Frequently asked questions

We’ve put together a list of frequently asked questions which may be helpful to you in applying for the Secondary Teachers' Study Award.

Select a category below to be taken to questions and answers relating to that topic.

General

Eligibility

How is my application assessed?

Completing the application form

Proposed study

How is the leave awarded?

Study plan requirements

Principal and board of trustees/employer support

Submitting my application

 

General

Where did the Secondary Teachers’ Study Awards come from?

The Secondary Teachers’ Study Awards were established in negotiation between the Post Primary

Teachers’ Association (PPTA) and the Ministry of Education. The awards are based on criteria determined by the Ministry of Education in consultation with the PPTA and the New Zealand

School Trustees Association (NZSTA).

What is this award?

This study award is one of the professional learning provisions available to teachers in New Zealand state or state-integrated schools, who are employed under the terms and conditions of the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement (STCA).

How many are available each year?

Each year there are 75 full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE) study awards available to secondary teachers in state or state-integrated schools. The award provides time for part-time or full-time study in agreed educational priority areas.

When will I find out the outcome of my application?

You will be notified by Thursday 30 September 2020.

How many are available each year?

Each year there are 75 full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE) study awards available to secondary teachers in state or state-integrated schools. The award provides time for part-time or full-time study in agreed educational priority areas.

Are all the study awards allocated each year?

Yes, the selection process for the Secondary Teachers’ Study Awards is always competitive as there are a limited number available. 

What does a Secondary Teachers’ Study Award provide?

The study award provides paid leave at the teachers’ normal salary for the duration of the study award.

‘Normal salary’ includes all permanent salary units and allowances.

Where fixed-term salary units and allowances are held, the teacher should clarify with their principal whether these will continue to be paid. Any salary increases or increments during the period of leave still apply, according to the provisions of the STCA.

The leave counts as service for most purposes. The leave of absence is for full-time or part-time study.

The study award does not include any additional expenses associated with the study, e.g. course fees, or removal and travelling expenses.

The number of weeks is granted at the discretion of the selection panel, based on the study proposed in the application.

How is the study award paid?

You will continue to be paid through your school. Your school receives relief funding, in accordance with the relevant collective agreement, while you are on study leave.

What are the expectations if awarded a study award?

If you are selected for a study award, you must:

  • Notify TeachNZ if there are any changes to your contact details, employment status, your study plan, or if you take up a new position
  • Undertake the study as stated in your application
  • Be at school before and after taking up the study award if you are awarded less than a full year’s study award (e.g. 20 or 32 school weeks rather than 40)
  • Provide confirmation of enrolment and proof of completion of study when required.

If you are offered a study award and then decline it, you can re-apply with no prejudice in a subsequent year.

Please note that the study award cannot be deferred to the following year.

Does the Secondary Teachers’ Study Award pay for course fees or any additional expenses?

No, there is no contribution to course fees or any additional expenses.

What approval of leave is needed for the leave?

Teachers who are granted a study award will be given leave on pay for the period of study by their principal and board of trustees/employer.

The application form requests a signature from the principal and board of trustees/employer to demonstrate support for your application. If you have not received support from the principal and board of trustees/employer, you may still apply. You should provide an explanation as to why written confirmation of support from the principal and board of trustees/employer has not been included with your application.

What will happen if I have applied for the wrong award?

Your application will only be assessed for the award you have applied for. It’s important for you to check the application information to ensure that you are applying for the correct award.

If my study finishes before the end of the school year, do I need to return to school?

Yes, you are expected to be at school before and after your study leave. A study award will only fund the relief costs up to the total number of school weeks that you have been awarded.

Do I need to return to the same school after completing my study award?

There is an expectation that you will return to either your previous role or a similar one.

Can I apply for more than one award?

Yes, but you can only accept one award. If you are successful in more than one application, you will be asked to choose which award you will accept. Please note that you must send in a separate application for each award.

Can I submit more than one application for the same award?

No, you can only submit one application for each award you apply for.

Can I postpone my award until the next year?

No, a study award cannot be postponed. If you need to withdraw from the study award, you can apply again in the future with no prejudice.

What if I am offered a position at a different school before I take up the study award?

You will need to tell your new principal and board of trustees/employer you have been offered a study award and discuss your options with them. If your new principal and board of trustees/employer supports your completion of the study award, then you would need to provide TeachNZ with confirmation of support from the principal and board of trustees/employer so your new school can receive relief teacher funding.

