'Simmering' issues upset WBHS staff

Issues at Waitaki Boys' High School have been raised by teachers with their union for at least a year, the Post Primary Teachers' Association told the Otago Daily Times yesterday.

PPTA Aoraki field officer Jo Martin was at the school yesterday to discuss with Waitaki Boys' branch officials a possible breach of the collective agreement, before taking that up with management and, if necessary, the board of trustees.

The PPTA has 26 members at the school, which represents the vast majority of the teaching staff.

Its deputy general secretary of membership, Erin Polaczuk, yesterday told the Otago Daily Times teachers had been raising concerns about what was happening at the school for at least a year.

She was sure of neither the number of issues, nor whether they went back further, because both she and the field officer had only been in their position since May last year.

''It has been on the radar for a year, at least. It's been simmering away.''

Ms Polaczuk said individual issues had been raised by union members, but she could not discuss their nature, other than saying they related to management and administration.

If a member contacted the PPTA with a problem, a field officer would start a case file and would then represent and assist the member with whatever was needed, including talking to management.

Ms Martin had been approached by the Ministry of Education in relation to issues at the school.

Yesterday, Ms Martin was working with the school's PPTA branch over issues raised by teachers relating to timetabling.

''The rules are really strict and clear in the agreement around timetabling and there is a suggestion the collective has been breached on the site to the disadvantage of our members there,'' Ms Polaczuk said.

That was being addressed with management and, if necessary, the board.

''We always try to address and resolve it at the lowest possible level first,'' she said.

The Otago Daily Times has been contacted by past teachers, who said issues were raised with the PPTA as far back as 2012.

Two of those teachers, Priscilla Hay and Graham Kitchen, were among the 17 people who had made comments or complaints about the school to the Ministry of Education, now being dealt with by the board, with the assistance of the New Zealand School Trustees' Association.

The board was also dealing with a serious incident involving a senior staff member.

Rector Paul Jackson could not be contacted and was away on personal business. Board chairman Garry McLeod said it was a management issue and he was not aware of the visit.

- david.bruce@odt.co.nz

 

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