New Teacher Payroll (Novopay) Fails to Deliver

Today should have seen the start of the new Novopay system for teachers. But its looking more like another failure for the Ministry of Education with some teachers missing out.  The constant attacks on teachers from the current government and drive to reduce costs has taken a very sinister turn the Ministry of Education seems unable to organise even the most basic tasks such as payroll and is constantly insuring that it is teachers that pay the price for Ministry sort comings.

This is just another failure to add to a growing list that includes a complete inability to measure teacher workloads and the impact of government or ministry policy changes on workloads. That a large proportion of teachers now on anti depressants and feature in large numbers on mental health client lists.

This latest failure in the interests of saving money will have serious ramifications and should see pressure for real change within the Ministry or the sacking of Secretary of  Education Lesley Longstone.  Whichever way it goes I will be watching with interest.  Its clear that the Minister cannot trust the advice of the Ministry.

Teachers Jobs Now Less Secure than Politian’s

Teaching positions within New Zealand are now less secure than parliamentary ones.  Teaching positions come up for review every year through the CAPNA system and even full time permanent  jobs  can disappear overnight.  It’s very difficult to see how this can in anyway achieve the governments stated goal of rewarding the best teachers and keeping them in classrooms.  All the good ones will go to more secure employment.

If they really want to save money and improve teacher performance they should look within the Ministry of Education. If NZQA were to deliver material classroom ready hundreds of thousands of teacher hours could be allocated to more productive learning time for students.  The national party in parliament has no cohesive policy on education, just a lot of woolly thinking and ill-considered ideas.

Perhaps if we only paid politicians for the time they spend in parliament they may have more empathy for the position they constantly place teachers in. Politian’s only have to be nervous every 3 years and if they are high enough up on the list of a major party they are even more secure.

Teacher Bullying Makes it onto Main Stream TV – TVNZ Sunday

I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in teacher bullying watches this program

It would be amazing to find out not only how well the students did but also where the senior management that Dannevirke High School referred to have moved on to. Who wants to bet that they are now working for the Ministry of Education? It seems to be the repository for failed school management and failed classroom teachers. It amazing how this group can spout on about excellence, while driving top flight teaches out of the classroom. I will make an effort to track the principal down.

Good on you Mr Smith for telling the truth bullying of teachers is rife in New Zealand schools and its time the competence and ethics of the perpetrators was called into question. Let’s see if the government has the will to act.

Did you know your senior management are entitled to the protection and membership of the PPTA?

The PPTA has failed to adapt to tomorrows schools, with the change over the senior managers took on the role of employers as agents of the BOT. It’s at this stage that the PPTA should have moved to change the membership status of people in these positions.  It would be very difficult for any member to stand up and express themselves at a meeting if members of their senior management are present.  These managers (Principals, Deputy’s and Assistants) would not be disadvantaged as SPANZ would welcome them, most are likely members of both organisations anyway.  It is time for the PPTA to reinvent itself and sort out the identity issues that have been created. Change can only be affected by the grass roots membership.  Hopefully this blog will help bring to light the failings and inform teachers of the real risks before it’s too late for some.

How much do senior management members  contribute to the PPTA’s  coffers and what is the cost of services provided to this group?  I don’t know because it is not broken down in the Balance Sheet.  But it is a very reasonable question for any member to ask.  Would it not be more responsible of the association if these matters were recorded as separate cost centres, and open to membership scrutiny.  What do you think?

Next Blog Post “Just how wrong can the PPTA get it!”


PPTA Representation Contract, Fair?

When you join the PPTA and pay your fees direct from your salary an implied contract exists that should not require any further refinement.  All the services of the union should be available to you without further fee or additional terms and conditions.  That PPTA should require you to sign a further contract should you find yourself in competency or disciplinary procedures is surprising but that those conditions should be so restrictive of the PPTA member defies belief. This is very much a case of the tail wagging the dog, the Member carrying all the risk and the NZPPTA in control.  Not a very secure position for the person being represented.  All would be fine if the PPTA showed they had the fortitude to see these confrontations through.  Unfortunately that has not been the experience of my informants.

