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Sacking ‘only’ 400 teachers ‘good news’ say Nats

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, May 30th, 2012 - 87 comments
Categories: budget2012, education - Tags:

National has copped a hell of a backlash for increasing class sizes. The internal polls are said to be diabolical. There are a million parents of school-age kids out there, and they’re pissed off.

Particularly when, out of what appears to be sheer incompetence, the Nats cancelled the funding for intermediate technology teachers altogether. Now, they’ve flipp-flopped and dipped into the emergency money (5 days after the Budget was unveiled! – it hasn’t even passed yet and they’re having to over-ride it).

National say that most schools will lose 1 teacher and the 10% that would lose more will be capped at 2.

They won’t say how many fewer teachers that means but with over 2,000 schools that means more than 400, and probably more like the 1,000 teaching positions they thought they were scrapping before they discovered they had accidentally sacked 300 intermediate technology teachers too.

Hekia Parata – who has pulled a Melissa Lee by ruining her career aspirations including her shot at leadership with her first big test – is so out of touch that she says this is “good news“.

The rest of us are just thinking that Mrs ‘I had 42 kids in my class and it didn’t hurt me’ is the best ad for smaller class sizes out there.


87 comments on “Sacking ‘only’ 400 teachers ‘good news’ say Nats”

  1. Only someone living in a Crosby Textor constructed illusion would believe that sacking 400 teachers was “good news”.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      No, the worry is that the noise was the goal of the policy. That creepy government wins because Key backed down and we will only lose one or two teachers. Phew. Imagine it happened backwards. That Key cut one or two teachers, and then raised the number cut, the anger would have thrown the government out. The PR requires a crisis theme, because Key is a crisis leader. The results are to the harm of the economy and NZ, time and again.

      • Tom Gould 1.1.1

        You’re on to it. The Tory chooks and shock-jocks are lauding ‘the PM’ for ‘stepping in’ to fix it. Never mind he chairs cabinet and his finger prints are all over it. Looks like the amnesia defence wins out again?

      • You’ve got to wonder exactly how much they’re drinking that they think damaging the party brand this badly for the PM’s brand would somehow be a win for them. Maybe they just underestimated the numbers, or maybe it genuinely was incompetence- but there’s no defending this level of stupidity no matter how you slice it.

  2. ghostwhowalksnz 2

    Trish Parata is now hiding from the media, and leaving it up to ‘master of detail’ Key to walk through the somersault.

    I think the ‘modelling’ they talked about when they came up with the numbers, involved a dartboard

  3. The endless repetition of the idea that 90% of schools will gain or lose less than one teacher equivalent is the best defence National have, and it’s pretty weak. It’s easy enough to work out that quite a number of teaching jobs will be lost, it could be 400, it could be 1,000, but no one can be sure because National is not saying.
    I’d like to see Hekia Parata asked what percentage of schools will gain part of a FTTE. Then I’d like to see her asked how many schools will lose part of a FTTE. And finally, I’d like to see her asked how many teaching positions will become redundant.
    The follow-up question to a reply from Parata saying “I don’t have the figures to hand” could be devastating.
    I’ve also written about it here (link to my blog)

    • DH 3.1

      Parata’s claim of saving $43million probably probably gives the most illuminating guide, using her average teachers salary of $71,000 that’s about 605 FTE teachers the Nats expected to get rid of….

      • Akldnut 3.1.1

        Good point DH, 400 teachers averaging $71,000 would be a saving of $28.4 mil. Theres another 42.6 million being hidden in their bullshit.

    • ianmac 3.2

      I have no doubt that in answer to which schools would gain teachers, she would include those schools which have growing rolls and therefore have a natural increase of teachers as well. There you are. Gained teachers thanks to Clever britches Parata.

      • North 3.2.1

        Which would be patently dishonest……..which is what they’re readily prepared to be to advance the long planned kaupapa to destroy the Welfare State.

