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OPINION: Government’s offer to principals is nothing but an insult

The offer received this month is the biggest Claytons Offer I have ever seen: a non-offer, an insult. It treats principals with derision and contempt.

No mention of the massive workload issues in our claim…

A miserable pittance of 2-3 k a year over 3 years.

It shows little understanding of the pressures of our job; in fact, it shows we are not valued in the slightest.

It is an insult to all of us for the hard work we have had to put into providing an education for our children with a total lack of any resourcing.

It is an insult to all of us as it expects us to carry on doing this on an offer that, at best, can be called pitiful.

It is an insult because it certainly doesn’t not address the fact that principals are leaving the job in droves and there are not huge lines waiting to step up.

It is an insult because the Minister and this government have been running Educational Summits filled with hope and parroting how they intend to change the educational landscape for kids. Great, but on whose shoulders will they expect this work to fall? On our shoulders, and they expect [us] to do this on a pittance.

I’m told reliably that the starting wage in the IT industry in Auckland is not far off $150k a year… This government, through its appalling offer, is telling NZ that my job – with 50+ staff, 400+ children, parents, behavioural and social problems to deal as well as having to put up with the incompetence of governments, Ministry and ERO – is nowhere as important as tinkering with a computer?

As a profession, we have always put our children first. This has always been used against us getting a fair and equitable return so that we have the current situation: a rundown profession, paid poorly with no one lining up for the role. Is that the best way to help our kids or is enough enough?

Pat Newman

Pat Newman is the Principal at Hora Hora School and the President at Te Tai Tokerau Principals Association.

One Comment

  1. I thoroughly agree with Pat. This drip-feeding of a pittance barely keeps pace with cost of living increases let alone actually fairly remunerate principals for what is the most unique role in education (and possibly outside as well in terms of being a CEO).
    I’m due to retire in 3 years, when I recently asked my very competent senior managers was the next future principal of Carlton sitting right here, they very forcefully indicated no. They have seen first-hand the pressures and demands of principalship and there’s no way they want a bar of it. These are highly intelligent, visionary leaders. I fear for the future of our profession.

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