What does the NZEI collective agreement say about protecting kids?

With kiddy fiddling teachers being all the rage in the media these days, and the absolute failure of schools and the Ministry of Education to address the issue of pedophiles in education, we decided to have a look at the Collective Agreement for Primary School Teachers, as negotiated between NZEI and the Ministry of Education.

Here are some general notes:

1. ‘Serious Misconduct’ is mentioned only in two chapters and less than five lines (the agreement is 97 pages). It is also never defined. The only serious treatment of it is in clause 10.6:

 Nothing in clauses 10.2, 10.3, 10.4 or 10.5 prevents instant dismissal without notice in the case of serious misconduct.

It is standard in almost every private sector contract to include a definition so as to avoid dispute. If this then is standard, who decided it should be left out? Who has what to hide and who benefits?

2. The Collective Agreement blurs the lines on reporting to the Teachers Council (now the Education Council).

Many complaints will be able to be resolved by discussion between the principal and the employee concerned without the need to take the matter any further.  This does not negate any statutory obligation to inform the New Zealand Teachers Council if applicable.  


Boards should, wherever appropriate, seek to resolve complaints in this manner in the first instance. Questions of competence, conduct and/or discipline should be handled in a manner which as far as possible protects the mana and dignity of the employee concerned.

3. Discipline, under clause 10.4, doesn’t mention dismissal as an option. It also doesn’t remind teachers of the statutory requirement to make mandatory reports for serious misconduct (which as yet has not been defined) to the Education Council. It also heavily implies that the employer (the Board of Trustees) must investigate, rather than reporting the incident immediately. That time between the raising of a complaint and the end of an investigation is most often when they’ll raise a Personal Grievance and get paid out. Clause 10.4:

The employee must be advised in writing of the specific matter(s) causing concern and be given a reasonable opportunity to provide an explanation. Before making a final decision, the employer may need to make further inquiries in order to be satisfied as to the facts of the specific matter(s) causing concern.

4. The Collective Agreement does not mention the indemnity under the Child, Youth and Family Act, meaning that the fact schools can report abuse without facing any action ‘civil or criminal’. Children, Young Persons, and Their Families Act 1989 Section 16:

No civil, criminal, or disciplinary proceedings shall lie against any person in respect of the disclosure or supply, or the manner of the disclosure or supply, by that person pursuant to section 15 of information concerning a child or young person (whether or not that information also concerns any other person), unless the information was disclosed or supplied in bad faith.

So out of 97 pages almost no time is spent on serious misconduct or protecting children.

When it comes to discipline the contract is vaguer than anything in the private sector.

Reporting to the Education Council is hardly covered and despite being a major part of the discipline process is mostly ignored.


Source: http://www.education.govt.nz/school/running-a-school/employing-and-managing-staff/collective-agreements/primary-teachers-collective-agreement/part-2-general-provisions/

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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