Greetings and welcomes - Our amazing teachers - Partial strike by Primary Principals
Well, here we are, the school holidays are nearly over. Lisa is still in Sweden and will be for the next few weeks visiting whanau. She sent us a photo of a lolly shop with over 700 pick 'n' mix choices! I am not sure I would ever be able to decide what to choose. Chrissy and Mike are now on their way to Myanmar and Alexis is in America. The rest of us are here in Wellington and have spent the week preparing for the new term. In spite of missing our colleagues and friends who left at the end of last term, there has been quite a buzz about the school. I love listening to our teachers collaborate about the learning of students. They are a very knowledgeable, professional and caring group of teachers. The thing that impresses me the most, though, is their willingness to keep growing and developing as teachers and as people. They are involved in continual cycles of inquiry into their practice and its effect on students. As a result, they are continually making changes to what they do to ensure they keep doing it better going forward.
It has been a pleasure to welcome Regina and Michelle who have had a full on week trying to get their heads around all things Amesbury! However, from what I can see, they seem to be coping really well - still smiling at least! They are a very welcome addition to the team. We wish Georgia all the best as she takes up her new role as assistant team leader along with Amaria in Koru Hub.
I just want to briefly mention the ongoing action by primary principals as we fight for pay parity with secondary principals and better pay and conditions for principals of small schools. It does confound me that the settlement offer provided for a unified pay scale for teachers across the schooling sector (fantastic!) but did not show the same commitment to primary principals. In fact, I found the statement in the Accord between the Ministry of Education, NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA Te Wehengarua somewhat offensive where it said, "The extent to which an UPS [unified pay scale] relates to Principals will be a matter for future discussion". In that statement there is not even a commitment to parity. Only a commitment to discuss whether it might be something the Ministry will consider at some stage.
I am not unrealistic or unreasonable. I accept that there is only so much money to go around and I am prepared to accept a plan for parity to be implemented over time if that is what is necessary. However, I am not prepared to settle for a commitment to discuss whether primary principals should have parity with their secondary counterparts who lead schools of a similar size. Refusing the settlement offer was a matter of self-respect - of valuing the job we do as leaders of primary schools and acknowledging that our roles are just as complex (with considerably less resourcing, I might add - but more about this another time). We want a fair deal that gives us parity with secondary principals. We want small school principals to be valued so we can attract and retain them, and we want principals' workload and well-being issues addressed.
As a result, we are currently involved in a partial strike to mid August. This does not mean we are working less hours. It will not affect students, teachers or school communities, but involves a withdrawal by principals from some forms of engagement with the Ministry. You will probably not notice anything different. However, hopefully, the Ministry does.
Here's to a great term with lots of wonderful learning for our students!
Nga mihi mahana