27 March 2023
Kia ora e te whānau o Te Kura a Rohe o Whaingaroa
CYCLONE GABRIELLE FUNDRAISING EFFORTS
It has been a full and rewarding Term One and I thank you all for your continued support of all that we do at Te Kura a Rohe o Whaingaroa – Raglan Area School . We have seen communities connecting in action – in Coromandel, Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti, Auckland and Northland as these cyclone-ravished regions inch towards recovery mode. Together, these communities are rebuilding, in the harshest of circumstances, and those of us from afar are rallying to support. Schools all across Aotearoa including our own are reaching out to offer our support as we always do.
We acknowledge our fellow NZers who are currently experiencing hardship – our schools’ thoughts and fundraising efforts are committed to providing support. Education always plays a huge part in the recovery efforts of all major events that occur – our recent experiences with Covid, mosque shootings and weather events like the eruption of White Island and Cyclone Gabrielle are evidence of this. Such events are occurring with greater frequency and schools remain as a critical contributor to the response and recovery efforts.
Alongside our Feed The Kids team and our Disco Dudes and Divas, we have accumulated over $3000 in total to contribute to the efforts of many who are supporting those who have been severely impacted by Cyclone Gabrielle. The Feed the Kids funds raised will go directly to support storm affected families. The Disco funds are going to a school in the Hawkes Bay whom Civil Defence informed us would be really grateful for our support. Along with the funds that we have raised, we will be sending messages of goodwill and artwork from our students
TEACHER STRIKE ACTIONS
Our secondary teachers (PPTA) are striking this Wednesday 29 March affecting Years 7-13 students. Our Board of Trustees leaders are sending a confirmation message about this. I appreciate that strike actions are very disruptive for whānau and I simply wish to acknowledge this to you all and to provide some context to the “WHY ARE TEACHERS STRIKING” question.
Ten days ago, Raglan teachers were asked to join our colleagues with the first Strike Actions across Aotearoa. RAS teachers coiuld have joined the bigger rally in Hamilton. But we know that it is important to stay connected with our local community sharing our concerns for the teaching profession with our whānau here in Whaingaroa. And that is what many of us did.
There is never a right time to take Strike Action and this significant event is a step not lightly taken by our schools or Boards of Trustees. We hear the comments made “school is closed yet another day, impacting student learning”, however the greater impact is the long term effects – day in day out – of an under-resourced, understaffed and undervalued profession.
Principals and Leadership teams are challenged daily to staff classrooms when teachers are sick, on release or attending professional learning opportunities. The relievers pool is limited and the struggles are endless to ensure that qualified, skilled and passionate teachers are in front of children, students with needs have the support they deserve and need, and that everyone’s well-being is maintained.
Principals and Leadership teams also respond to the needs of the whānau community and manage the school site including the property and health and safety of the school environment. Frequently leaders are faced with unscheduled matters requiring immediate response. Long hours are worked by all to ensure that the required needs are met day to day and follow-up actions are completed.
Our children need a quality education and we want to give that to them. To ensure that our schools can provide this, we are again asking our government to carefully look at; funding, resourcing for the ever increasing numbers of high needs learners, paying teachers what they are worth and exploring how they can ensure teaching and principalship remains an attractive career choice. Maintaining parity and equity between conditions for Early Childhood, Primary and Secondary teachers is an historical concern that continues to be given low priority. To give some context to this statement a new teacher in the primary sector earns just over $1.50 more than the minimum wage.
Right now funding for our schools is not enough to provide the time and conditions we need to support all students to thrive. We are gravely concerned for the wellbeing of our sector. We are concerned that teaching is no longer a desirable vocation given the daily stressors and over extended expectations placed on us. Principals and teachers in primary and area schools, alongside their teaching colleagues in early childhood and secondary schools have considered at length offers from the government to settle their respective collective agreements. The offers simply do not meet our expectations, nor make sufficient steps towards the changes we all need for our children to succeed.
Striking is the last thing that our principals and teachers want to do. We respond positively to the continued pressure for schools to teach children to the highest standards. We work alongside our community leaders in implementing government led initiatives to solve the woes of the world, but the bottom line is that we are inadequately resourced, staffed and remunerated and these factors continue to negatively limit children’s learning and ultimately their wellbeing. For all teachers this outcome remains totally unacceptable.
Thank you all for your continued support of our teachers – it is much appreciated.
Ngā mihi nui – Whaea Louisa Barham (Tumuaki / Principal)