Operations Update, Term 1 2019

Tēnā tatou katoa,

A new year is an exciting time to come back refreshed and looking forward to the opportunities of the coming year.

2019 will potentially be one of the busiest yet for NZSTA, with trustee elections, ongoing collective negotiations, new legislation coming into effect, and the Tomorrow’s Schools proposals to be considered.

The NZSTA operations team is rolling up its sleeves to ensure that we continue to effectively provide you with all the advice and support you need.  We acknowledge and appreciate the work you do in governing your schools.

This Term 1 Update is coming from our Senior Advisory team:
  • Sue Cotter and Liz Riddiford, Senior Advisers, Governance
  • Catherine Bates and Nicole Williams, Senior Advisers, Employment
because we have had to say goodbye to Rob Gold, our General Manger Operations. We wish him well in his new role in the Ministry of Education.

For any questions or concerns all roads can lead to us if you contact the Advisory and Support Centre via govadvice@nzsta.org.nz or eradvice@nzsta.org.nz

Nā mātou noa, nā

Sue, Liz, Catherine and Nicole

Kōrari programme

Learn more about the role of a school trustee
The programme provides governance training for people who’d like to learn about the role of the school trustee. Sessions are being planned around the country for those who’d like to learn more about Kōrari. Registrations to Kōrari are available on the NZSTA website on the Information for parents page.

Once registered you'll have access to the:
  • Learning modules
  • Sessions and events in your region
  • Personal record of learning

Student wellbeing

Boards are required to provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students. Research shows that when young people feel safe and cared about at school they are better able to learn and there are critical links between student wellbeing and achievement.

Wellbeing@School hosts a range of evidence-based tools, resources, and services which are funded by the Ministry of Education and free for schools to use. There are two toolkits that can be used to build the board’s capacity to create a safe climate, deter aggressive and bullying behaviour and think critically about improving the way in which the school includes all students, particularly those with extra support needs.
  • Wellbeing@school self-review toolkit
  • Inclusive practices self-review toolkit
NZSTA would also encourage boards to complete the NZCER Wellbeing@School survey at the link above.

Collective bargaining

Primary and Secondary Teachers, Primary Principals Collective Agreements
Collective Bargaining continues to feature in the media, highlighting pay and workload issues.

NZSTA is working closely with the Ministry of Education, NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers' Association as the parties look for resolution. The parties continue negotiations through mediation with further dates set.

This is an ongoing process and the possibility of further industrial action exists. We will keep you informed as things develop,

Special Residential Schools
Negotiations for the Special Residential Schools Collective Agreement have been completed. These changes will be ratified on 28th February 2019.

Secondary and Area School Groundstaff

The Secondary and Area Groundstaff Collective Agreement has expired without bargaining being initiated. Union members should now revert to individual employment agreements based on terms and conditions from the expired collective agreement. We recommend you contact the Advisory and Support Centre for advice in setting this up.

Queries and comments on the above can be directed to bargaining@nzsta.org.nz.

2019 Trustee elections

Preparations for 2019 Elections are well underway at NZSTA. We welcome our Elections project manager, Kathryn Ridgway and her team of advisers dedicated specifically to responding to election enquiries. This dedicated team is in addition to our advisory and support team who will continue to provide advice and support to both boards or trustees and election returning officers.

By now, boards should have turned their minds to appointing their election returning officer and being proactive around succession planning. NZSTA has developed a governance support resource to assist with getting started.

The NZSTA trustee election website includes advice for boards around preparing for and promoting the elections.

The same website also provides useful information for community members who may be considering standing for election including details of the Kōrari programme – a series of workshops to be delivered around the country providing an introduction to school trusteeship. View the page here.

Once appointed, returning officers (ROs) should register on the RO section of the election website. They are welcome to download the updated 2019-2022 RO handbook.The hard copy 2019-2022 edition is currently in its final stages of production, and will shortly be posted out to boards for their returning officers to use.

If you have any questions or would like advice in relation to the triennial elections, you can contact the Advisory and Support Centre elections team on 0800 election (0800 353 284) or by email: electionsadvice@nzsta.org.nz


Student representative residential programme - Spirit of Adventure

In January and February 120 student representatives participated in three sailings on board the Spirit of New Zealand in a joint venture between NZSTA and the Spirit of Adventure Trust. This is an annual NZSTA event that provides student trustees with governance professional development and opportunities to move outside their comfort zones and increase their confidence to take on challenges in life.

The Spirit of Adventure programme complements the board chair residential programme which will be delivered in 2020, in line with NZSTA’s usual schedule.

Trustee professional development

A reminder that NZSTA, as the employer representative, provides advice and support to boards who may need to reduce staffing for 2019. It is critical that the process be timely and appropriate. If you have a reduction and have not yet sought advice, we recommend contacting the ASC as soon as possible and checking information on our website.

Planning and reporting

As we are all aware, the Education Amendment Act (EAA) 2018 passed into law on 24 October 2018. The new planning and reporting framework for boards brought in by the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 will come into effect 1 January 2020 and the EAA 2018 brings in a transitional process. An important summary of key planning and reporting changes for the board in 2020 and up to date information can be found on the NZSTA website.