        Look at that “Heki Pirau” Parata. What a glossy nothing person bullshitter she is ! Although I have to say she’s probably not fully up with the actual kaupapa…….the sick, potatao ego is being stroked hard and that’s enough for her cheap married to the Old Knight (Lady Parata) vanity. 1,400 of NZ taxpayer dollar for her to be a flash bitch in a limo in Sydney. Disgraceful ! When $300 of several taxis would have done the same job……..she’s being your part Maori Madonna.

        Reality is Key was imported into NZ circa 2000 (by Boag, Roundtable and others) for the purpose of “selling” the kaupapa of destroying the Welfare State without ever revealing the kaupapa. Mr Smile and Wave was shoulder-tapped to front the kaupapa. Because they knew that the cheap wannabe middle could be persuaded that they too could be worth $50 million without ever doing a tap of real productive work. The fraudulent mind-set I hear you say ?

        Do you think Key would have come back without the promise of something particularly marvellous ? To start with, the promise of the seat of some idiot old National Party trusty……. I refer to that old National Party git in Te Atatu, Neeson. Poor prick. They crapped on him. “For The Good Of The Party”.

        Then, you do it well enough……..PM !

        It’s not a ridiculous proposition. Labour was bound to go in the end……..nearly did in 2005. National was always gonna be back sooner or later. Why not get really serious ? Stop pissing around being dumb Kiwis…….really pave the way for the 1% (of which Boag, Roundtable, Key and others are members of course).

        Everything they do seems planned……..even the back downs. They still serve their essential kaupapa. Make NZ a commercial playground for the 1 percenters.

        • Bob

          Aren’t David Shearer, David Cunliffe, Phil Goff and Helen Clark also in the “1%?
          Wow, they must only have big business at heart, those theiving bastards!!

          Stop with the rediculous tin-foil hat arguements and give some actual examples. In what way are they “destroying the Welfare State without ever revealing the kaupapa”? From every article/press release I have seen, they are purely tightening the rules and regulations so that Welfare once again becomes a hand up, not a hand out, just as Labour intended when they brought in the Unemployment Benefit in 1935. It was never intended as a lifetyle choice as some (and I must emphasise the ‘some’, examples http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/6884359/Cracking-it-on-welfare-in-Huntly ) have now become accustomed too. How is that intention wrong?

          For what it’s worth, I agree that National have gone to far with the school funding cut-backs. It is one of the few things that I have not agreed with since National took office. I can see their reasoning behind it (quality of teachers is more of an influence to learning than class size http://www.asianscientist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/129_report_learning_from_the_best_main.pdf compare page 6 to page 13), but can’t see their logic around the way they have decided to approach the issue.

          • felix

            “I can see their reasoning behind it (quality of teachers is more of an influence to learning than class size…”

            Really? Then walk me through it.

            If quality of teachers is more of an influence than class size, then why does this policy only address class size?

            Furthermore, why does it only address it in the wrong direction?

            Nobody – and I do mean nobody – is making an argument that increasing class sizes is of any benefit whatsoever. Yet you think there’s “reasoning” behind it?

            Sorry Bob, I call bullshit on that.

            • Bob

              ““I can see their reasoning behind it (quality of teachers is more of an influence to learning than class size…” Really? Then walk me through it.”

              Sorry Felix, you missed my last comment “but can’t see their logic around the way they have decided to approach the issue”. There is no point in addressing class sizes if you are doing nothing to address the quality of teaching, and I don’t know of an easy, logical way to do so. The vast majority of teachers we have in this country are top notch on an international level, but the teachers that are constantly failing children (based on discussions with Principals and BOT members that I’ve had) are protected by the Teachers Union and almost impossible to get rid of. You could look at upskilling these teachers, but it is very difficult to break bad habits and change attitudes that have developed over time.

              Unfortunately, I don’t have the answers to the problem, and I don’t think any of our political parties do either.

              • Colonial Viper

                Answer is easy: more continuing professional development, professional assessment, and professional support.

                Of course that would mean giving more money to public school teachers and public schools, something that National is deadset against.

              • felix

                So what Bob?

