Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Trustees call for end to class size confusion

Education Minister Hekia Parata. Photo / Greg Bowker
Education Minister Hekia Parata. Photo / Greg Bowker

The NZ School Trustees Association is calling for an end to confusion over class sizes as president Lorraine Kerr prepares to meet Education Minister Hekia Parata this morning over the schools crisis.

"The problem with all of this is the absolute confusion and no answers to assist with the confusion," Ms Kerr said last night.

She has joined a chorus of organisations calling for more disclosure about the changes to teacher-pupil ratios and their effects.

CLICK HERE FOR THE NATION'S VIEWS ON CLASS SIZES

Many sector groups are openly challenging the claims by Ms Parata that over half of schools would gain staffing entitlements.

Gary Sweeney, the head of the Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling and principal of Pukekohe Intermediate, said he did not believe that claim.

The NZ Principals' Federation president and principal of Tahunanui School in Nelson, Paul Drummond, said there needed to be greater transparency. He had no evidence that would suggest that any primary or intermediate school would be gaining any staffing entitlements.

The Post Primary Teachers' Association says that over 2000 schools lose staff under the changes, if the effect of the ratio change alone is taken into account. It says the statistics being used by the Ministry of Education and the minister include the projections of roll changes next year and that they are therefore using roll growth to mask the full effect of cuts to staffing entitlement.

Some growing schools under the current formula might have been entitled to two more staff next year but might now get only one.

The PPTA argues that they should be counted as schools losing staff, not gaining staff.

The new ratios were announced the week before the Budget but once the severe impact on intermediate schools and technology centres became clear - seven or eight staff - the outcry forced the Government to cap staff losses at no more than two per school over three years.

PARATA'S STATS

Total number of schools including integrated 2436

962 gain less than 1.

251 gain one or more.

213 no change.

765 lose less than one.

245 lose 1 or more (but capped at two FTTEs over three years).

(Estimates of changes to fulltime teacher equivalents (FTTEs) next year taking into account new staffing ratios and projected changes in school rolls.)

- NZ Herald

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