NZATE Objectives

  • To promote the teaching of English at all levels of the education system and beyond, and to unite all members in a common purpose

  • To act as a forum where all teachers of English can share ideas and experience;

  • To encourage continuity and liaison in the teaching of English from pre-school to primary to secondary to tertiary levels;

  • To encourage and foster research;

  • To publish material relevant to the teaching of English;

  • To speak authoritatively on behalf of all members on matters of concern related to the teaching of English;

  • To make appropriate representation on matters of concern related to the teaching of English;

  • To lend support to the activities of all teachers of English and their associations;

  • To promote liaison with the international organisations and with other National Associations for the Teaching of English;

  • To promote and facilitate travel to New Zealand by visiting overseas speakers and to encourage and facilitate travel abroad by New Zealand teachers of English.



President's Report July 2014

E nga reo, e nga mana, e nga iti kahurangi. Rau rangatira ma e huihui mai nei, tena koutou katoa.

Today, my main focus is going to be on communities and connections. At the moment, we’re enjoying a sense of community with like-minded people – people willing to give up some hard-won free time to come and share with and learn from other teachers.

At Conferences, I always feel a heightened sense of purpose and re-romanticise my sense of what English teaching is all about. It can be tricky to maintain that enthusiasm once I’m back in the classroom. Especially when, like all of you, I spend so much time on compliance, markbooks, moderation sheets, re-assessment opportunities and the like. The times that I reconnect, in a smaller way, with my colleagues are at my local association meetings. These have been of critical importance to me over the course of my career and, during the times when I’ve been teaching in an area without a healthy association, I’ve found it much harder to remain invigorated about teaching.

In a political climate where much about the future of education is uncertain – particularly in an election year – the support of colleagues is, I believe, the single most important thing that keeps our heads above water.

NZATE’s primary function, is, therefore to assist you in creating, maintaining and strengthening these links. We’d like every English teacher in NZ to have access to a community of colleagues. Our job is to advocate for issues of concern to the English teaching community. and to support your own efforts to be the best teachers of

English that you can be, in healthy departments with strong regional presences and associations. We want to help you achieve that in your area –come and see your regional representative to talk about how to make it happen.

Moira Scammell and I connected with another professional community in May, when we attended the PPTA Subject Association Forum. It was good to re-form connections to other associations, after some years when we couldn’t attend because of a clash with this Conference. We heard similar concerns from other associations as from our own. Notable among these was unease about a movement, through moderation, away from the original intent of some standards, the makeup of University Literacy, the sustainability and form of regional associations. Speakers addressed us on such topics as equity in education, educational research and the MoE initiative ‘Building on Success’.

It’s important that English teachers make sure that our communities – be they local, regional or national – remain aware of the issues and challenges we face. NZATE has an important part to play here in communicating and lobbying nationally, but all teachers need to keep their own communities informed. And, of course, we need to stay informed ourselves, in this, an election year. Both major parties are making big promises for education – it’s up to us to weigh the relative merits of these and vote accordingly.

As well, we need to keep a healthy sense of skeptism – not only about what is promised, but about what is claimed. For example, there’s a huge emphasis at all levels -  government, the Ministry and schools - on the importance of data and what we should do, based on this data. We’re inundated with tests, reports, surveys, statistics. We need to remember that data of any kind is one small strategy out of many that teachers can employ in their own enquiries. We should also remember to be proud of the innovation, flexibility, choice and in the case of English, enjoyment, our education system offers. And that this education system allows us to teach human beings, in all their individual complexities and different needs. Above all, we should remember that.

Now, I’ll turn to NZATE specific matters.

From next year, we’re making some change to our financial set up. We are bringing our fee structure into line with the other large associations like Maths and Science by basing it on school size – the intent is to make sure teachers in schools of different sizes have access to our resources – at the moment we rely on HOD’s getting enough memberships to provide copies of the journal, for example, for all core teachers –  we want to provide more direct access.

We’re also increasing the honoraria for key Council positions – there has been no change for many years, and the jobs have taken more and more time. The honoraria are recognition of time spent, rather than payment (since we couldn’t afford to actually pay people for their time! )

So far this year our membership is sitting at more than 495 – a rise of around 15% from last year, with more coming in each week. It’s heartening to see so many supporting and valuing NZATE. One reason is that we’ve employed some help for our secretary, and this has enabled us to directly contact more schools.

