Principals wary of schools policy as teachers vote

LIBBY WILSON
Last updated 05:00 15/08/2014

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Waikato principals are cautious about the government's $359 million education policy as primary-teacher union members decide their stance on it.

Investing in Educational Success (IES) would include schools collaborating in groups, new teaching and leadership roles and a teacher-led innovation fund.

A negotiate-or-reject vote by members of primary and support staff union NZEI closes today.

Whitiora School principal Paul Cooper was "quite concerned" about aspects of the policy, and said the profession hadn't asked for it.

"There are definitely better ways [to spend the money] that are more direct in terms of supporting children and their learning, and particularly those who have learning needs," he said.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Judith Nowotarski said most of the concern around the policy was the view that the money was creating a new tier of management instead of being spent directly on children's education.

Union members' votes would be collated early next week, she said.

There is currently "cautious support" for the policy from the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA).

Melville High School principal Clive Hamill was looking into it with other South Hamilton schools, although he could see "fishhooks".

"It's a significant amount of resourcing. I think a prudent school needs to give it careful consideration," he said.

"It's really about what will happen in practice."

Dr Graham Stoop of the Ministry of Education's leadership team said there had been "a significant amount of interest" in IES.

"We would like to enter good-faith bargaining with NZEI, as we already have with the PPTA."

Education Minister Hekia Parata may well field questions on IES at a public meeting in Hamilton today. The meeting is at 4pm in St Peter's Cathedral church hall.

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- Waikato Times

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