If you then choose not to take up the study award, for any reason, you must advise TeachNZ as soon as possible. Note that if this is possible before September, the study award can be offered to a teacher on the reserve list.

What if I am offered a position at a different school that will commence while I am on study leave?

You will need to consider your commitment to the study award and discuss your options with your principal and board of trustees/employer. If your new principal and board of trustees/employer supports your completion of the study award, you would need to provide TeachNZ with confirmation of support from the principal and board of trustees/employer so your new school can receive relief teacher funding.

Can I withdraw from a study award?

If you choose to withdraw from the study award, you can apply again in the future with no prejudice. You just need to let us know in writing that you would like to withdraw from the award. We can accept this by email to teacher.studyawards@education.govt.nz.

What if I begin my study and I find I can’t complete it?

The study award is given to you for the purpose of completing the study outlined in your study plan.

If you are unable to complete the study, you will need to contact TeachNZ to discuss your options.

What if I am made surplus to requirements while on study leave?

The usual provisions for surplus staffing apply at the end of that year, as you are still an employee of the school from which you are on study leave. You have the same rights as other teaching staff and you will be able to complete your study award.

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Eligibility

To be eligible to apply for a study award, you must be:

  • employed under the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement or applicable Individual Employment Agreement (IEA).
  • a permanently appointed full-time or part-time teacher in a New Zealand state or state-integrated school or,
  • a full-time long-term relieving or fixed-term teacher in a New Zealand state or state-integrated school.

If appointed to a Kāhui Ako | Community of Schools Teacher (across community/schools) role, you cannot undertake a study award at the same time.

Note that guidance counsellors covered by the STCA may apply. Fixed-term part-time teachers and long-term relieving part-time teachers and day relievers are not eligible to apply.

If you are employed in a full-time fixed-term position, this position must cover the duration of the award. 

If I am a secondary-trained teacher working in an area or primary school, can I apply for a 2020 Secondary Teachers’ Study Award?

The study award you are eligible to apply for depends on which collective agreement you are employed under. You are most likely employed under either the Area School or Primary Teachers’ Collective Agreements. You can apply for a Secondary Teachers’ Study Award only if you are covered by the terms and conditions of the Secondary Teacher’s Collective Agreement and meet all the eligibility criteria.

If you are covered by the terms and conditions of either the Primary or Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreements, you may be eligible to apply for an Area School or Primary Teachers’ Study Award. Please visit www.TeachNZ.govt.nz/studyawards to find out more.

I am a Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) who works in primary and area schools, but my lead school is a secondary school. Can I apply for this award?

The study award you are eligible to apply for depends on which collective agreement you are employed under.

You can apply for a Secondary Teachers’ Study Award if you are covered by the terms and conditions of the Secondary Teacher’s Collective Agreement.
Although you are working in primary schools, as your lead school is a secondary school you may be employed under the terms and conditions of the Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement.

If you are covered by the terms and conditions of the Primary or Area School Teachers’ Collective Agreements, you may be eligible to apply for a Primary or Area School Principals’ and Teachers’ Study Award. Please visit www.TeachNZ.govt.nz/studyawards to find out more.

I am a guidance counsellor with a LAT and am employed full-time. Can I apply for a study award?

Yes, the guidelines specifically allow for untrained guidance counsellors to apply for a study award to complete a teacher education course. You would meet the priority area of gaining and/or advancing a teaching or education qualification.

What if my teaching position is made surplus to requirements after I submit my application?

TeachNZ provides relief funding to a school while a teacher is away on study leave. If your position is disestablished, you will not be able to take up this study award; under the surplus staffing provisions, however, there is a retraining option which offers full-time study leave for 40 weeks. 

Talk to your colleagues, your board of trustees/employer and/or your union about the options available to you through the surplus staffing provisions. Your proposal for the study award may fit the criteria for the retraining option available through surplus staffing.

I am a part-time teacher; can I apply for a 2021 Secondary Teachers’ Study Award?

Yes, if you are permanently employed. If you are offered a study award, the amount of study leave you receive will be pro rated on the basis of your current full-time teaching equivalent (FTTE). You will need to let us know your current FTTE.

Please note that part-time, long-term relieving or part-time fixed-term teachers are not eligible to apply.

I am on a fixed-term contract; can I apply for a 2021 Secondary Teachers’ Study Award?

Yes, if you are appointed full time, but you will also need to be employed by a school during study leave as TeachNZ provides relief funding to your school while you are on study leave.

Can I apply if I am a long-term reliever?

