Senior high school students set to return to class under Level 3

Twenty-seven Auckland high schools are set to reopen under Level 3 restrictions, leaving many teachers concerned.

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Some schools have been granted special dispensation to open. Source: 1 NEWS

The Post Primary Teachers Association says since the Government gave the greenlight to secondary schools, it’s been inundated with messages from concerned teachers.

“Principals calling in teachers or even asking for teachers to volunteer to come and have face to face contact with students in the middle of a public health crisis. There’s no way you can say that’s upholding your statutory requirement for health and safety,” PPTA union representative Michael Cabral-Tarry told 1 NEWS.

The Government announced students from year 12 and 13 would be able to return to tutorials, provided the school have an approved health and safety plan in place.

In a press conference today, the Education Minister says some students have missed more than a term of work.

“We need to acknowledge that for these secondary school students are finishing their time at school and it’s quite high stakes for those students,” Mr Hipkins said.

Auckland Grammar School Headmaster, Tim O’Connor has been leading the call for schools to reopen for senior students.

He says it’s not about reputation, it’s about what’s best for students.

“Our students were asking for us for face to face tutoring and we’ve had overwhelming support from our teaching community to say they’d like the opportunity to see our young men as well,” he told 1 NEWS.

But the PPTA says they’ve heard differently, as has 1 NEWS who spoke with teachers who didn’t want to go public about their concerns.

“They’re frustrated, disappointed, angry and were also quite confused and worried,” Mr Cabral-Tarry said.

Mr O'Connor says staff were consulted. 

"My door is always open for teachers to discuss concerns," he said.

An associate dean from the University of Auckland’s Faculty of Education says it’s time secondary schools start adapting to a different learning style.

“Schools that offer end of year examinations have been forced into this situation and they may wan to think about forms of assessment that are much more closely related to learning and that it’s spread throughout the year,” she said.

So far 27 schools have been given approval to reopen.