Thursday, December 2, 2010

Clever man at the ministry of education pockets 72 million

It's time to just ride the wave and get the job done, it's the silly season.
I've been coming to grips with the Ministry of Ed's new "low prediction of students" policy. Basically they predict you will have less kids next year and staff you accordingly. You see they are making an overall judgement (OTJ) but with your estimated roll numbers. The hidden agenda is that if the "OTJ" has lower numbers then you get less staff. If you knock half a teacher off every school you save $30,000 x 2400 schools, thats lots of cash and 1000 less teachers next year, just through an "OTJ", see what happens when you teach to the test, you pass! Just what the MOE man got from his boss, a pass with flying colours and a saving of $72 million.
If you think this is a conspiracy and a bunch of whispers then ring ten Akld principals and ask how much their staffing has been reduced by, I did, and the total from ten schools was 35 less teachers. I know times are tough but I wouldn't want to be a part timer or someone who is looking for a day here and a day there, the squeeze is on and education is like a wedge of lime sitting on the lip of a cold corona. More than half the schools in Akld appealed their staffing with over a hundred appeals being sent to Wellington for the boffins to over-rule, it happened, we got nailed people, join the dots.
On a brighter note I can tell you that the challenge of restaffing our school was seen as a opportunity to clarify what we think are the non negotiables and what we see as important in our school. I know we have found a great balance and we are positive about our staffing and the direction we are going. My comments above aren't actually a bleat they are just the facts. I am actually struggling to see why our beloved unions and associations haven't taken up the fight. Most probably the NZEI were fighting for some small % increase which was offered, I personally would have much preferred more staffing than a pay rise, the job would get done way better, with more time to dedicate to teachers and kids, and less stress.


Danny said...

Well summed up Luke. This whole staffing thing has really snuck under the radar with little overt communication or public challenging. Lots of schools are struggling with the implications of this but as you point out, the positive angle is that it forces a refocussing and reprioritising. Hopefully a good thing although more staffing is more important than a small payrise. Is it taking from one to pay the other? Hope not.

Anonymous said...

The same story has happened in Gisborne with many schools having to apply, unsuccessfully, for more staffing.
It seems the Ministry have devised quite a few under the radar ways of saving money. Reading Recovery hours have also been a target. In Gisborne alone there has been a reduction of 1500 hours and only a handful have had the application to train teachers accepted.
I wonder what their next move will be?

Podgorani said...

so we are cutting reading recovery and we are cutting staffing, in my school i have been forced to bump class numbers up. so much for the 1:15 1:20 or even 1:25
However we should just accept money saving and a recession, but being honest and up front would be the right thing to do.
Step up John!

TimesNewRoman said...

I would gladly give up the pittance of a 'pay increase' offered to have less kids in my class meaning I can cater to their needs more effectively. How about a bit more teacher aide support? Heaven forbid that I might not have to reach into my own pocket to supply my class with some of the things I need to keep it ticking along for a change. I am starting next year with a class of 28 minimum - not bad really, I expect it will be over the 30 mark before half the year is out. Why aren't parents concerned about this? I guess the media has done a good job of stitching us all up as a bunch of lazy sods who are only in it for the money and we get MORE than enough holidays as it is - about time we were forced to come back in the holidays (guess they haven't looked in the average school classroom or staffroom over the holiday breaks to see the majority of us actually working over this time anyway). But then again, I guess we really do need to get our act together and earn our money as we are failing badly in our schools at solving all of societies crime and socio-economic problems - shame on us! It's a damned hard job at the best of times, what a shame the Ministry is hell bent on making it even more difficult. Just as well we are all a damned tough and dedicated bunch - doubt you would find the calibre in any other industry.