The Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) and Ministry of Education have been renegotiating the Secondary Teacher's Collective Agreement for a number of months with very little progress being made. The PPTA has notified secondary schools across the country that a first round of industrial action will take place throughout Term 1 until a new agreement has been reached and settled. This industrial action will be in the form of union members not providing internal relief cover.
When teachers are away from school due to illness, professional development, meetings, leave etc., we normally bring in relief teachers to cover the majority of lessons. You will be aware of staffing shortages across all sectors and education is no exception. We have only a small number of external relief teachers. Due to the way in which secondary school timetables function, often there are gaps in the relief timetable each day which cannot be covered by an external reliever and we need to have an internal teacher with a free period take the class. Under this industrial action we will not be able to use our own teachers to cover these internal relief classes.
What are the implications of this?
1. Rostering Year Levels Home: we may need to roster year groups to work from home if we do not have the capacity to cover classes. Unfortunately this may be at short notice and all students in the year group would have to learn from home. It is vital that all parents/caregivers have downloaded our school app as we will inform you about rostering home via app notification. Rostering home may impact junior students more than senior students but we hope to try keep this to a minimum but parents of all students need to be aware of this.
2. Combining Classes: under instructions of the industrial action we are able to combine smaller classes and have one of our teachers take the class. However, the teacher would not teach their own students and would be in a supervisory capacity. This may be able to be used with senior classes but would impact on their learning.
3. Students Working Online At School: The gym may be converted into a large-scale "classroom" with the Principal overseeing students working independently online if there are no relievers available. Students would work online so it is very important that all students bring their fully-charged device to school every day. Should the industrial action extend into term 2 then this option would no longer be available due to the school redevelopment.
4. Cancellation/Postponement of some school events and trips: As we will need to reduce the pressure on our relief system as much as possible, some school events and trips which require relief will need to be postponed or cancelled. We will also need the support of parents and the community to act as volunteers at some school events and on some trips in order for them to take place. As a school we believe the Education Outside The Classroom (EOTC) is extremely important as learning occurs in every different setting, not just in a classroom. We want our students to have a holistic education and need the support of the community at this time to help make this happen.
5. Students MUST bring a device to school every day: If we need to combine classes or use the gym as a space for students to work in independently while being supervised by the Principal, students will need to have a device. It is extremely important students bring a fully-charged device to school every day.
This is completely outside the control of the College and we are working hard to try to find ways to minimise disruption to learn as much as possible.
If you know of any registered teachers within our community (primary or secondary trained) who are interested in relief teaching please get them to make contact with the college!