog, has brought up an old chestnut. The PPTA are fond of bringing up the same old chestnuts against charter schools. It is almost as if they have an approved list.

PPTA-approved charter school attack chestnuts:


  1. Students at risk because of non-registered teachers
  2. Charter schools get more money than State schools
  3. Charter schools steal students from other schools
  4. If you want to help the students who are falling through the cracks give more money to State schools
  5. It is privatisation by stealth
  6. They have higher expulsion rates than State schools.

Chestnuts one to four I have already covered in detail in previous posts. Today I have responded to number six by discussing one of the Charter schools they attacked: Vanguard Military School.

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How does this new school differ from a Charter school?

Rototuna Junior High School principal Fraser Hill on the first floor of Rototuna High School.
Rototuna Junior High School principal Fraser Hill on the first floor of Rototuna High School.

So the government has built a brand new school called Rototuna Junior High school. As you all know Partnership schools also known as Charter schools are constantly attacked by teacher unions who claim they are too expensive. Since Rototuna is a brand new school let’s do a comparison.

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What the New Zealand charter school debate boils down to



It is always interesting to distill down the arguments for and against charter schools in New Zealand. After watching a New Zealand debate on the topic I have now summarised for Whaleoil readers the key points raised by people from both sides of the debate.

These are not direct quotes but are accurate summaries of what was said.



  • We want to see ALL New Zealanders succeed but we don’t think that charter schools are the answer.
  • Charter schools are an answer to a problem that doesn’t exist.
  • It is a solution for a problem we don’t have.
  • Poor schools and bad teachers and bad principals failing Maori students is not the reality.
  • The rise of charter schools is directly connected to the Maori failure rates.

Read more »