The contract gives all the power to the PPTA and requires that the member use them as their sole representative. It makes no undertaking that the PPTA will provide any measurable level of support or even see the crisis through (more on this in the next Blog).  In fact it doesn’t even say that the member will be kept informed of their actions or even be involved with being able to give direction. You can view a copy of this contract at I would strongly recommend any Teacher needing support get legal advice on this agreement before accepting the PPTA’s assistance on those terms. Not much of a deal when the member will probably find themselves up against the Principal (most likely a PPTA member and possibly better connected), The STA (School Trustees Association), The Employers Association, The BOT’s Lawyers and if they fight back you can also probably also add the PPTA and SPANZ if the Principal is a member.  A very stacked deck in favour of the senior management.

Next Blog Post “Did you know your senior management are entitled to the protection and membership of the PPTA”


Apology to all my regular readers

We have been very busy getting ready for court and it has eaten into my time. But it has also provided some very interesting information and research.  I won’t be publishing any of the court related material till after the event. But it has become very clear that there is a lot for the PPTA, The Ministry of Education and the Minister (Anne Tolley) to be embarrassed about.  I don’t want to clutter up this blog with the details of it so I will be starting new blogs on the specific organisations. The first of these on the PPTA is already up and running. You can view it at

Some of the Most Incompetent Teachers are now Principals

Who the hell is Pat Walsh, what exactly is he?  I for one have little faith in people who rely on fractional statistics and no evidence and in principals that have only their own interests at heart. I wonder how many of them are actually just failed classroom teachers?  There is clear evidence of the incompetence of many principals and if complaints about them were properly managed there would be far less incompetence at this level in education. Where is the evidence to support the views he expresses? Is it just statistics? What is he saying? It seems the Teachers Council to their credit isn’t taking instruction from his members?  How many principals does he actually represent as the majority still seem to be members of the PPTA (the experts in exit packages and conflicts of interest) a union that not only represents the workers but their employer as well. What the? I have already presented evidence that complaints about teachers are often just a bullying tactic from which the principals always escape unscathed. Most principals are not only not in the classroom they have no management skills or qualifications for the positions they hold. A truly frightening by-product of tomorrow’s schools. But it’s OK we now have an equally unqualified Minister in Anne Tolley things can only get better.  Actually it’s pretty hard to find any real leadership in education in this country just a lot of bureaucrats patting each other on the back and playing with statistics.

The Bullying of teachers is covered in both cases from the employment court where the risks to teachers in defending themselves are recognised and in the report referenced in the last Post .  The issues raised in this report can in terms of education be directly related to the actions of his members. Not a good report card at all. This man is a total fool who needs to address the issues within his own membership before attacking others. Thank god the teachers council is able to see through the cheap shots fired by these Bullies and would be Politian’s. Pat Walsh certainly wins this week’s Jackass award for ignorance in education. His organisation (the Secondary School Principals Association SPANZ) is just a union there is nothing professional about them. When they can call one of their own to task they might achieve some credibility until then they are just more static. Let’s see some complaints about principals and more of them deregistered. I would love to hear from teachers who were offered only one path in conflict by the PPTA if that path was an exit package. Write to me in confidence on the contact us page.  I want to publish a wall of shame in the next couple of months and I will name Schools and principals, Not Victims! There is an incredibly deep seated problem with school administration in New Zealand. Let’s make noise and put it right. I invite both the Minister and Mr Walsh to debate the issues surrounding teacher competence publicly in Dunedin I’m certainly prepared to show.

Minister Anne Tolley and the Ministry of Education Endorse Workplace Bullying and Dishonesty.

The Ministry and the government can’t say they are unaware of the bullying of teachers in schools, a report  prepared by a group including Professor Tim Bentley, Department of Management (Albany), Massey University, clearly identified concerns about workplace bullying in both the state funded Education and Health sectors and was first published in November 2009. You can read this report at . But the only action we have seen from the bureaucrats and our political leaders so far is to weaken the already ineffective controls and the Ministry of Education in the latest wage round wants to take away some of the protections teachers have and provide even more tools for the bullies in fact we’ve been deafened by the silence related to action. They are completely unwilling to use the options they have, these options are, the checks and balances that should have prevented this issue ever going this far. What the hell is going on?  This is a situation teachers must fight because until the bullying issues are addressed nobody can have any faith in their employer (the BOT’s) or the Ministry (not the employer. Yeah Right!). They use their bill payer status way beyond what any sane person would consider reasonable and for an involvement they should not have if they are not the employer.  I think the problems are directly related to the ministry’s inability to act in good faith with either the teaching personnel or the students and this is purely political interference.

