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NZEI Te Riu Roa to recognise efforts of principals next week

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

NZEI Te Riu Roa is getting behind principals with a new initiative to recognise the contribution they make to education.

"Tu Meke Tumuaki" week starts on Monday and aims to highlight the often unsung and unnoticed work that school leaders do for their schools, tamariki and communities.

There will be events up and down the motu.

NZEI President Liam Rutherford said it was timely that school communities recognised their principals and their leadership team in the final week of another term badly affected by COVID-19.

"We have seen our principals at their very best during the pandemic," he said.

"Time and time again they have stood up and prioritised the wellbeing of their students, staff and community at the expense of their own. Tu Meke Tumuaki is our chance to thank them for the job they’ve done over the last couple of years."

The week also aims to spotlight long-standing issues of under resourcing and inadequate staffing that create increased work demands and stress, impacting on the hauora and mental health of principals.

"It’s also about correcting some of the myths about the teaching profession - including the idea that work starts at 9am and stops at 3pm," he said.

"More than 75 percent of principals are working more than 50 hours a week, while one in six routinely work in excess of 60 hours a week. Many report answering telephone calls or emails at midnight and then being back at school by 7am."

Mr Rutherford said the work demands on principals could be alleviated by increasing the number of teachers, teacher aides, support and administration staff and specialised support for high needs children.

NZEI Te Riu Roa initiated collective agreement negotiations for principals earlier this week, based on principal members’ claims for increased staffing and improved support for wellbeing so that they can focus on doing their job effectively.

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