Teacher Only Days
School will be closed on Monday 30 November for an Accord Teacher Only Day. This is a professional learning and development day when teachers will be working with a specialist facilitator.
This is the 3rd Teacher Only Day that we've held this year and is the first "Accord" day, which means it does not need to extend the school year. We've only given a term's notice of this day, which is the minimum amount of time we are allowed to give, and apologise for any inconvenience it may cause to our families. We have scheduled this day for late in Term 4 this year to make sure that we don't have an excess number of unused Accord days to use up over the next 18 months.
Accord Teacher Only Days were agreed as part of the Primary Teachers' Collective Agreement and provide schools with 8 Teacher Only days to use between 2019 and 2022, that do not need to be 'made up' and therefore do not extend the school year. In 2021 and in the first half of 2022 we will have 6 more Accord Days to use.
If you'd like more information about Teacher Only Days and the rules that govern how these can be used - read on.
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Purpose of Teacher Only Days
Teachers need to gather together on Teacher Only Days so that they can collaboratively plan for teaching and learning, participate in school wide professional learning and to carry out organisational tasks that require the input of all teaching staff.
Length of school year
Schools can choose when they hold Teacher Only Days and what they use them for. Teacher Only Days do not shorten the school year* as schools have to be open for students for a required number of days. In 2020 we are required to be open for children to attend on 190 days or 380 half days. This is part of the reason why there is variation between school finish dates at the end of the year (variation in start days also impacts on the finish date).
*Accord Teacher Only Days
As part of the Primary Teachers' Collective Agreement 2019-2022, it was agreed that teachers would be given 8 'Accord Teacher Only days' that could be used any time within the agreement period, and did not need to be made up. This means that these 8 days do in fact slightly shorten the school year for children. Note that the 8 days must be spread over 3 years (it is not 8 days per year).
We have only used one Accord day in 2019. Other Teacher Only days that we've taken have extended our school year or in other words, have been made up at the end of the year.
Teacher Only Days in the school holidays
Like many schools, Ridgway School holds between 3 and 5 Teacher only days in the week prior to school starting, and one in each holiday period. These days are often referred to as "call back days". The Primary Teachers' Collective Agreement states that schools may only have up to 10 call back days in any one year.
It should be noted that teachers still carry out independent work during the school holidays, but that they do this when it suits them and usually in their own home. Parents shouldn't assume that because they don't see teachers at school, that they haven't done any work during the holidays!
Teacher Only Days in term time
In order to do our job well, it is necessary for us to hold some Teacher Only Days in term time.
On these days we often have a facilitator come in and work with the whole staff, or work with teachers in our Kahui Ako (group of schools that work together). These days provide teachers with the opportunity to strengthen their expertise and keep up to date with current practice.
Other term time Teacher Only Days are necessary for teachers to work collaboratively to analyse achievement data and plan ahead for learning.
Sometimes the school employs relievers to teach in classrooms so that teachers can carry out various planning or professional learning activities. It is not possible to provide a reliever for every teacher at the same time, and even if it were, the cost would be prohibitive.
Classroom Release Time
Every teacher is entitled to a small amount of release time each week. This is referred to as CRT. Teacher Only Days are in addition to this regular release, and are used for quite different purposes.
Notice period for Teacher Only Days
When scheduling Teacher Only Days schools need to make sure that they give parents sufficient notice of those days, the Ministry of Education advises that at least one term's notice must be given.
While we aim to notify parents about scheduled Teacher Only Days at the start of the year, this is not always possible.
Teacher Only Days in 2020
This year 2 of our planned Accord Teacher Only Days did not go ahead due to Covid-19.
19 April - cancelled
29 May - we cancelled this day as we'd only been back at school for 2 weeks following Level 3 & 4 lockdowns and thought our community would rather children were at school.
By the end of 2020 Ridgway School will have taken 3 term time teacher only days;
25 September - scheduled and notified at the start of the year
27 October - scheduled and notified at the start of the year30 November - Accord Day - notified in Term 3