School principals plans for next year have been thrown into disarray as a groundbreaking teacher training programme is ruled illegal.
The scheme enables high-achieving university graduates to do an intensive, six-week course before they start work in low decile schools, training on the job for two years. Principals and parents have praised the scheme but the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) filed a legal challenge.
The Employment Relations Authority ruled teacher graduates were illegally appointed to jobs through the government-funded Teach First New Zealand programme, disadvantaging qualified teachers who were excluded from the roles.
The Government has committed $6.4 million over four years to the programme, about to start training it’s third batch of graduates, but the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) filed a legal challenge.The 50 or so teachers already posted to schools face uncertainty over future employment and it’s unclear if the future teaching posts of graduates about to start their six-week course will be suspended while the Ministry of Education and Teach First resolve the issues.
Northland College principal Jim Luders, one of 20 school heads to file affidavits in support of the trainee teachers, said he was “deeply disappointed” in the PPTA for taking the action.
“Every single Teach First candidate we’ve had has just been outstanding, they are so thorough, so hard-working and so resilient, it’s unbelievable. Our kids get major benefit from them.
“I put my kids first, and for my kids, these guys [Teach First trainees] are outstanding. This is the best thing for kids in low decile kids and this system works.”
How very sad. We often hear from the teacher unions that we need to spend more money on getting great teachers into low decile schools. We have a programme that does exactly that – gets some of the best graduates in NZ agreeing to spend two years teaching in low decile schools, and it gets blocked because basically they’re not union members.
UPDATE: PPTA have said that many trainees were PPTA members and that they back Teach First, just not how it has been implemented.