INDEPENDENT NEWS

Call For New Way To Staff Schools – On Need Not Numbers

Published: Wed 5 Oct 2022 01:12 PM
Secondary principals and teachers are calling on the Minister of Education to implement a new model of staffing secondary schools that is based on student need, rather than student numbers.
Kate Gainsford, principal of Aotea College and Chair of the Secondary Principals’ Council, told the PPTA Te Wehengarua Annual Conference today
that the current staffing formula, based on schooling 80 years ago, fails as a resourcing model in a modern school system.
“The formula is not based on the actual needs of schools. For example, schools of similar size receive the same guidance and pastoral staffing component,
but a needs-based formula would cater adquately for the number of students as well as recognising that students with serious pastoral and guidance support needs are not evenly distributed across schools.”
The new Equity Index, an equity funding system which replaces the old school decile system, gives schools a far more accurate measure of the relative needs of their students,
and provides the basis for a more needs-based approach to staffing schools.
Previous governments had reviewed how secondary schools were staffed but had failed to make fundamental changes, so the principals’ council had worked with the sector to develop a new model itself.
Kate Gainsford says the current staffing model was based largely on a school’s roll size.
“The new model would enable schools to be staffed more directly for need through five avenues: staffing for delivering curriculum without excessive class sizes,
guidance pastoral and learning support, professional development and mentoring, and school leadership and management, with additonal staffing for things like
beginning teacher time allowances, online learning and the extra work periodically imposed on schools by government, such as the NCEA changes.
“This model would give us enough pastoral care and guidance staffing to meet the huge demands schools are currently facing, enough staffing to
properly run our schools without having to rob the curriculum or the pastoral staffing, and enough staffing to run reasonable class sizes at all levels
to improve teaching and learning and to remove pressures from teachers struggling to compensate for the disadvantage to students of being in overlarge classes.
“Having a model developed by principals that PPTA Te Wehengarua takes under its wing as policy allows us to promote and fight for
a very specific design that will supply enough staffing to meet all of the needs of students and to meet them adequately, regardless of how rich or poor
the community is that we serve or the particular challenges that our communities may face.”

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