Yes, if you are employed full-time, but you will also need to be employed by a school during the study leave as TeachNZ provides relief funding to your school while you are on study leave.

My certification is currently subject to confirmation. Can I apply?

Yes, but only if you will receive full certification status by December 2020.

Please notify TeachNZ if your registration status changes during the application or selection process.

I am provisionally certificated – can I apply?

Yes, but please note that one of the selection factors gives preference to certificated teachers with at least five years’ service in New Zealand state or state-integrated schools.

Please notify TeachNZ if your certification status changes during the application or selection process.

I have Limited Authority to Teach (LAT) – can I apply?

Yes, teachers who have LATs and are appointed full time in teaching roles, such as guidance counsellors and itinerant music teachers, can apply as untrained teachers to complete a teacher education course. They meet one of the priority areas (see above for guidance counsellors), but one of the other selection factors gives preference to registered teachers with at least five years’ service in New Zealand state or state-integrated schools. The selection panel has to consider the complete range of priorities, preferences and selection factors in making their decisions.

Can I apply if I have previously had a study award or sabbatical? 

Yes, but please note that one of the selection factors gives preference to teachers who have not had a significant period of study leave in the last five years.

Can I apply if I’m not a member of a teachers’ union?

Yes, the study awards are open to all teachers in New Zealand state and state-integrated schools who meet the eligibility criteria.

Can I apply if I am a Deputy Principal?

Yes, as long as you meet the eligibility criteria.

I am appointed to the Community of Schools Teacher (across community) role, am I able to take study leave? 

No, a teacher in receipt of the allowance for Community of Schools Teacher (across community) role shall not be eligible to take up a study leave award but may apply for a study leave award in the last year of their appointment to the role provided that it is not taken up until after the conclusion of the fixed-term appointment.

If I am appointed to the Community of Schools Teacher (within school) role, am I able to take study leave? 

Yes, apply as usual.

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How is my application assessed?

How is study leave awarded?

Your application will be checked to ensure it meets all the eligibility criteria outlined on page 1 of the application guide. A selection panel, made up of equal representatives from the Ministry of Education/NZSTA and PPTA, will then assess your application.
Firstly priority is given to:

  • completing a level 7 specialist subject qualification
  • study in a wider or new curriculum area
  • teachers who are gaining and/or advancing a teaching or education qualification.
  • study to enhance your knowledge and/or pedagogy in areas where there is pressure on teacher supply. For study in 2021 these areas are the sciences, technology, and mathematics (particularly at years 11-13) and te reo Māori.

Applications are then ranked highest to lowest on the following selection factors:

  • Study or research that furthers the Ministry of Education’s priorities in education including policy that aims to improve the learning outcomes for priority student groups, this includes:
    • Māori and Pasifika students
    • students from low socio-economic backgrounds
    • students with special education needs.
  • Study that benefits the teacher personally and professionally.
  • The commitment and effort already made in recent study.
  • The completeness and clarity of the study plan.

Preference is then given to teachers on equal ranking who:

  • are completing qualifications in 2021
  • have not had a significant period of study leave in the last five years
  • are registered teachers with at least five years’ service in New Zealand state or state-integrated schools.

If required the following additional selection factors will be given consideration.

  • issues faced because of professional isolation.
  • equal opportunity factors.
  • support from the board of trustees/employer and principal.

The selection panel’s role is to ensure the selection process is open, fair, consistent and impartial, that it provides equal opportunity and non-discrimination and that study leave weeks are assigned equitably.

What is considered recent study?

Recent study is defined as study that has been undertaken in the last three years.

What is considered ‘professional isolation’?

It is important that you outline any professional isolation, as applications are judged based on the information you provide.
Examples of professional isolation include:

  • if you are the sole teacher of a subject area (e.g. the only te reo Māori or chemistry teacher)
  • if you are the sole mentor of beginning teachers in your school
  • if you are a teacher in a small, isolated school
  • if you cannot access professional development opportunities because of distance and/or costs
  • the socio-economic status of the school or community or specific requirements of the school.

What are the Ministry of Education’s priorities for education?

You can find these in the Ministry of Education’s current Statement of Intent. You can find a copy on the Ministry of Education’s website. www.moe.govt.nz

What are equal opportunity factors?

The selection panel will consider equal opportunity factors, which are any barriers that could prevent a teacher form taking up opportunities.

Examples of equal opportunity factors can include:

  • family circumstances that prevent you from taking up professional development opportunities
  • it is hard to find relief teachers in your subject area so you have been unable to take up professional development opportunities.

