20 Aug 2014

Principals agree pay cut for key role

10:20 am on 20 August 2014

A key building block in the Government's flagship education plan has emerged this week in the form of an interim agreement with secondary school principals.

Likely to be put to the vote next term, the agreement makes minor but important changes to the Investing in Educational Success initiative, which will pay teachers and principals to work across clusters of schools.

The biggest change is reducing the extra money paid to principals who take two days a week to lead a cluster of schools from $40,000 a year to $30,000.

teacher in computer class

The agreement makes changes to paying teachers and principals to work in a cluster of schools. Photo: PHOTO NZ

The money saved from the cut will be used to pay schools $1000 a year to cover the costs of working as a group.

The interim agreement also changes the title of the role from Executive Principal to Community of Schools Leadership Role.

The changes address a key problem with the initiative - the suspicion that the principals leading a cluster will wield considerable, and unwelcome, authority over their peers. This was fuelled by the amount of money they were to be paid and the original name of the job - Executive Principal.

The interim agreement clarifies that schools will be paid for 0.4 of a position so they can cover their principal's absence. That is unlikely to quell the common criticism that a school cannot afford to lose its principal for two days a week while he or she deals with the concerns of their cluster, or community, or schools.

The agreement also deals with the other principal role in the Government's policy - the Change Principal.

This role is for principals who take on particularly troubled schools. The interim agreement keeps the $50,000 extra payment for this role, but extends the potential term of the role to up to seven years.

Whether the changes go far enough will be put to the test when members of the PPTA's Secondary Principals' Council, and the Secondary Principals' Association vote on the agreement.

Meanwhile, the results of another vote on the Investing in Educational Success policy are expected to be known this week.

Members of the Educational Institute have been deciding if they want to negotiate a better version of the policy as part of their collective agreement talks or reject it altogether.

The votes were held at primary and intermediate schools last week, and the union expects to announce the outcome soon.