• Wyatt Creech

The Government today announced significant remuneration increases for the country's 2,660 secondary, area and primary school principals.

This is a major one-off change designed to recognise a completely changed approach to remuneration in this area.

Education Minister Wyatt Creech said the pay increases were part of a package intended to recognise the critical role principals play in New Zealand education.

The principals' pay package will give average base salary increases of 9.4% for secondary principals, 12.6% for area school principals and 13.4% for primary school principals.

As the new pay rates take effect, the principal of a large school has the potential to earn about $100,000 per annum.

The new rates will phase in from the beginning of next year, with those for secondary principals back-dated to July 1, 1997.

Mr Creech said today's announcement confirmed the Government's promise of a unified pay system for the country's school sector.

``As part of the unified pay system that removes the secondary/primary pay differential, exactly the same base salary scale will apply for primary, area and secondary principals,'' he said.

Boards of schools in lower socio-economic areas will receive additional funding to help them recruit and retain high-quality principals to lift the performance of these schools. This funding applies to boards receiving the supplementary grant and takes effect in about two years.

Government Resourcing for Principals' Remuneration Roll size Base salary $ Supplementary Grant $
Variable on roll Decile weighting
Decile 1-2 Decile 3-4
1-51 52,000 5,040* 3,120* 1,560*
51-100 59,000 5,040* 3,540* 1,770*
101-150 64,000 5,043*-5,190* 3,840* 1,920*
151-300 69,000 5,193*-5,637* 4,140* 2,070*
301-500 74,000 5,640-6,234 4,440 2,220
501-850 77,000 6,237-7,278 4,620 2,310
851-1200 80,000 7,281-8,323 4,800 2,400
1201-1600 84,000 8,326-9,516 5,040 2,520
1600+ 87,000 9,519-10,710 5,220 2,610

Note* these asterisked amounts apply only to secondary and area school principals. The supplementary grants and decile weighting payments are over and above the base salary and are negotiated between the principal and board of trustees.

``These rates are high, but they are intended to recruit and retain very high quality managers and professional leaders for these positions.

``This kind of earning power is comparable to other state sector managers with similar responsibilities. As a result, Government is seeking measures for performance and accountability that are comparable to those required of other state sector managers, including those of tertiary institutions," Mr Creech said.

These measures include the introduction of professional standards for principals, to ensure that all principals meet minimum standards of performance and five year terms of employment.

The terms recognise the possible need for a refocus in leadership as the needs of the school change, although such a change will not be automatic. (In the senior public sector fixed term contracts were introduced in 1988.)

Mr Creech said that over the next three years the Government expected to contribute an extra $46 million to the school principals' salary bill.