English in Aotearoa

We are very proud of our journal, which provides invaluable resources and PD in every issue. Steve Langley continues to do a superb job of editing.  Steve is constantly on the look out for articles and resources that will appeal to classroom teachers and would be very glad to hear from you.


Next year’s Conference will be in Wellington – its title is ‘Capital Letters’ – Facebook page is:

PD and Regional Associations

Please contact your regional representative with issues, needs, concerns etc – you’ll find contact details here:

Resources and PD

We’re resting on our laurels this year, by not creating any new resources, after the huge investment in previous years into our Oral DVD’s and books like ‘Sound and Sense’ and Sian Evans’ on Literary Theories. What we are doing, however, is offering PD for these resources – contact your regional rep about this.  

You can order resources here:

My final task is a sad one – to farewell our representative for Otago/Southland, Judy Maw. Jude has been with us for – years, and has been an exuberant and positive presence on Council for six years. We’ve valued her voice, experience and generosity with time and resources: many of you will have attended one of the many workshops she’s offered at Conferences over the years. She’s been a strong advocate for, and in, her region, contributing in a large way to Professional Development and the strength of the regional association.   – and all the while saved us accommodation expenses by sharing a room with our Vice President until last year, her husband Phil. Thank you, Judy, for your contributions.



Past President's Reports


NZATE President -November 2013

Take time to read two pieces of correpsondence that I have sent recently - one to Min Parata and the other advising PPTA of NZATE's stance on Charter Schools and the staff that choose to work in them.

The November report will follow soon...

Dear Ms Parata

I am writing on behalf of the New Zealand Association for the Teaching of English (NZATE), in relation to the recent decision to stop funding the National Co-ordinator Secondary English positions.  The roles provide invaluable support for English teachers, English Departments and local professional bodies.


This decision comes at a time when we have already lost the provision of resources and direct curriculum support through the removal of subject specific advisors and free best-practice workshops.  This decision will further erode the provision of support and direction for English teachers already dealing with increased pressure from sector reform.  Currently the people in these positions provide support, resources and networks for isolated and struggling teachers as well as those who wish to pursue excellence in their teaching practice.  They organise workshops, answer questions and provide information on curriculum changes and how to respond to them effectively.  Without this support the English teaching profession in Aotearoa New Zealand will be less robust.


The current co-ordinators visit isolated schools and areas to provide professional learning in areas where it is most needed.  They provide a benchmark against which teachers can confidently assess student work against national assessment standards.  This ensures that the unique New Zealand Curriculum is being implemented consistently so teachers can support students to succeed.  Across New Zealand they provide prompt responses to questions and issues which arise as well as building networks between teachers coping with similar problems.


The disestablishing of these roles undermines the Government’s restructure of the Teachers’ Council  and the drive for a higher level of professionalism in our schools.  It is disingenuous to require more commitment from teachers to subject specific professional learning while dismantling the structures in place to facilitate this learning.


Yours sincerely

Jo Morris

President, NZATE


NZATE President’s Annual Report 2012-13

Jo Morris

E nga reo, e nga mana, e nga iti kahurangi. Rau rangatira ma e huihui mai nei,    tena koutou katoa.

My report last year was delivered a month or so before the Novopay debacle began. What a mess. The only thing that hasn’t been a disaster is that for the first time I can remember, there’s been media sympathy for teachers. I may be prejudiced, but I think, actually, that our profession has covered itself in glory – we’ve continued to do our job in extremely trying circumstances – no walk out or strikes, just continued to put students first.

Another way English has featured in the news recently is because of Auckland University’s decision to raise the entry bar for prospective students. I wonder about the sense of this decision – it seems to me a more logical process would have been to see how the new literacy requirements work, before deciding on further changes. Presumably Auckland were part of the process – so NZATE would be interested to know why the University decided to impose another set of criteria – there was certainly no consultation with us, your subject association. In terms of our schools and classrooms, I’m ambivalent - on the one hand it certainly validates our subject and asserts its importance – but on the other, it means we will continue to have reluctant teenagers sitting in our classrooms being force fed our subject. We are supportive of the government led changes to literacy: we will not be advocating changes to those. However we will be making a submission to Auckland University regarding the further changes they’ve made.