                What I’m asking you to walk me through is how you get from ‘quality of teaching is more of an influence than class size’ to ‘increasing class sizes is a good idea’.

                I don’t think you can do it. And I don’t think Key can either.

          • RedLogix

            they are purely tightening the rules and regulations so that Welfare once again becomes a hand up, not a hand out

            Precisely what do you mean by this Bob?

            Do you think there are jobs available for everyone?

            And if there are not jobs for everyone then there is no ‘handout” for some people?

            And if they have no ‘handout’ then this will mean that they will sleep rough and scavenge in rubbish bins?

            And if they are really desperate Bob and this ‘incentivises’ them …. do you not imagine that they will not keep knocking on your own boss’s door offering to do your job for less than you are paid? Much less if they are really hungry.

            Is that how your logic works?

            • Bob

              “they are purely tightening the rules and regulations so that Welfare once again becomes a hand up, not a hand out. Precisely what do you mean by this Bob?”
              I mean that it should provide enough money to eat, provide shelter, bills (power, phone, internet) and a bit left over for Travel, Clothes and random expenses that crop up. It should not be enough to provide a lifestyle, otherwise where is the incentive to find work when you are already being provided for?

              “Do you think there are jobs available for everyone?”
              I don’t think there are jobs for everyone, but I do know there are people that aren’t willing to take on the jobs that ARE available http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10808678 if they didn’t have disposable income while on the unemployment benefit do you think this would still be the case?

              “And if there are not jobs for everyone then there is no ‘handout” for some people?”
              That is why it is there, for people who are still job seeking, read the reasons why Labour brought this in in the fist place! It was for JOBSEEKERS, as per the above link, it seems to be going wrong somewhere!

              “And if they have no ‘handout’ then this will mean that they will sleep rough and scavenge in rubbish bins?”
              Covered in my first answer above.

              “And if they are really desperate Bob and this ‘incentivises’ them …. do you not imagine that they will not keep knocking on your own boss’s door offering to do your job for less than you are paid? Much less if they are really hungry.”
              It may well be, and if I am not preforming in my job my boss may take them up on the offer. Then I might start my own business and become my own boss, then I get to decide who I employ. Novel idea that, it might provide more jobs as well……..don’t need to worry though because I am in sales and have a proven track record of results, is it worth the risk to my boss to hire someone new for my role where he would have to train them on the product set (cost), and no guarentee they will actually be able to sell anything? Then he has to hire someone new, and train them (double cost), does it start making sense now RedLogix?

              • Colonial Viper

                is it worth the risk to my boss to hire someone new for my role where he would have to train them on the product set (cost), and no guarentee they will actually be able to sell anything? Then he has to hire someone new, and train them (double cost), does it start making sense now RedLogix

                Diddums suddenly realising that being a private sector entrepreneur requires upfront capital investment, uncertainty and risk.

    • Julian Haworth 3.3

      Yes quite right, and John Armstrong in the Herald is spouting verbatim and uncritically National’s line that 90% of schools will gain or lose one teacher. Not good enough Mr. Armstrong.

      • North 3.3.1

        The John Armstrong of “John Key has gravitas…..” fame ? What a tosser !

  4. prism 4

    Great picture. The teachers are having a conference soon at which Parata will speak. It looks like Parata is going to be laying on the liquid entertainment, or dancing on the tables. Though I don’t think there will be much merriment but can only hope there will be some reasoned discussion whereby Parata reveals that NACTs do want a bright, innovative society with matching jobs.

    That would be a position that receives respect instead of the disdain from the wealthy for providing education services and opportunities for the poor who they through their pollies and businesses have deliberately impoverished.

  5. Tiger Mountain 5

    Education is so much more than crowd control. The new curriculum painstakingly developed during the Clark years was trashed by the Natz vandals with their “standards” bs.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      You are right; it’s not crowd control, it’s team management with a goal of getting each individual within the team to do better, which is a much more subtle and difficult concept.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1

        Remember the sunday paper columnist who famously ‘only wanted’ her child to be able to sit on a mat.

