Operations Update, Term 4 2018

Tēnā koutou.

Welcome to the start of Term 4.

In each of these updates I tell you that we have been busy in the term before. Term 3 was no exception with a larger than normal volume in enquiries received. The result is that our team in the Advisory and Support Centre, as well as our regional advisers are, or have been, operating at capacity. Some of this has been due to industrial action, some due to the complexity of the cases received and some looks to be the ‘Term 3 blues.’

As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any feedback. I’m keen to know if there are any particular subjects that you would like to hear about as part of these updates.

Thanks for the work you do.

Nāku noa na

General Manager, Operations

In this update:


NZSTA update

There have been a number of goings and comings since the last update.


  • Katharina Friedli (Integrated Adviser, Northland), Nigel Kirkpatrick (Integrated Adviser, Central South), Sarah Campbell (Governance Adviser, Central South), Alice Camaivuna (Employment Adviser, Central South), Amol Shejwal (Employment Adviser, Central South) and Andrea Beyer-Rieger (Regional Coordinator, Central South).

I’m very excited to welcome them all and the experience, skills and knowledge that they bring with them.


  • Steve Jamison (Integrated Adviser, Central South) left us at the end of September, heading to a generalist HR role with Defence 

Steve has been an integral part of the Central South team and has been a national go-to person on the employment side of Kahui Ako. We wish him all the best.

Advisory and Support Centre opening hours

The Advisory & Support Centre (ASC) had a very busy term 3 with just over 9000 requests for support from trustees. Of particular note during this period was the spike in calls in the lead up to the strike on 15 August. In the 2 ½ week period from the end of July until 15 August, the team handled over 2,400 calls for service. The term break was a welcome respite for the team however they were still busy reviewing website content and other resources to ensure these were up to date and fit for purpose. This work continues as we head into the new school term.

The trial of the change to the ASC operational hours is still ongoing. The data we are collecting confirms that our core hours are still 9am until 3pm daily with Monday being our busiest day and Thursday and Friday being our least busy days of the week. Interestingly the use of email is steady throughout the week and remains a good option for the less urgent inquiries. Anything received on a weekend or public holiday is dealt with on the next business day by the team.

The team are looking forward to term 4 where we expect it to be just as busy as schools head towards the end of the year and all that it entails. As a reminder you can contact the ASC Team Monday to Thursday 8am to 6pm and 8am until 5pm on Friday during term time, and Monday to Friday 8am until 5pm during the holidays. Alternatively you can email you inquiry to either govadvice@nzsta.org.nz or eradvice@nzsta.org.nz.

As it is important for our team to stay on top of current issues, every Tuesday between 11:30am and 12:30pm the ASC closes for the team to undertake professional development. During this time you can either leave a voice message or email us and we will respond on our return.

Collective bargaining and strike action

The current round of collective bargaining is receiving significant media attention due, mostly, to the remuneration claims tabled by the union. As I write this, primary principals and teachers are voting on what form the next round of industrial action might take.

We are working closely with both the Ministry and NZEI Te Riu Roa as they look for ways to break the impasse, but boards should be aware that further industrial action is a very real possibility. We will keep you informed as things develop.

The Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement has also expired and negotiations have been underway for some weeks between the Ministry and the PPTA. This is following the same path as primary with there being a high likelihood of industrial action should agreement not be reached. The PPTA have recently signalled that a series of Paid Union Meetings (PUMs) will occur between 7 -23 November. The purpose of these meetings is to update members on bargaining and discuss possible responses. NZSTA information in relation to PUMs can be found on our website.

The Special Residential Schools’ Collective Agreement is a relatively small agreement. It has also expired and bargaining talks are currently underway.

If you have any questions in relation to the four agreements, you can contact us at bargaining@nzsta.org.nz.

Child protection policy

Following recent media attention around schools that lack a child protection policy, we remind boards that there is a requirement to have one and that it should be available, either via the school website or as a hard copy at the school if requested. NZSTA has a draft child protection policy as part of its Governance Framework which can be found on our website and we can provide assistance with drafting a policy if required.

Triennial trustee elections 2019

NZSTA has begun planning for the 2019 triennial trustee elections. Dates have been gazetted (17 May – 21 June 2019), with the common date 7 June.  Given it is almost the end of the year, we encourage boards to give thought now to their succession planning, election promotion and who to appoint as returning officer. Ideally the appointment (and letter of appointment) is done at the board’s first meeting of the year, along with setting the election date.

NZSTA will be setting up a temporary dedicated team to deal solely with elections issues from early in the New Year. We will be sending board chairs, principals and returning officers updates on getting ready for the elections, and the first one will be sent out shortly.In the meantime, the ASC are available to assist with any queries you may have.

Provisional staffing notices

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.

Performance review/appraisal

The board, as a good employer, needs to ensure that a valuable and effective principal performance review/appraisal process is in place. This process both supports the development of the principal as well as ensuring accountability in the area of student achievement. NZSTA has many resources to assist the board which include an online learning module, principal performance management policy and principal performance agreement template and guide. Advisers on the ASC can provide further information.

Additionally, NZSTA maintains a list of consultants with educational expertise who have undergone an endorsement process to ensure they are effective, collaborative and knowledgeable in assisting boards and working with principals. If you are interested in a consultant for the 2019 year, we recommend you contact our Advisory and Support Centre for information as soon as possible, as many consultants become fully booked.

Principal wellness

From 2017 a “wellbeing” goal was recommended for inclusion in NZSTA and the Teaching Council’s principal performance agreement template. We have had queries from some boards and principals as to how this can used as part of the performance review.

This presents an opportunity for the employer and the principal to have a good conversation about how the board, as a good employer, can support the principal’s wellbeing.

Principalship is a big job with many responsibilities and discussing what strategies the principal will use to manage, as well as how the board is prepared to support the principal, is important.

The board can ask themselves:

  • What are we currently doing to support our principal’s wellness?
  • What else could we be doing?
  • What would the principal prefer?
  • Are there ways of working more efficiently?  for example:  setting expectations for community and staff that there are not instant replies to non-urgent school emails and phone calls, particularly in evenings and weekends.
  • Are board meetings well managed and time efficient?
  • Is opportunity provided for ensuring the principal has uninterrupted time for project work, analysis and reflection.
  • Would the principal like opportunity for some professional support, for example a mentor on a particular project?
  • Does the board acknowledge and appreciate the work of the principal publicly and privately?

Don't delay starting principal recruitment

It is important to be proactive around the recruitment of your next principal. A resignation or retirement should be acted on immediately. Any delay in getting started on planning and preparation could impact the board’s ability to carry out a robust process to find the best leader for your school. It’s important to allow sufficient time, at first, to develop a clear understanding of the skills and experience needed based on the charter and strategic plan of your school. Once those have been developed, they will form the basis for the next steps: creating your application pack and role description, reference checking, interviewing and the criteria upon which you make the final decision.

We recommend the board start reading about first steps with our website and online module and then  contact the advisory and support centre for further advice as well as information about endorsed consultants, who your board may wish to engage to provide educational and process expertise.


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