Principal's Blog

12 August 2011

12 August 2011

Dear Paparoa St School Community

On behalf of the Board of Trustees I am pleased to announce that the New Zealand Principals’ Federation has accepted the nomination of Philip Harding to serve as Vice President in 2012. Phil has been an executive member of the Federation since 2009.

The Vice President supports the President, and this role will have minimal impact on his duties here at school.

However, the following year (2013) the historic practice has been that the Vice President stands to become the President of NZPF and, if elected, is granted leave from the school. The NZPF represents 2300 principals from across the country. The president’s role is based in Wellington and is funded by the Ministry of Education.

With 2013 in mind the Board has considered this opportunity very carefully, and has consulted widely to understand its implications for everyone before giving Phil’s nomination our support.

The Board views this as an honour for Phil, and as positive recognition for our school. We are proud to support him in this endeavour. He has the support of his staff, and we are confident that his selection will be an opportunity for our school to further develop and provide leadership opportunities for our aspiring teachers.

The long lead-time to the presidency provides us with plenty of time to fine tune systems and procedures, and ensure a seamless transition should Phil become the president. Next year there may also be a further opportunity to have a trial period if Phil is selected for the Principal’s sabbatical programme in 2012.

We have placed some FAQs on the school website, if you would like some more information,, (Principal’s Blog), and please feel free to email or call me if you have any other queries. In the meantime, if you see Phil on his usual walks around the school, don’t be shy to offer some good wishes and ask him if the Crusaders will still be his team in the capital.

Yours faithfully,
Mike Allan
for Board of Trustees
Ph 021 49 80 81


I know that the hours that teachers supposedly work are the subject of much discussion
24 November 2010

I know that the hours that teachers supposedly work are the subject of much discussion over the dinner party tables as people wonder at a job that has so many holidays and such short working hours.

The reality is somewhat different, as I'm sure you will hear from any teacher lucky enough to be present at such a gathering! Workload is never more apparent than in term four, as teachers must summarise their year's work in another written report, as well as contribute to the myriad requirements of the end of the year. Before the 16th December we must complete class placements wisely and carefully, ensuring that certain children are separated from others, or placed with a particular type of teacher, or in a group that will foster the key development needs of an individual.

Teachers seldom agree on all of this, so the debate is always thorough and robust, and takes literally weeks. We have received a few requests from parents - some of which can be met, but others which must be largely ignored, as we can't simply hand the process over and invite children and parents to suggest who they'd like. My point is, we try really hard to balance our classes, and get the placements as accurate as possible. All the end of term requirements lie over the top of the regular class programme, which we try and keep as settled as possible, for as long as possible.


I am often asked by parents to explain how class sizes are determined.
24 November 2010

I am often asked by parents to explain how class sizes are determined. Since class placement is now well under way, here is a brief insight into the various issues that have to be managed.

Firstly, we are staffed in accordance with a formula, which is based on a July 2010 prediction of our roll numbers for all of 2011. The roll prediction generates full-time teacher equivalents, (FTTEs), based on three different staffing ratios which are then used to staff the school. The first ratio is 1:15 for year ones. It was the establishment of this lower ratio which led to the building of the three new teaching spaces this year. Lower ratios theoretically mean more classrooms are required. The next ratio is 1:23, and that is intended to staff children in years 2 and 3. The rest of the school is staffed at 1:29.

It would be nice to think then, that no class would ever reach a higher number than its guiding ratio, but of course life is never that simple. The ratio also has to provide all the other programmes and leadership required to run a school of this size, so those nominal ratios in practice are all higher. Another factor which has to be considered is the actual demographic makeup of year groups passing through the school.