        They want a nice docile crowd

  6. sophie 6

    Is somebody able to tell me what a “Teacher Equivalent” is. Are they using these words because it sounds less damaging than losing actual teachers from classrooms.

    • Carol 6.1

      Isn’t it “full time teacher equivalent”? ie sum of part-time teacher hours.

      • sophie 6.1.1

        Thanks Carol. Either way, it’s real people working in classrooms with children.

    • ianmac 6.2

      A school is allocated Full time Teacher Equivalent according to the size of the Roll. The Principal decides just where the numbers per teacher will fall. He may use one FTE for a Reading Recovery Teacher to specialise with 6 year old failing kids. This means a few more kids per teacher to compensate. He may decide to limit a Beginning Teacher to 24 kids. Compensate by giving more kids to other Teachers. The Principal is part of the FTE so if not teaching then his kids are put into other classes.
      So a bald 1:27.5 is not that in practice at all. Some might have 35 kids to compensate.

  7. Richard 7

    Parata was quoted in the Herald as saying:
    “What has become really clear in that is that the Year 7 and 8 have had a 10-year provision for technology, the provision of which was not fully modelled.”
    Sounds really clear to me Hekia? Is that another way of saying you screwed up?
    Key promoted Parata to the job in the hope that all the negative attention National had attracted over National Standards would dissappear with the demotion of the hapless Anne Tolley.
    Sorry Hekia, it will take more than a smile to sell out our education system and get away with it.

  8. ianmac 8

    Anyone notice the expression on Lockwood’s face, as a former Minister of Education, when Parata said in the House “This is Good News.”

  9. Red Rosa 9

    Nice to see a new Minister of Education with the same charm and intelligence of the last one. And always good to see consistency of policy….;)

  10. Dr Terry 10

    Key was obliged to intervene with the foolish Tolley, now he must do the same thing with the “charming and smiling” Parata! Good grief, what an awful time the education sector has been having for a lengthy period!

  11. Red Rosa 11

    Of course all this doesn’t affect the Cabinet much. When it comes to educating their own kids, they go for smaller class sizes at state-subsidized private religious schools. Aka ‘elite’, take your pick.

    To which of course they doubled the subsidies, just weeks after taking office.


  12. I’m only kicking you in the shins, not in the stomach! Hurray, good news everybody!

    • mac1 12.1

      First you kick your opponent in the stomach and wind him, doubling him over- then you ‘apologise’ and kick him in the shins. If the bully picks on the right victim, then the recipient will be grateful that it was only the shins this time. Being winded, the victim can’t object whereas if you kick him in the shins first then they might 1. object forcefully and 2. see you coming the second time.

      This government is about bullying behaviour- hurting, blaming, lying, selfish. Let’s see what happens when parents, teachers and the public in general become assertive.

  13. Andrew 13

    Retailers use this game all the time (Sale price put on after the price is hiked). Where do the figures “5 fold increase (http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/211241/principals-heckle-parata) in teachers come from? It must include some pretty odd bits and pieces like U1 Principal’s release time and the like that don’t really have anything to do with class size. I bet the 5 fold includes preschool too. It would be interesting to know.

  14. Treetop 14

    Key and Parata have certainly shown how much they value teachers, the education of children and the workload of principals. To even take one dollar from education is such a backward step, yet alone 43 million.

    I know what 43 million will not buy. Key and Parata are oblivious to the stress and the wasted hours that principals have to find to try and deliver the same level of education prior to the senseless education cuts in the last budget.

    I am confident to say that when Labour are re elected, sorting out education cuts will be a high priority. Next on the list will probably be housing; in particular HNZ.

    • seeker 14.1

      Good comment Treetop

      “To even take one dollar from education is such a backward step, yet alone 43 million.”

      Not just a backward step but criminal incompetence in my mind. Our children really do not deserve to be diminished by such an amoral, empty headed, money-only minded governement.