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Completing the application form

What does full-time teacher equivalent (FTTE) mean?

Full-time teacher equivalent means one full-time teaching position, which has a measure of 25 hours per week (five hours per day).

If you are employed part time, please make sure you provide your FTTE (which is the number of hours you are employed per week divided by 25), as the leave awarded will be pro rated on the basis of your part-time hours.

Can I include my professional development in my qualifications on the application form (e.g. National Aspiring Principals Programme)?

You may describe any aspect of your learning and study in support of your overall personal career plan and your application; however, study leave is given according to particular priorities.

Can I include in my employment history time spent training in a teacher education programme?

No, time spent training to be a teacher is not counted as service as a teacher in New Zealand.

I have received a study support grant previously. Does this count as supported study leave?

No, a study support grant is not considered supported leave.

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Proposed study 

What professional learning (study) can teachers undertake?

Teachers can apply to:

  • complete a qualification
  • improve an existing qualification
  • study a new qualification in a new or different curriculum area
  • undertake research
  • undertake study that is relevant and adds value to secondary education
  • obtain practical knowledge and skill-related experience in their subject area.

Is there an approved list of qualifications?

You can apply to study any qualification you choose. You will need to justify your choice of study in your study plan.

What is research study?

For the purposes of a study award, research study may be part of, or in conjunction with, a formal study programme provided by a tertiary institution.

Which tertiary institutions are approved for study?

You can apply to study at any tertiary institution, whether on campus or via distance learning.

Can I study overseas?

Yes, you can apply to study at any tertiary institution you choose.

How do I find out the level of the qualification I am studying?

You can find the level of the qualification on the New Zealand Qualifications Authority website www.nzqa.govt.nz, or you can ask your tertiary institution.

What if the qualification I am planning on studying is not on the NZQA framework?

Please make sure you provide as much information as possible.

Do I need to be enrolled when applying?

No, but please contact your proposed tertiary institution to find out key enrolment dates.

If you are awarded a study award you will be asked to provide confirmation of enrolment in February or March of the year you go on leave.

Can I apply to study part time throughout the year?

Yes you can, as study leave can be used flexibly throughout the year. It is important your principal and board of trustees/employer understand that you plan to study part time and how this will affect your teaching time.

An example of this could be if you are planning to study 60 credits, you would be awarded 16 school weeks to complete your study. You can take the 16 school weeks flexibly throughout the school year with agreement from your school.

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How is the leave awarded? 

How do I work out the number of weeks I will need a study award for?

The amount of leave awarded is based on the length of the course you study, up to a maximum of 40 school weeks (term breaks are not counted). The period of study leave is granted at the discretion of the selection panel.

For example:

  • If you plan to study 120 credits, you will be awarded 32 school weeks to complete your study.
  • If you plan to study 60 credits, you will be awarded 16 school weeks to complete your study.

What are school weeks?

School weeks are the weeks during term time. TeachNZ funds relief costs for the school weeks plus any holiday pay the relief teacher is entitled to.

Can I apply to complete my postgraduate qualification, and start work towards my ‘Masters’?

Yes, you can apply to complete more than one qualification in the year. Please make sure you provide all the requested information for both/all qualifications in your study plan.

The study that I plan to complete takes two full years. If I am awarded a study award will it cover both years of study?

No, the study awards are only available for up to one school year.

Can I change my course of study after submitting an application?

Yes, but not substantially. Please notify TeachNZ of proposed changes in writing, and provide details of this and an explanation of the reason for this change as this will need to be approved.

Can I apply to study for one semester only?

Yes you can, but it is important that your principal and board of trustees/employer know that you are planning on study for one semester as they as they will only receive relief funding for the time you are away.

If I am offered an award for less weeks than I would need to complete the course can I request more?

Yes, but not substantially. The period of study leave is granted at the discretion of the selection panel in accordance with the credits you advised you will be studying on your application. If you need more weeks to complete the course please contact in writing via email or post to advise why, and that your school principal and Board support this.

Please note only if weeks are available will we be able to look to increase.

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Study plan requirements

How should I present my application?

Please complete your study plan in the requested format on the application form. This makes it easier for the selection panel to assess study plans consistently.

Why is it important that I explain what study I plan to do?

As you can apply to study any qualification at any tertiary institution, you need to clearly justify your choice of study and explain how this decision will benefit your teaching practice and students. This includes detailing your chosen qualification and papers in your own words and explaining why you have chosen that paper or qualification.

