The Education Council now has a new name. Legislation passed in the House last week
that renames the Education Council to the Teaching Council of Aotearoa New
Zealand. Seems simple enough. A
re-positioning of the organisation to have a teacher-focused name, rather than the
broad-brush education-related name, would seemingly align it better with the
current government's plans and policies.
The Education Council, to become known
as the Teaching Council, is the professional organisation for all
teachers working across the New Zealand education sector. They are responsible
for setting and leading the
teaching standards, and also for administering the registration and practising
certificate processes that teachers undertake once they have qualified.
The name change was decided as part of the Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa New Zealand)
Amendment Bill that became law last week.
In addition to changing the name, the Act increases the size of the
Teaching Council Board to 13 members (instead of the nine it was before).
The name change alone is estimated to cost taxpayers $220,000*. There will be collateral to change, branding,
banners, letterhead, social media and websites.
All to change a name but not to change focus… Well, not yet anyway. While they have said there will be phasing in
of the new name, or new branding, or a new logo and letterhead, likely to come over
the next 12-months, and after the election and appointment of new board
members, this is a costly exercise and these are costs that would equate to a
few teacher’s salaries.
Change processes, either structural or re-branding, can
be costly and here, in our opinion, it is unclear where the cost benefit lies
Other costs were estimated to include paying an
additional $105,000 a year* towards the board member meetings (with the board increasing
in numbers from 9 to 13 under the changes).
And then there’s the $150,000* estimated for electing the
new board members, and then additional funding to train them up. We wonder when these changes, and the cost,
will lead to efficiencies, improvements and or better processes and leadership
for teachers in New Zealand? In an
environment where school teachers are simply unable to reach agreement on pay
negotiations with government, where we have significant teacher shortages
across the sectors, and where the complexity of rules and regulations,
especially in our ECE sector, adds to never ending layers of bureaucracy, cost,
and compliance – we ask: when does the cost of change reap the benefits
desired? All the while the education
sector is meant to keep delivering high quality care and education until
further notice while trying to find and maintain a fully trained and qualified
compliment of teaching staff.
It’s great to get a new shiny outer
layer to dress up the front of shop, but underneath the new name and boosted
board membership, the machinery of the Teaching Council will, for now, remain
Elections for the new board members are expected to take
place in March next year, with yet more consultation happening in October to
decide what that election process should be. The new board is expected to include
seven members elected by the profession (elected members to include a teacher
and a professional leader from the ECE sector, a teacher and a principal from
the primary sector, a teacher and a principal from the secondary sector,
and a registered teacher from the initial teacher education or continuing
teacher education sector). The Minister
of Education then appoints the additional six board members after the election. The idea behind this is to ensure better
representation on the board.
good to see ECE included as an equal and we are happy to have representation of
the ECE teaching profession on the board to compliment the rest of the sector
leadership here. But, this will take
time. The pace of change is often
many unknowns along the way, and the final destination uncertain. Meantime, work as usual goes on until further
notice. The current board will continue to
oversee the running of the Council until a new board is in place – sometime
So what would we like to see change
underneath the logo?
The Teaching Council has an important
job, ensuring that teachers who apply for registration and practising
certificates, do indeed meet the high standards of the profession once they are
on the job. There are complexities, and
there are some shortcomings, which add to the strain of teacher shortages.
For example, we think the Teaching
Council should be asked to introduce caveated practicing certificates. This would enable any (ECE) teacher seeking
registration and certification who needs additional training to meet the
Council’s full requirements to be awarded provisional certification subject to
the completion of that training, and within a specified time. To meet the Council’s concerns regarding
standards, we agree that such a teacher should not be able to act as a Person
Responsible role for that duration.
There are rules for ECE services that
the Person Responsible at all times needs to be a fully registered and certificated
ECE-qualified teacher. That includes for
tasks such as always being on the floor when children are at the centre. This can be difficult in a teacher shortage
situation, where it is not always easy to have a full complement of teachers
and also ensuring the fully registered, certificated and qualified teachers you
do have – are available all the time.
That can be difficult when faced with annual leave, sick days and ensuring
your compliment of staff always meets the requirements, even when you are a
small or rural service.
In addition to the above flexibility
around provisionally registered teachers, we ask what is the purpose and role
of a Person Responsible in today’s ECE world?
In practice, the functions of this role are frequently carried out by a
number of people, not one. The Person
Responsible appeared to serve a purpose when qualified ECE teachers were first
introduced, but now seem a redundant requirement serving an increasingly
bureaucratic purpose. Perhaps in these
times of an ECE teacher shortage, now is the time to discuss the future of this
We also want to see the eight-week
stand-down before registration/certification removed with immediate
effect. This is a bureaucratic policy
that stops teachers being employed quickly.
This disadvantages not only employers, but also the teachers wanting to
get into their roles. This two-month
stand down is also really challenging when you have teachers shortages and
there is high demand for good candidates.
Two-months is a long time to start looking at other job options.
We think the Teaching Council should
review the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) policy,
particularly as this applies to overseas teachers who have studied in English
at secondary school and above; and paying particular attention to Pasifika
teachers. We have accumulated almost 800 signatures supporting an IELTS review for
Pasifika ECE. They have huge shortages
of qualified ECE teachers, and the IELTS test, both the stringent level of it,
and the costs of sitting it, put many off the process. This means that children in Pasifika emersion
language ECE settings will miss out.
We are watching the changes, and the
cost of these changes, at the Teaching Council with interest.
We look forward to seeing what happens
next after the appointment of a new board.
We are hopeful that the machinery and some of the bureaucracy inside can
be tweaked to better support the ECE sector during a time of teacher shortages,
and just in general to aid efficiency all the while upholding the high
standards that we expect from our teaching standards and the professionals who
work as teachers.
Chief Executive Officer
Early Childhood council
Collins New Zealand Herald (4 April
2018) Changing Teaching Council name would cost $220,000 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12025868