      • Bob 14.1.1

        Treetop/Seeker, you could both do with reading this report http://www.asianscientist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/129_report_learning_from_the_best_main.pdf

        Notice how the countries that spend the most are getting the worst results? Perhaps money isn’t the issue. Again, I disagree with the way National are handling this, but I do agree with the concept, and just because you are taking money away does not mean you don’t have the childrens best interests at heart.

        • felix

          “Notice how the countries that spend the most are getting the worst results? Perhaps money isn’t the issue.”

          Or maybe the countries with the worst results actually have more problems to fix. Which costs more money.

          “Again, I disagree with the way National are handling this, but I do agree with the concept, and just because you are taking money away does not mean you don’t have the childrens best interests at heart.”

          Be clear, Bob. What is the “concept” you agree with? Increasing class sizes?

          If so you would be the only person ever to argue that increasing class sizes has “childrens best interests at heart”.

          • Bob

            Felix, did you even read through this? http://www.asianscientist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/129_report_learning_from_the_best_main.pdf
            I am not an expert on education, but the results shown in this report throughout Asia/Australasia show that class size (up to 40 per class in Shanghai where they are still getting top results in Reading, Maths and Science) does not have anywhere near the effect on students learning that quality teaching does. Obviously their needs to be a balance (100/1 ratio probably wouldn’t work for example, but I don’t know anywhere that has tried so I can’t back that up with facts), and their needs to be resources thrown at upskilling a number of our Teachers, and trying to weed out the ‘bad eggs’. This is where I think the latest announcement from National falls short, they have taken from one side without giving back to the other.

            Does this clarify my point at all?

            • Colonial Viper

              Elite private schools advertise class sizes of under 20 as being the best for children and their educational achievement.

              They know best.

            • felix

              Not sure it does clarify your point Bob, but it sure as fuck clarifies your position.

              Stop throwing up these red herrings and false dichotomies. It’s not a choice between smaller classes or better teaching.

              Either smaller classes are better or they’re not. Pick one. Yes or no.

  15. fabregas4 15

    Here is what happens in my school:

    Right now

    Year 1 18 children (recommended 15)
    Year 2 22
    Year 3 22 (Beginning Teacher)
    Year 4/5 26
    Year 6 28

    We still have new entrants to come which will lift us to around 123 children by the end of the year. We are funded for 5 teachers after child 101, the 6th at 126.

    After changes we will be funded for teacher 4 at 97.5 – the 5th at 125 – the 6th at 153.5.’

    So if we hit 123 children at years end we still would not qualify to be fully funded for teacher 5 meaning classes like this
    Year 1 18
    Year 2 24 (can’t in all conscience go higher for 6 year olds)
    Year 3 40
    Year 4/5 41

    You do, upon request, get additional staffing for every three children past each cut off but this doesn’t work well because you cant have a part funded teacher without having the funding from the school operations grant/or the community to cover the rest. My decile 1 school will not be able to top up the salary of a teacher part funded and nor should they.

    • Treetop 15.1

      Thank you for providing an example of what 43 million will not buy.

      What a wasted opportunity for children to learn by increasing the amount of students that a teacher has to teach. Decrease of class size and not increase of class size, is what the government does not get.

    • Dv 15.2

      This needs to published in the media.

    • Treetop 15.3

      Looking at the after changes at years 3 & 4, I expect that more sick leave will be taken.

      How is the increase in student numbers going to affect a relief teacher?

      A big no brainer from the government.

    • ianmac 15.4

      Good stuff Fabregas4. Especially the jump from 6th teacher at 126 to 6th at 153.5 It is disgraceful. But I wonder if they are softening up for another go at Bulk Funding of Salaries?

    • Simon of Glen Eden 15.5

      As a Y3 teacher, 40! if and a big if all of then came to at or above standard I might cope, If not, don’t expect much help (one on one) for Below or Well Below students (Parents will need to hire Private Tutors) Report time would mean learning stops in the class (for a week) while I do formal testing and informal conferencing. And say good bye to Te Reo Maori, Technology and a lot of the ART, there won’t be time for it if I have 6-7 groups in writing reading and maths to work through each day.