Why do I need to complete all the information on my study plan?

The selection panel will be using only what you provide as the basis for their decisions and you need to present your application as best you can.


Your study plan is a key part of your application and you need to demonstrate to the selection panel that you have taken the time to prepare it carefully and have followed the format structure. Failure to do so may result in your application scoring lower.

Can I submit more than one study plan?

No, you can only submit one study plan.

If my study finishes before the end of the school year, do I need to return to school?

Yes, you are expected to be at school before and after your study leave. A study award will only fund the relief costs up to the total number of school weeks you have been awarded.

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Principal and board of trustees/employer support

What can I provide as evidence that my principal supports my application?

We can accept one of the following as principal support:

  • A signed letter of support from your school principal.
  • An email sent directly from your school principal to TeachNZ.

Principal support, in one of the formats outlined above, must be submitted by Tuesday 21 July 2020. Please note that support from the principal is a selection factor.

Who can support my application if my principal is away?

The acting principal is the only person who can support your application on behalf of your principal. Please make sure it is clear that the signature is from the person acting in the role of the principal.

Who can support my application if I am acting principal?

The principal should support your application. If your principal is unable to provide support in one of the approved formats please provide an explanation in the box provided.

What can I provide as evidence that my board of trustees/employer supports my application?

We can accept one of the following as board of trustees/employer support:

  • A copy of relevant board of trustees minutes confirming support for your application.
  • A signed letter of support from the board chairperson/employer.
  • An email sent directly from the board chairperson/employer to TeachNZ.

Board of trustees/employer support, in one of the formats outlined above, must be submitted by Tuesday 21 July 2020. Please note that support from the board of trustees/employer is a selection factor.

What if I can’t provide confirmation of principal and board of trustees/employer support when I submit my application?

If you have not yet received support from the principal and/or board of trustees, you may still apply, but please send confirmation of support in by Tuesday 21 July 2020. Please provide an explanation in the box on page 11 of the application form as to why the support of the principal and/or board of trustees/employer is not included with your application.

Please note that support from the principal and board of trustees/employer is a selection factor and must be submitted by Tuesday 21 July 2020.

Who has the authority to support my application on behalf of the board of trustees chairperson?

The deputy chairperson or another trustee who has delegated authority in the absence of the chairperson or their deputy. Please make sure this is clear on the application form.

Who can sign my application form if the board of trustees has been disestablished?

Please ask the commissioner acting in place of the board of trustees to confirm support for your application by signing your application form. Please ensure it’s clear the signature is that of the commissioner.

Who can support my application if my school has a limited statutory manager employed?

If the limited statutory manager is acting in place of the board of trustees for employment matters, ask the limited statutory manager to confirm support for your application by signing your application form, otherwise the board chairperson should sign. Please ensure it’s clear that the signature is that of the limited statutory manager.

I am a Resource Teacher: Learning and Behaviour (RTLB) and work in a number of schools. Which principal and board of trustees/employer should I ask to support my application?

RTLBs are employed by the cluster lead school’s principal and board of trustees/employer. The schools where RTLBs are located, but not employed, are called host (or satellite) schools.

Please ask the principal and board of trustees/employer from your lead school to support your application.

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Submitting my application

What happens if my application is late?

Late applications will not be considered. For your application to be considered, it must be sent and postmarked on or before Tuesday 30 June 2020.

 

Can I send in additional information after submitting my application?

You may submit additional information for your application up to Tuesday 21 July 2020 (two weeks after the closing date), otherwise this cannot be considered with your application.

 

How will I know that you have received my application?

You will receive an email to confirm that your application has arrived. Please contact us if you have not heard from us by Tuesday 21 July 2020.

 

What happens if my application is incomplete?

It’s important to ensure you’ve submitted all the required information. If your application is incomplete, or is not in the correct format, the selection panel will not be able to fully assess it.

Can I email you my application?

No, we can only accept applications submitted online or sent in via post or courier. For your application to be considered, it must be sent and postmarked on or before Tuesday 30 June 2020.

Can I post you a digital copy (on a disc or USB stick) of my application?

No, please submit a printed, unbound document on A4 paper.

Can I apply online?

Yes, just complete and submit your application form online at www.teachnz.govt.nz/studyawards before Tuesday 30 June 2020.

What happens if my application is late?

Late applications will not be considered. For your application to be considered, it must be sent and postmarked on or before Tuesday 21 July 2020.

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