This problem could be addressed at many levels. My feeling of the Kiwi way is to expect fair-play, honesty and giving everyone a fair deal, we always should strive to “do the right thing”. Many BOTs have proven themselves incapable of this and the Ministry Education and Minister have turned a blind eye (both have the power to act) and in my book have endorsed the bullying of teachers. I believe this problem comes right from the top and the Secretary of Education Karen Sewell must go in order for any effective cultural change to take effect in the sector. That she received a 4% increase in wages recently is an insult to every hard working person in New Zealand.  Karen Sewell is impossible to contact directly by email or phone and seems to be a complete technological dinosaur, her staff seem more than willing to mislead their Minister who seems to follow along quite willingly. The senior management of the Ministry’s southern region needs close examination and in my view replacing. While the issues I am chasing are a direct responsibility of the management and board of LPHS. It is the Ministry’s southern regional officers who have stonewalled and prevented any resolution. They expect without any evidence of an investigation to be able to just close things down.  What exactly are they afraid of? Their investigation to date has consisted of writing to the school and simply accepting everything the school responds with. That’s not an investigation in my book and the questioning needs to go far deeper. The Ministry has access to all the information I have and much more that I may be right? Well I’m very sure that I am and that Raymond Webb and Kathryn Palmer do not have the ability or the integrity to even begin a resolution.  They burnt their collective bridges long ago.

One thing that fascinates me and that Mr Raymond Webb has never explained is how a teacher whose competence has been questioned can achieved the Levels that XXXXXXX  did and how an offer of partnership in German language development  can be rejected by the Principal  Jane Johnson so quickly and even its existence kept secret from the teacher and I suspect all the other teaching staff in the school, although I do know that the HOD (Barbara Fitzsimons)  knew.  Fitzsimons is a teacher who forgets to show up for classes yet feels confident to question another teacher’s competence.  (There’s another whole story here but I will address this in a latter post). This partnership would have given the School equal standing with Takapuna Grammar School in Auckland and Burnside High School in Christchurch. It would have been such a point of difference and the opportunity for the school to build a centre for excellence in languages in Dunedin. Its rejection doesn’t make any sort of good management sense and it certainly placed all the students at a disadvantage along with the teaching staff and the school itself.  Why was it such a secret and how could the teacher that had achieved all this for them have had her competence questioned and her confidence so undermined.  I raised the point in an earlier post that students were disadvantaged in the CAPNA process. I also raised this issue with the Minister.  You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to work out that missing out on scholarships and resources and reverting to video classes puts students at a disadvantage.  But this is never mentioned. Instead The Minister made a request of Kathryn Palmer (who had earlier declared a conflict of interest to me. She has some sort of relationship to Tobin and should have stayed right away from this). Then wrote to the then BOT chair Margi MacMurdo-Reading The reply came Under the Principals signature  The last statement just seems off the planet considering the actions of the management over the previous year and a bit and the threats made by the same management. It’s not at all plain and the students did miss out as described earlier in this blog. But what really amazes me is that I never got a copy of the advice to the minister to her question. I do however have the minister’s reply to me and it seems unrelated to the question passed on by Palmer.

 The BOT and the Ministry have to answer this question and if it’s not a good enough answer the people need to be sacked. I’m betting the teaching staff at LPHS don’t even know about it and I’ve tried to check with the BOT through their Chair Alex King as I suspected the board were not even aware of the offer judging from how quickly it was rejected by Johnson. This speed in itself is amazing as all other correspondence with the school is drawn out to four weeks or even longer if they can stall it. I would have loved to have seen some BOT minutes that confirmed they were aware but Mr King has proved very unhelpful and seems unwilling to question any actions by the schools management and entrust them to resolve the issue. They are the issue Mr King.  Alex King is an Idiot who has problems answering a straight questions the man seems to lack any form of social conscience, I suspect if the Green Party knew the truth they would want rid of him the man’s about as un-kiwi as you could get .