    • richard 15.6

      All the kiwi Mums and Dads will be far too busy investing in power companies to be bothered with such trivial things like their kids education. I’m sure John is relaxed.

  16. Matt F 16

    It’s also great news that they’re increasing the chocolate rations from 5oz up to 4oz.

  17. Sacking ‘only’ 400 teachers…

    Any evidence of this? I’ve only seen attrition mentioned.

    Nevertheless, the Nats really stuffed this one up, quite shoddy, but at least they are readjusting when it was brough to their atention.

    • mike e 17.1

      puerile git government apologist brown nosed idiot

    • BernyD 17.2

      Put on the “Clown faces people” they’re onto us.
      We can’t let on we are idiots touting crap our Facist Grandparents spewed.
      Smile we’re on camera, Where’s ShonKey he knows what not to say.

    • North 17.3

      Doubt Doubt Doubt then Apologise Apologise Apologise then more or less as postscript (little little letters) “they’ve not done well”………the apology having been well made in the first place.

      That is extremely dishonest and you do it incessantly Pete George.

  18. Treetop 18

    Two faced Key. Oh how I wish he would sack Banks and reduce the number of MPs in Parliament.

    • Bob 18.1

      He can’t sack Banks, Banks is the leader of the ACT party (not part of National), he could drop Banks from his Ministerial duties, but he would remain in Parliament and still be able to vote with the Government. Sorry to ruin your dreams with reality……..again.

      • felix 18.1.1

        “he could drop Banks from his Ministerial duties”

        So why doesn’t he? He’s sacked other Ministers for far less. Guess he’s not as confident as you that he’d continue to vote with the govt.

        ps I enjoyed your little joke about Banks and ACT not being part of National. Very dry.

        • Bob

          Good question Felix, he possibly should stand down Banks, although has anyone provided any solid proof he has done anything wrong? There are lots of allegations and refuted emails flying around, but has anyone actually provided any hard proof of wrong doing? If there is, I am sure the Police investigation will follow through and John Key won’t have a choice. If not, then do we stand down MP’s every time an allegation is made?

          • Colonial Viper

            If not, then do we stand down MP’s every time an allegation is made?

            It shouldn’t be an automatic procedure. It requires good judgement around what the circumstances and allegations are. Something Key has precious little of.

      • Treetop 18.1.2

        I did not specify what to sack Banks from. Of course it could only be as a minister.

        When it comes to reducing the number of MPs in parliament, I was not specific either. National could vote to reduce MPs to 99, however this is not likely as National do not want to lower the threshold for MMP so that the calibre of people like Banks can prop up a failing government. National know what the unviable thresholds for MMP are when it comes to Banks and Dunne, (both would be gonners with how they are polling).

        I will read the material in your link above. Had you scrolled down you would have seen that the increase of class numbers is what concerns me.

        As a side issue, some DHBs are realising that increasing community services is decreasing the cost of rest home care. This will not work with class numbers.

        • Bob

          My apologies Treetop, I took the 2 points you made in your one sentence as being linked, and therefore took you out of context.

          I would not think that reducing the number of MP’s to 99 would be something anyone on the ‘Left’ would push for. Surely this would put more emphasis on Electorates and less on List MP’s? Last time I looked, the vast majority of electorate seats are Blue ( http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz-election-results-2011/?page=map ) and have been for years (part of the reason we scrapped FPP). Again, I could be wrong on this.

          • Colonial Viper

            I would not think that reducing the number of MP’s to 99 would be something anyone on the ‘Left’ would push for.

            Something that no one on the ‘Right’ is pushing for either.

          • Treetop

            Yes my sentence context was a bit ambiguous.

            Labour have done as well as National, if not better in gaining electorate seats in some elections. A graph would be interesting to see. The thing is, National have all these electorate seats and they have to APPEASE Banks to prop up the government. Something not right here. No consistency on Key’s part perhaphs.

