Major education issues tackled at PPTA conference



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NCEA was among the big issues discussed at the Post-Primary Teachers' Association’s annual conference in Wellington last week.

Alongside recommendations to strengthen NCEA, the union had previously pushed for a ban on Cambridge and International Baccalaureate. However, while the PPTA maintains its opposition to foreign exams, it decided to remove the ‘ban’ line as it detracted from the core issues in its paper, The NCEA: Can it be saved?.

The paper recommended a reduction in moderation requirements, abolition of percentage achievement targets, and credit parity - meaning the amount of work needed to get credits at each subject and level should be similar. Also among the recommendations was the call to resist privatisation, including the use of private companies to implement digital assessment. The paper also called for more resourcing to ensure a wider range of options for Year 13 students and better consultation with teachers before introducing any further changes.

Also discussed at the conference were the increased demands on schools due to new models of initial teacher education (ITE). The paper Initial teacher education in change: But is it for the better? raised concerns about new models of ITE that were making bigger workload demands on schools. The courses have become shorter in some instances, raising questions around quality and depth.

The conference also addressed the growing workload demands for middle leadership positions in schools. A taskforce established at last year’s conference reported back on various aspects of the middle manager role including the contribution to achievement, remuneration, responsibilities and job size. President Angela Roberts said the growing pressures of the job are resulting in lower rates of applications for middle leadership positions.

The union also confirmed its ‘implacable’ opposition to charter schools. PPTA executive member Austen Pageau said that charter schools did not provide any answers for ‘at risk’ students failing in the public system, arguing that current support systems for students in the most need simply needed more funding.

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