I have recently been away from school attending educational conferences in both Brisbane and Wellington to learn more about the current educational progress as well as hearing from leaders in education from across the world. It is never easy when you leave school for a period of time but I would like to thank our school leadership and administration team who are able to continue with ‘business as usual’. A particular thanks to Ms Cate Knowles, who stepped up and picked up some of my work as Acting Principal.
Last week we had John Parsons, safety and cyber expert, speaking to all our students throughout the day on the personal responsibilities that they need to have and develop to keep themselves safe and to think carefully before doing anything, particularly online.
That evening he ran a session for our community and it was great to see such a good turnout of parents wanting to know more about ways to educate and be involved in their child’s online presence. Having attended many of John’s parent sessions, I continue to get more information and learning each time.
Teachers Industrial Action and Rolling Strikes
It is a difficult time for educators across Primary, Secondary and Area Schools as the Unions negotiate for a range of better conditions with the Ministry over the coming weeks. The concerns from the PPTA and NZEI on behalf of teachers revolve around workload, remuneration and teacher supply which need to be resolved not only for the benefit of our students but also our future economy. I speak to many people particularly business owners, about the vitally important role our teachers play in not only education but in creating student passion and connections that will enable them to be successful in their future.
The 3 key areas at the heart of this action is Teacher Supply, Remuneration and Workload but they are all connected. In the case of our school, we are and need to appoint high quality, committed teachers and we are finding it increasingly more difficult to find these teachers. That is due to the lack of people entering the training for this profession. The main reason that we are unable to find innovative, passionate and knowledgeable people is because they can earn far more, so why would you do this? And due to the shortage, then workload increases as we meet the gaps incurred.
We are also finding nationally, that of those who come into our profession, a number leave the teaching profession for a job that is better financially within the first 5 years. With an increasing workforce age this is being exacerbated and even those currently in training will not meet the gaps we have now. I look with optimism that the PPTA/NZEI and Government can develop a strategy that works for all in building our education profession so that we have the best teachers in front of our children who are the future of our business workforce.
It is wonderful to see the continued interest in our High School with 9 nominations for our Geraldine High School Carew Peel Forest Board of Trustees. The last 2 elections has seen us having to go through a voting process. This is not common in many places around the country and for me is a sign of community responsibility in wanting to support and ensure Geraldine High School caters and is responsive to all the needs of our students.
The current BOT have worked extremely hard over the last 3 years and I thank them for their total commitment to ensuring we are giving our students the best possible education and opportunities. They are often attending a variety of different meetings whether it be Student Council, Health & Safety or annual meetings with every department HOD. They would all do 4-5 hours weekly but our BOT Chair, Mrs Sally Prattley, would be doing between 10-20 hours per week as well as her job as a Theatre Nurse in Timaru.
I would like to acknowledge the BOT members who are stepping down at these elections and thank them all for the strong governance and determination to ensure the school is in a better position going into the next 3 years. Thanks to Mr Tristan Leov for his involvement in the financial position of our school over the last 6 years; to Mr David Hay, who has been our Staff Rep for the last 15 Years and has been involved in student meetings along with being the voice of our staff; to Mrs Fra Mills who has been the Carew Peel Forest Rep but also committed to the progress that Geraldine High School has made over the 3 years; and to Mrs Tracey Nelson, who has been involved in the International area, student meetings and HR recruitment over the last 6 years.
We now look forward to new perspectives and ideas with new members joining the BOT to add to the positive direction that we are on.
Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā tātou katoa