  19. BernyD 19

    All ShonKey has to do is increase corrections staff three fold.
    They obviously have got a lot of teenagers on the way.
    They’ll probably break the “Good News” when they open the crèche in Mt Eden.
    And of course it fits the privatisation methodology perfectly. Win Win for the national party.
    Maybe they can fit some Whanua Ora people in too, jobs for everyone
    The new Nat slogan can read
    “No more recidivism, when they’re safe at school.”

  20. Phil 20

    We really should stop reacting to this strategy.
    It’s old and tired but every time the Nacts use it and we react we reinvigorate it and make it seem new.
    So the Nacts put out a proposal, Key apparently reigns them in, looks wonderful. Those on the left (ish) appear ungrateful to the populace, and Key wins again.
    C’mon guys, the real issue is that we have no bloody alternative to the Nacts, just another bunch of neo capitalists who embrace the free market/socialize the debt, privatize the profit/austerity nonsense.
    No alternative is provided, just a watered down package that if re-hydrated would look, feel and be the same as the Nact package.
    Capitalism, if it walks like a duck and quacks..it’s probably a duck.

  21. We don’t need no Pa-ra-ta
    We don’t need no Anne Tol-ley
    No born to rule Neo-cons
    Go-ver-ning us


    All in all you are just
    Another Brick in the Wall

    All in all you were just
    Another Brick in the Wall

    Seriously, what planet does this Government think we live on? How can mass teacher redundancies be anything but bad?

    If they wanted us to be brought into the 21st Century, I’d say New Zealand education is going in the opposite direction.

  22. Greg 22

    Hi Guys – just for fun I used the internet to do some research of my own. I checked out these PISA scores everyones talking about (pisa.oecd.org) and found that this site has lots of good sound research material freely available. I found the following statement interesting in particular: ‘School systems considered successful spend large amounts of money on education, and tend to prioritise teachers’ pay
    over smaller classes.’ Yep, thats right, class sizes are less important than paying teachers properly. So, if we make classes slightly larger (for 5 of the 13 school years) then we can give more training to teachers and hence, potentially, better pay. Surely only someone with a brain solidified by years of lefty indoctrination (i.e. most teachers) could argue against this?

    • BernyD 22.1

      You can’t compare Educational systems from other counties.

      Who knows what they call or how they judge “Success”, we need to base our thinking on NZ Children.

      It’s results in the Job market that count, rising unemployment and increasing violent crime rates are what we need to prevent.

      If teachers spend all the time available managing the reporting structure and doing paperwork then kids will miss out.

      I think we should be adding staff in the form of Teaching “Support” personnel , which allows for on the job training, entry level salary, Two teaching staff per class (Although an aide could be shared over multiple classes), and ongoing careers for upcoming teaching staff.

      This would reduce the load on Teachers, allow our kids more one on one teaching, and help Senior teachers manage class sizes of 40+

    • Pascal's bookie 22.2

      I can’t be sure I found the exact source you found Greg, (so forgive me if I’m wrong), but doesn’t that research argue that places where teachers are highly respected and paid well enough to attract the brightest into the profession do better than places that don’t value teaching as a profession?

      I’m not sure that your argument, (that reducing class sizes and using the savings to put current teachers on a course, which might possibly, via mechanisms unnamed, increase their salary) follows from the research you don’t actually cite.

      And I’m even more sure that this thinking, sadly to the fore amoung this government and it’s supporters :

      Surely only someone with a brain solidified by years of lefty indoctrination (i.e. most teachers) could argue against this?

      is pretty much exactly the sort of thing they say we should try the opposite of.

      • Greg 22.2.1

        Hi Pascal’s bookie

        You’re right with that last statement. I was naughty putting that in 😉

        A key reference I would site is here:
        http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/11/16/48852721.pdf. The title of this document being “PISA 2009 Results: What Makes a School Successful”.

        Just in case you think I’m a dyed in the wool right winger there is also a paper here showing that performance related pay (to drive teacher effectiveness) is only useful in some circumstances and not in others. If you read this: http://www.pisa.oecd.org/dataoecd/33/16/50328990.pdf you will find that it may not be the most appropriate tool for the New Zealand context.

