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COVID Exacerbates Existing Challenges In Secondary Schools

COVID Exacerbates Existing Challenges In Secondary Schools

Posted December 07, 2021
Education , Media Release

Media Release: Post Primary Teachers' Association

The Education Review Office report on the impact of COVID-19 on principals and teachers, released today, highlights the need for more staffing in secondary schools, says Kate Gainsford, Chair of PPTA Te Wehengarua Secondary Principals Council.

“The report is in line with what is being heard from secondary principals around the motu. The increase in the demands and expectations in schools has outstripped what the old staffing formula provides to match the task.”

Research commissioned by the Secondary Principals Council earlier this year found the need for a new staffing model for secondary schools, to meet new and increasing needs. “Secondary entitlement staffing has not changed significantly since nearly 10 years ago. Schools have been facing increased pressure points over these ten years with greater pastoral care needs and greater expectations for more community and whānau liaison. COVID-19 has added a whole new layer of urgency onto these existing pressures. Significant increases in workload have been shouldered in order to manage the implications for schools in a pandemic, whether it is for learning from home or in the classroom.”

The impact of COVID-19 on principals’ and teachers’ wellbeing was of particular concern. “These findings are consistent with other research carried out last year, by Deakin University (Melbourne), which found that Aotearoa New Zealand secondary school leaders experience very high demands at work particularly in situations where students, whānau and staff are experiencing heightened emotions.

“The issues outlined in this report show that the ways school are staffed need to change to reflect the changing needs of students, the workforces that they will be joining and the communities they live in.”