Another issue concerns all teachers, not just English, but is important to be aware of. This is the review of the Teachers Council, which contains proposals that, if implemented, will make sweeping changes to our professional body from 2015. These changes will have major consequences for all of us. NZATE sees three key issues:

  • that the review committee was working on the premise that many teachers do not currently meet requirements
  • that all the people who will be on the future council will be appointees – with no elected representatives – and that therefore we will not have a voice or autonomy
  • and that in order to pay for this reduction in autonomy and trust, there will be a significant increase in our fees – and that we might even be required to re-register each year, through a more rigid and onerous process.

It’s of critical importance that all teachers are aware of and respond to this review – it’s an issue that goes beyond our subject association.

Two other issues that have affected English teachers this year are NZQA related. The first is that we’ve heard from teachers concerned about the timing and availability of Best Practice Workshops in their region. NZQA believes that clarifications, annotated exemplars and moderator newsletters are giving teachers the required support, so we all do need to make sure that we keep up to date with these. We felt, however, that it was important that face-to-face PD continues, and continues to be as useful as possible. Consequently, on your behalf, NZATE made a submission to NZQA regarding what we felt was the best model for these workshops: that they be early in the year, concerned with the examination and discussion of grade boundaries through student exemplars, aimed at leading or at least experienced teachers and that there are enough facilitators, and enough workshops, to ensure effective learning by participants. It’s worth noting that, in our experience, NZQA can be responsive to requests from regional organisations.


The second issue also indirectly concerns the Best Practice Workshops – specifically the information teachers are receiving at them about assessment and how this sometimes seems to conflict with exemplars on the NZQA website. Our advice in all cases would be to first consult the standard and the Conditions of Assessment guidelines. THESE, not tasks or exemplars, should be your ‘bible’. Remember that the exemplars in many cases were collected when the standards were still in draft form – and that best practice is always evolving. In some cases it’s also worth remembering that cost, technology and time constraints meant that limited possibilities are available as exemplars - for example connections exemplars don’t demonstrate that non-written responses are valid.)

There continues to be uncertainty about MOE and NZQA led PD opportunities.

All these issues do highlight the importance of strong national and regional subject associations.

Our job is to advocate for issues of concern to the English teaching community. and to support your own efforts to be the best teachers of English that you can be, in healthy departments with strong regional presences and associations.



  • So far this year our membership is sitting at more than 450, with more coming in each week. It’s heartening to see so many supporting and valuing NZATE. We would encourage all schools to have institutional memberships that reflect the size of the dept, so that everyone receives benefits like copies of English in Aoteoroa and membership prices on resources and conference.

Council Leadership

  • National council for 2012-2013:

Jo Morris, President

Phil Maw, Vice-President

Helaina Coote, Treasurer

Helen Almey, Secretary

Jude Maw, representative for Otago/Southland

Alison Cleary, representative for Canterbury/ Upper South Island.

Laura la Page, representative for Wellington

Yvette Krohn-Isherwood, representative for Central North Island/Waikato

Karen Beaumont, representative for Central North Island/Waikato

Matt Griffiths, representative for South Auckland/Tai Tokerau

David Taylor, representative for Auckland

Steve Langley, English in Aotearoa editor

Election Results


Jo Morris  President

Helaina Coote Vice President

Moira Scammell Secretary

Karen Beaumont  Treasurer

Barry Banks   Central North Island

English in Aotearoa

We are very proud of our journal, which provides invaluable resources and PD in every issue. Steve Langley continues to do a superb job of editing, helped this year for the March issue by Yvette Isherwood as guest editor.  Steve is constantly on the look out for articles and resources that will appeal to classroom teachers and would be very glad to hear from you.


Next year’s Conference will be at John Paul College in Rotorua.

Creation of Resources

We’re proud, this conference, to be launching “Sound and Sense’, our exemplification of poetry at Level 2. Later this year, the last in our oral exemplar series will be completed and you can pre-order it here at the conference at the NZATE stand. We’re hoping for delivery during Term 3. These resources represent a significant financial investment by NZATE in the professional learning of English teachers. We aim not to lose money on the production of these resources – some, for example the ones that involve filming students and teachers, are expensive to produce and so cost more to buy – and for all, we aim to have highly qualified people contributing - but all are, we feel, excellent value for money!

PD and Regional Associations

If you haven’t already met your rep, please make a point of doing so after this meeting.

(NOTE for readers: please contact your regional representative through our website: or facebook page: . An important message throughout the conference was how much we’d like to connect with more English teachers in more regions, and help set up local associations. So please do contact us about how we can help you.)