        I’m all for doing what works or looks like it might be a better strategy. Personally I think this Left vs Right stuff should be left in the 19th century where it might have once made some sense.

        • Greg

          sorry, forgot to add this in – Yes! Lets support and pay teachers well. Could not agree more. Looking at Finland that’s what they do and, as I say, if thats what it takes lets do it.

          • Pascal's bookie


            This governments rhetoric and general approach toward the profession has been dismal. We need to do a lot better.

  23. Dv 23

    Greg- Two examples I have seen
    Both are from teachers/principals

    BOTH have classes of over 40 in the new model.

    Example One
    Year 1 18 children (recommended 15) 18
    Year 2 22 24
    Year 3 22 (Beginning Teacher)
    Year 4/5 26
    Year 6 28

    We still have new entrants to come which will lift us to around 123 children by the end of the year. We are funded for 5 teachers after child 101, the 6th at 126.

    After changes we will be funded for teacher 4 at 97.5 – the 5th at 125 – the 6th at 153.5.’

    So if we hit 123 children at years end we still would not qualify to be fully funded for teacher 5 meaning classes like this
    Year 1 18
    Year 2 24 (can’t in all conscience go higher for 6 year olds)
    Year 3 40
    Year 4/5 41

    Example 2
    1 teacher at my school is 20% of teachers! At each years end I have around 120 children. If I place 15 children in Year 1, then the balance of 105 children must be fitted within three classrooms. Quite frankly 27.5 children is too many in a Year 2 class – especially a rural, decile 1, 88% Maori school. So if I place say 24 in this room I have two classes of 40 left!

    • Greg 23.1

      Hi Dv,

      You had the courtesy to provide a thoughtful response to me so I’ve put some thought into the numbers provided. First of all let me say that I acknowledge that having to manage a school must be a challenge and also that having to apply funding formulas to people will always be a headache.

      After looking at the numbers I must admit I can’t quite line them up. For example in the before case there are 22 children in year three and in the after case there are 40 so I would just ask where the additional kids have come from. This makes analysis difficult. My other challenge with the numbers is that the example discusses a funding model wherein overall teacher numbers are set by the total number of kids at the school (5 teachers at 101, 6 at 126). Excuse my ignorance – is this a rule over and above the ratios set by year (year 1 1:15, year 2 1:27.5 etc)?

      I guess I would just say (as per my point above) that applying funding forumla’s will always be a headache and each school will have its own challenges. The two examples provided above are small schools therefore the anomalies will be greater than in larger schools where there will naturally be more flexibility. I can only say in these two cases that I hope the education department shows flexibility.

      My point remains however that OECD research shows you get more bang for your buck by training teachers than by having class sizes as small as possible. Money is short and it needs to be spent effectively.

  24. Dv 24

    The key no in the first example is the expect roll of 123 at the end of the year, ant the principal has to spread the pupils across the available teachers

    “My point remains however that OECD research shows you get more bang for your buck by training teachers than by having class sizes as small as possible. Money is short and it needs to be spent effectively.

    Having 40 pupils in a class is not effective. The difference between 26,27 28 pupils would not probably make major difference, BUT a jump 40 would.

  25. Draco T Bastard 25

    Oh dear, poor PMKey just got caught saying that he prefers smaller classes for his children thus proving that the larger classes for state schools has an ulterior motive. Tax cuts for the rich perhaps?

  26. Treetop 26

    Increasing class size has to be a no. Too much uncertainty here cause if it aint broke no need to fix it.

    Increasing personal development days is a yes. Every teacher has the capacity to upskill. A behaviour modification paper or a dispute resolution/communication paper would enhance class management.

    Teaching is a bit like midwifery. The course content has to cover what is going to present it self. If National want better teachers they have to examine what is being taught to student teachers. Some papers I have studied were a waste of time and other papers taught me worthwhile staff. I am sure anyone who has studied can relate to course content being valuable or invaluable.

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