Ensuring that schools make quality appointments is a key role for all boards and principals and there are a number of places to get assistance.
The New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA) is contracted by the Ministry to provide industrial support for all school boards (regardless of whether or not a board belongs to NZSTA as a member). NZSTA can be contacted on 0800 782 435 (0800 STA HELP). NZSTA’s website has contact information for local NZSTA advisers.
NZSTA’s website also contains a full checklist for school employers undertaking the recruitment process.
Key points in this checklist include: deciding the nature of the employment (eg, fixed term or permanent), ensuring the board places the correct delegation in place for making appointments, checking registration, and undertaking police vetting. The checklist also provides links to template letters of appointment.
Schools should also seek advice on reference checking if they are unsure of the process.
Principals can find information on the Education Leaders website.
Advertising job vacancies
The collective agreements and current legislation contain rules around when and how schools can advertise job vacancies. Further information can be found on the Education Gazette website.
In particular, employers should note that the State Sector Act section 77A, states that every employer in the education sector must operate policies that ensure the impartial selection of suitably qualified persons for appointment. Section 77H requires employers to advertise the vacancy in a manner sufficient to enable suitably qualified persons to apply.
The Ministry is concerned that adverts suggesting applicants from outside the current school community should not apply because the school has already decided (or at least almost decided) to appoint an internal applicant do not, on the face of it, comply with this obligation.
Schools are welcome to seek advice from their local NZSTA advisers or to contact the Ministry's industrial relations team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is a legislative requirement that a person employed in a teaching position holds either a current practising certificate or authorisation from the Teachers Council. The Teachers Council website has information about the registration process.
A Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) is a limited authorisation issued by the Teachers Council to a school to enable the employment of a person who does not hold a teaching qualification. Applications for a LAT will be considered in line with the Teachers Council’s LAT Policy and there are very strict criteria that must be met in the application. A police vet is conducted as part of the processing of a LAT. Information on the LAT process is available on the Teachers Council website.
2. Police vetting
All employees working in a school during school operational hours will be subject to police vetting requirements either by the Board of the relevant school or, if employed in a teaching role, by the Teachers Council.
Schools must ensure that all non-teaching staff do not have unsupervised access to students or children until a police vet has been carried out by the school. All contractors who are likely to have unsupervised access to students or children during school operational hours must also be police vetted by the Board of the relevant school.
Schools may also choose to Police vet other non-teaching staff (e.g. those that work outside school hours), volunteers or parent helpers if they wish to do so.
All vets must be repeated at least every three years unless the person concerned is no longer employed at the school or unless they are no longer in a role that means they need to be vetted. For further information regarding vetting for non-teachers see the Ministry of Education’s Circular 2010/09 - Changes to Police vetting requirements.
On the New Zealand School Trustees Association website you can also find information on:
For information regarding the vetting of teachers see the Teachers Council Registration Policy on the Teachers Council website [PDF; 1.7mb].
3. Collective agreement or an approved individual employment agreement
All employees must have a written employment agreement. Most school staff will be covered by a collective agreement (including being a member of the relevant union) or on an individual employment agreement that has been promulgated by the Ministry. A list of collective agreements and promulgated individual employment agreements are available in the Collective Agreements section on this website.
If your staff member is not covered by one of these agreements, then under the State Sector Act, you will need to seek the Ministry’s concurrence (approval) to the employee’s individual employment agreements. To find out more, email the Ministry email@example.com.
The Ministry of Education, NZSTA and the Teachers Council recommend that you:
- Familiarise yourself with your legal obligations when employing staff and seek professional support from NZSTA if you are unsure or unfamiliar with good recruitment practices.
- Ensure you sight copies or originals of all documents provided in support of an application, such as a teachers practising certificate card or the authorisation letter from the Teachers Council and immigration documents (if relevant).
- Always undertake reference checks.
- Ensure all agreements made with new staff members are put in writing.
- Ensure that any offer of employment to non-teaching staff is conditional on a positive report from the police vetting process – NZSTA has template letters that do this.
- Ensure that any fixed term offer is in writing and has the reasons for the fixed term, and the duration or event that will finish the employment, specified.
New Zealand School Trustees Association contact details
0800 STAHELP (0800 782 435)
Fax 04 473 4706
Colin Davies, Manager Service Delivery
Phone 04 471 6412; 027 475 8346
Fax 04 473 4706