Pūnga mātauranga
  • Kaiako Kura

Cultural leadership allowance FAQs

08 Hui 2024

Can teachers who receive the Māori Immersion Teaching Allowance or Pacific Bilingual and Immersion Teaching Allowance receive a cultural leadership allowance?

A: Yes, absolutely.

Can Resource Teachers or Learning Support Coordinators receive a cultural leadership allowance?

A: Yes.

Can employees who are employed on a Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) receive the cultural leadership allowance?

A: Generally, yes. However, any employee who is employed on a fixed term basis can only be eligible for the cultural leadership allowance if their contract is for at least 6 months’ duration. (The Education and Training Act prohibits the permanent appointment of employees on LATs to teaching positions)

Can principals receive the cultural leadership allowance for area school teachers or primary school teachers if they are in fact the ones doing the cultural leadership work at their school?

A: No. Principals have access to their own cultural leadership allowance but they cannot access the one that was agreed to in another Collective Agreement.

Can each cultural leadership allowance be divided up between more than two employees?

A: No. Schools can divide the allowance into two where two teachers meet the eligibility criteria. Primary schools with two eligible teachers can apply for a second cultural leadership allowance in phase 2.

Are cultural leadership allowances fixed term or permanent?

A: They are generally allocated permanently. In limited circumstances, they can be allocated on a fixed term basis but these circumstances are exceptional. Instances where the allowances can be allocated on a fixed term basis include-

- Situations where a teacher is employed on a fixed term contract (of more than 6 months’ duration), or

- Situations where a teacher has temporarily taken over the cultural leadership duties of another teacher who is currently on unpaid leave (i.e. parental leave).

Can I lose eligibility for the cultural leadership alowance once it has been allocated to me?

A: You become ineligibe for the allowance in the following circumstances:

-You stop being employed at your school (i.e. because you have resigned from your position), or
-You are subject to an adverse outcome of a competency or disciplinary process in your position. or
-You voluntarily relinquish your cultural leadership duties with the agreement of your employer or you cease to undertake the duties associated with the allowance.

In the rare circumstances where the allowance has been allocated to you on a fixed term basis, you cease to be eligible for the allowance once this term ends.

I am about to go on parental leave. Can I still receive the allowance?

A: You will not be paid the allowance while you are on parental leave, because parental leave is unpaid leave on the employer’s end (paid parental leave payments you receive from the IRD notwithstanding). However, you can be paid the allowance before you go on leave and upon your return. So, please do apply for the allowance if you usually do cultural leadership work. While you are on parental leave your employer can temporarily allocate the allowance to another teacher who is taking over your cultural leadership duties.

There are only a limited number of cultural leadership allowances available in the Phase 2 allocation to primary schools? Why should we even bother applying?

A: Even if your school’s application was unsuccessful, your school’s application would still be valuable and it would highlight the level of cultural leadership mahi happening in schools across Aotearoa to the Ministry of Education. This would support any push for a larger number of allowances when the allowance is reviewed – which will happen at the expiry of the Collective Agreements.

Why is the cultural leadership allowance focused on Māori and Pasifika cultural leadership specifically?

Since the allowances are limited, it was important that they acknowledge the areas of greatest need in our education system. The origins of the member claim for a cultural leadership allowance also came from mahi done by Māori and Pasifika members as they identified the lack of recognition of cultural leadership skills as an area of real need.

Why do we let employers make decisions about who to put forward as eligible for the cultural leadership allowance?

The difficulty is that someone will need to make a decision about eligibility. Principals (acting on behalf of the employing board) are usually well placed to have the necessary local knowledge of cultural leadership work in their communities to decide whether an employee meets the criteria. Schools and teachers can also agree to liaise with a kaumātua (for example) in the endorsement process.

Why bother giving schools a matrix with criteria if the decisions are made at the local level anyway?

A: The matrix is designed as guidance to give both employers and employees something to refer to when making potentially very difficult and contentious decisions.Some schools may find themselves in circumstances where they could potentially have several staff members interested in the allowance. The matrix will also help schools to developing cultural capabilities by encouraging staff members with these skills to apply these confidently in the knowledge that there is some systemic recognition of these skills.

Why are small primary schools excluded from phase 1 allocation?

A: Schools with less than 50 students may have less need for a cultural leadership allowance than larger schools given the size of their student population and small staff (the principal at those schools may already receive a cultural leadership allowance as well). However, since we know that there will be exceptions to this, small schools will be a priority group that the Ministry of Education and NZEI Te Riu Roa will consider first when distributing the Phase 2 cultural leadership allowances.

We have nobody at our school doing cultural leadership work but could use the allowance for different purposes and responsibilities. Can we use the allowance for other purposes?

A: No. If no one at your school is doing cultural leadership work, the allowance should be redistributed to another school where cultural leadership work is in fact happening. By instructing Education Payroll to pay the allowance, the employer attests that the eligibility criteria have been met.

We have two teachers doing cultural leadership duties at our school. What do we do?

A: The allowance can be shared between both teachers in the first instance. Primary schools can then apply to receive a second allowance in phase 2. This request for a second allowance may or may not be granted dependent on how many other requests for phase 2 allowances are received.

I was fortunate enough to receive a unit for cultural leadership responsibilities at my school so far. Can this unit be taken off me now that I receive the cultural leadership allowance? 

A: Generally no. So long as you were allocated this unit permanently, you can generally expect to keep it. Obviously, if your school was in a surplus staffing situation and needed to reduce the number of permanent units available to teachers for this reason, this would be an exception. However, salary protections would apply in those circumstances.

If you have so far received the unit on a fixed term basis, your employer can generally re-allocate the unit to someone else (and/or change the responsibilities associated with the unit) once the term of the unit expires.

My primary school is not eligible for a phase 1 allocation based on the most recent roll return but may reach the required 17% threshold next year. Does this change anything?

A: No, this does not immediately change anything. The phase 1 allocation happens this year based on the latest roll return data. It is possible though that more allowances will become available over time i.e. because a cultural leadership teacher at a school resigns and there is no one else at the school who is able to take over these responsibilities. Where this applies, it is possible that a re-allocation of a cultural leadership allowance happens.

Will cultural leadership responsibilities look the same at each school? What if the mahi of one teacher who holds the allowance is different to another allowance holder – does that mean either of these teachers are ineligible, or that the matrix is being incorrectly applied?

A. No. Cultural leadership and expertise will look differently across different school communities. The matrix has been designed as a guidance framework to facilitate quality decision making within the school’s local context.

I thought cultural leadership allowances would take effect from 28 January 2024. However, under the primary process, I may only receive confirmation of my eligibility in term 3. Does this mean primary teachers will be disadvantaged? 

A: No. All cultural leadership allowances will be backdated to 28 January 2024 (or to your date of appointment if that is later). So, if you get allocated a cultural leadership allowance in phase 2 and you have worked all year in your position, you can expect quite a significant amount of backpay.

I am a principal at a school and my cultural leadership teacher has resigned. What do I do?

A: The allowance can be re-allocated to another teacher at your school if you have someone else doing cultural leadership mahi. Feel free to seek advice from your NZEI Te Riu Roa Principal Support Officer if you need help with this. If you do not have any other teacher doing cultural leadership work, ] , please contact your local Ministry contact person or Director for Education.