Employment – Information For New Teachers
The information contained in this bulletin will provide you with some of the essentials about your conditions of employment, contact details for education sector agencies, and major aspects of the school’s organisation.
Secondary Teachers Collective Agreement (STCA)
All secondary teachers are employed under the term of the STCA whether a member of the secondary teachers’ union (PPTA) or not. The STCA specifies the procedures for the employment and dismissal of teachers, the teacher’s salary scale and process for moving up the salary scale, hours of work, leave entitlements, and reimbursements teachers are entitled to. Details of the award can be found on the PPTA website www.ppta.org.nz under “Publications and Links”.
New Zealand Teachers Council
It is a requirement that all teachers in New Zealand schools have a current teachers practising certificate issued by the New Zealand Teachers Council (NZTC). There are different categories of registration:
- Provisionally Registered Teachers: Have recently graduated from an approved programme of teacher education in New Zealand or overseas.
- Subject To Confirmation: Teachers who have not taught in New Zealand continuously for at least two out of the previous five years.
- Full Registration: Teachers who have met the NZTC Satisfactory Teacher Dimensions.
It is the responsibility of all teachers to apply to the NZTC to become registered and to renew their teachers practising certificate every three years. New applications can take up to six weeks so it is important that beginning teachers get this process underway as soon as they are able.
Information about becoming registered can be obtained from the NZTC website www.teacherscouncil.govt.nz
Advice and Guidance Programme For Provisionally Registered Teachers
It is an obligation of the school to provide provisionally registered and subject to confirmation teachers with a programme of support and professional development that will enable them to meet the NZTC Satisfactory Teacher Dimension and gain full registration. For beginning teachers this programme will continue for up to two years, possibly longer, with most intensive support in the first year. For overseas trained teachers or teachers returning to the profession, a much shorter timeframe would be expected. At Pukekohe High School this programme is under the direction of a senior manager and comprises:
- An induction programme (for all new staff) on matters of school organisation, systems, procedures, expectations of teachers, school goals.
- Appointment of a supervising teacher as a mentor, support person.
- Meetings to discuss professional issues
- Observations of lessons and feedback
- Opportunities to observe other teachers
- Participation in appropriate courses
- Maintaining a personal record of professional learning and programme involvement
Code of Ethics
All teachers are bound by the Code of Ethics that has been developed by the NZTC.
Professional standards exist for all secondary school teachers. The standards describe expectations of teacher performance in three levels:
- Beginning teachers: who have not gained full registration and are in their first two years of teaching.
- Classroom teachers: have taught for at least two years, have gained full registration, and display a high level of competence in the performance of their teaching responsibilities.
- Experienced teachers: are highly skilled practitioners and classroom managers, have a highly developed understanding of teaching and learning and are able to provide assistance and support to colleagues.
The professional standards form the basis of a classroom teacher’s job description. Each year, all teachers are appraised against their relevant set of professional standards. It is an objective of the school’s advice and guidance programme, appraisal system and professional development programme, to see teachers progress through the different levels of the professional standards, and to see that experienced teachers continue to practice at high level.
All teacher salaries are funded by the Ministry of Education and schools are required to pay teachers according to their appropriate step on the salary scale contained in Section Four of the Collective Agreement. Schools are not at liberty to make additional payments to teachers. A teacher’s step on the salary scale is based upon
- Qualifications as approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA))
- Length of service
- Current or last step on the salary scale if transferring from another New Zealand school.
The process for determining a teacher’s salary step can take some weeks, particularly at the start of a school year. This timeframe can be reduced by contacting the school as soon as an appointment is confirmed and supplying:
- Certified copy of NZQA assessment of qualifications
- Certified copies of teaching qualifications
- An Inland Revenue taxation number
While the school will undertake all the necessary payroll paperwork, the assessment of a teacher’s starting salary is not done by the school but is done by a central pay authority. The school may indicate what an expected salary might be, but that is an indication only and the school is not bound by that indication. If a teacher’s correct commencement salary has been delayed, the school will provide financial assistance in return for a post dated cheque to cover the amount of that assistance. It is illegal for the school to make an unconditional salary advance.
Teachers not at the top of the salary scale are eligible for annual increments to the next salary step following a satisfactory assessment against their appropriate set of professional standards. This attestation will be conducted by the teacher’s appraiser who will recommend whether a salary increment should occur or not. A separate policy on attestations for salary increments outlines the procedures in full.
The charter is a statement of the school’s core ideologies and its vision for the future. It comprises three sections:
- Our core values
- Our purpose
- Our envisioned future
The school’s strategic and annual plans identify goals and strategies towards the fulfilment of the terms of our charter. The charter can be viewed on the school’s website.
Overall management and direction of the school is the responsibility of the senior management team which comprises the principal, associate principal, and three assistant principals. For the purposes of curriculum delivery, the school is divided into eight faculties each headed by a faculty manger. The school has an extensive pastoral network.
Teacher Non-Contact Time
The Collective Agreement requires schools to provide teachers with a minimum of five non-contact hours a week based on a 25 one hour period timetable. The school’s timetable comprises 24 one hour teaching periods a week. Teachers therefore can expect to teach a maximum of 19 periods a week less the following time allowances:
- First year teachers will teach up to 15 periods a week
- Second year teachers will teach up to 17 periods a week
- The school will provide management unit holders with one non-contact per management unit
The schedule of staff meetings includes full staff meetings, faculty and/or subject department meetings, and house staff meetings. These are held each Monday after school for approximately one hour. Additional subject department meetings may be arranged by your head of department on an as needed basis.
The school places much importance on the professional development of all of staff and each year school-wide development priorities are identified. A dedicated staff professional development period is held each Wednesday from 2.30. The programme includes full staff, faculty, subject department and individual activities and meetings.
The school has a significant investment in information technology and teachers are encouraged to develop their IT skills and to make full use of the school’s network. All staff are provided with access to the computer network for administrative and teaching purposes. In addition, the school is a participant in the “laptops for teachers” programme through the Ministry of Education.
Access to the network and participation in the laptop programme requires all staff to follow certain protocols and agreements.