Until the original questions regarding Johnson and Tobin and their honesty are answered all correspondence and claims by them must be treated with doubt.  If the police were to use the same investigative procedures for crime in our country as the Ministry of Education does our prisons would be empty and the whole country would be in the same mess as education.

There is little question that this school will not survive into the future unless there is some very radical action on the part of parents and Joy Johnson and Roger Tobin are removed from the equation. Parents can have no more faith in the honesty and integrity of the school than the staff. It truly has become in my view a moral and ethical wasteland. But at the same time a genuine example of the failure of the overall management structure that is “Tomorrows Schools”

Anne Tolley is most certainly the weakest and most ineffective Minister of Education we have ever known in this country. I for one am still waiting for the openness and accountability the National Party promised us before the last election.

Happy New Year and Welcome.

We’re into our third year of this saga on workplace bullying in the education sector and I would like to wish all my followers a happy, prosperous and conflict free New Year.  To the bullies I would just like to say watch this space.

To the Many people who helped with scanning documents over the holiday period I offer my gratitude, it would have been impossible for me to manage this on my own.

But now we are back in business and I will be busy over the next few weeks commenting on and publishing the correspondence and documents received through the Official Information Act comprising what has been the so called investigation of this problem to date.  We will be painting a picture of deceit and ineptitude on the part of the state funded education organisations from the Minister’s Office down and asking the question. Why protecting Sows in pig crates, is more important to our government than protecting Teachers in schools? I have no idea of the answer the farmer is likely to end up in criminal court. A principal that bullies and stresses staff is more likely to get a cushy job in the public service.  It’s time for change.  I will be starting with the Prime Ministers (John Key) and working my way down through the Ministers Office and the various Education agencies including the Ministry of Education all the way back to the LPHS.  

To all those who were hoping I’d gone away “I’m Back” well rested and ready.

Let’s see if we can rattle a few cages.

Ministry buried head in sand or did they?

I received a reply from the Ministry of Education to my questions and it is just another white wash. I had specifically asked that if no action was intended on the part of the Ministry that they state that, in their view all is well at the school.  They don’t do that, instead passing responsibility on to other organisations such as ERO and OSH. Clearly this was never going to satisfy my call for an independent investigation and doesn’t meet the Ministry’s obligations to the students and teachers at the school.  Schools are after all about learning they are not designed to be centres of excellence in administration.  The focus should be on students and teachers in classrooms working together. Administration should for the most part be invisible and fully transparent supporting the role of teachers. 

Yesterday I wrote to the Prime Minister Mr J Key requesting he use his authority under section 11 of the State Sector Act 1988 to have the State Services Commissioner undertake an investigation I will keep the progress on that on the blog. Could be interesting to see how it turns out.

With shrinking rolls at Dunedin High Schools and the ongoing closures of Primary Schools it doesn’t take a genius to work out that the city is in an over supply situation and that the falling rolls in Primary Schools will ultimately be reflected in closures of Secondary Schools. Logan Park High School’s proximity to both the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic makes LPHS a prime candidate for closure as the buildings could easily be reallocated to other educational purposes.

Is the Ministry of Education’s unwillingness to engage on the issues at LPHS hiding some other agenda?  Am I being used and abused? I find this quite likely as without a publicly independent inquiry all the evidence will never be viewed.  It’s clear that the school is suffering from the inaction of the BOT and the dishonesty and incompetence of its managers.  What may not be clear to the staff there, is that if these matters go unresolved I will continue to take an interest in the staff I consider inept and unethical into there new careers or employment. 

What amazes me is that the staff hasn’t stood up and questioned the competence of the Management.  A vote of no confidence would go a long way to saving the school.

Perhaps in the current CAPNA round one of the senior management positions could go say Deputy Principal.  Its hard to imagine how the administrative overburden in the school can be maintained as the roll falls.

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