Minimum wage increase

From 1 April 2019, the minimum wage will increase to $17.70 per hour, an increase of $1.20 per hour. Novopay will automatically apply the new minimum wage to any employees currently paid at a lesser rate. Additionally, changes which incur costs may potentially occur to pay scales where steps fall below the minimum. This would mean increases to those employees paid above the minimum in order to preserve relativities in the pay scale. These are still under negotiation between the Ministry and the relevant unions and we will provide information as soon as it is available.

The Government also set indicative rates of $18.90 from 1 April 2020 and to $20 from 1 April 2021. These rates will be subject to each year’s annual review, but boards need to plan accordingly for future budgets.

Fixed term agreements 

We are seeing an increase in concerns raised regarding genuine reasons for fixed term appointments. School employers need to ensure familiarity and compliance with the legal requirements around fixed term employment as there could be a large cost to getting it wrong. A summary is available on our website.

NZSTA offers forms and templates for fixed term employees. If you need to use wording other than that specified in the templates, we recommend that you first allow sufficient time for it to be reviewed by NZSTA’s Advisory and Support Centre.

If unsure whether there is a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds for a fixed term, seek advice from the ASC before entering into or ending a fixed term agreement.

Domestic Violence - Victims' Protection Act 2018

The Domestic Violence Victims’ Protection Act 2018 (the Act) comes into effect from 1 April 2019. This Act amends the Domestic Violence Act 1995, Employment Relations Act 2000, Health and Safety at Work Act 2015, Holidays Act 2003, and Human Rights Act 1993 with a view to enhancing legal protections for victims of domestic violence.

Domestic violence means violence from one person against another person who is in a domestic relationship e.g. a partner or family member or is in a close personal relationship.

Violence means physical, sexual or psychological abuse e.g. intimidation, harassment, financial. The Act also applies when a child lives at the residence and experiences domestic violence.

NZSTA will provide more information and guidance on the changes before 1 April however the main points are summarised below.

Domestic Violence Leave
There is now a new category of leave under the Holidays Act 2003 which supports an employee who is “affected by domestic violence” which provides up to 10 days paid domestic violence leave per year after an employee has completed 6 months continuous employment. The entitlement applies for each 12 month of continuous employment. Unlike sick leave, domestic violence leave does not accrue and cannot be carried forward. This leave applies even if the domestic violence occurred sometime in the past.

Flexible Working Arrangements
An employee affected by domestic violence is also entitled to seek flexible working arrangements, for a short-term period of no more than 2 months.

Proof may be required by an employer if a request is made for flexible working arrangements. Failure to provide that proof is one of the grounds that an employer can rely on in refusing a request. The other ground is that the employer cannot reasonably accommodate the request, for example, an inability to re-organise work among existing staff. 


Tomorrow's Schools report - seeking your views

By now you should have had time to look through the Taskforce report and give some thought to their recommendations for how the role of school boards of trustees should change.
If you are an NZSTA member board you should have received a link to our member survey asking you to tell us what you think about the Taskforce’s views. We’re also asking for some base-line information about trustees’ day jobs to help us dispel the myth that parent trustees aren’t up to the job. Please check Membership Matters dated 8 February for links to this survey (you will have to log into the members' area of the website to access it).


Publishing annual reports on a website controlled by the school

With the end of the 2018 financial year now past, and deadlines for annual reports now looming, it is timely to remind boards that they need to publish their annual report on their school website. If your school does not have a website the Ministry of Education has a process for publishing the report. It is important for the school’s community to know and understand the work of the board.

Note: It is also now a legal requirement (section 87AB Education Act). See our Education Act Update page for more information.
For advice, Contact Advisory and Support Centre on 0800 782 435, option 1.


Acting principals

When a board employs an acting/relieving principal, or a member of staff acts up into the role of principal in the absence of the principal, the delegations for the principal would then sit with the acting principal until such time as the principal returns from leave. This applies no matter the reason for the leave (i.e. sick leave, discretionary leave, study or sabbatical leave).
In these circumstances, the principal on leave is not able to perform their duties as the day-to-day manager of the school and instead the day-to-day operations of the school will be the responsibility of the acting principal.
It would be best practice for the board to ensure delegations are discussed with the acting principal and that these delegations be recorded in writing.



Principal Performance Review

Part 4 of the Principals’ Collective Agreements, cover principal performance review. The board has an obligation to put in place an annual performance agreement and carry out a review (appraisal) of the principal every year.  The purpose of this process is to ensure the principal is aware of the board’s objectives, assist the principal’s professional learning and development, and improve/acknowledge performance in terms of accountability and development.
Developing the performance agreement should be a consultative process with the board (or delegate/s of the board) and principal. Templates, advice and guidance for boards on the performance review process can be found on the NZSTA website.

Boards who wish to engage further support in this process from educational performance review/appraisal  consultants are recommended to go to our Endorsed Consultant page, which has profiles of consultants who are endorsed by NZSTA, as well as general guidance about working with consultants in performance review/appraisal and appointment processes.


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