Surplus staffing

Ngā kaimahi tuwhene

When a board is required to reduce staffing, there are a variety of ways that may occur.

This section deals with the reduction of teaching staff as part of the annual staff cycle.  Different processes apply to broader restructurings e.g. mergers and closures or amongst non-teaching staff.  In most cases, the approach to be taken is governed by the applicable employment agreement. 

This section can be divided into the following categories:


Organisational change can be stressful for both the board and its employees. It usually arises when a principal or board finds that the existing structure of staffing is no longer meeting the specific requirements of the school. This may be because of difficulties in allocating existing funding to meet required goals; problems identified by other agencies such as the Education Review Office; a reduction in the school's roll; or as a result of regular self-assessment. It is essential to give early notice that a review is being undertaken. Employees themselves may have positive ideas about how the organisation of the school could be improved, and if consulted, they will have a better understanding of why change is necessary.

Employment agreements often require a board to give notice of the possibility of change. Notice requirements should be adhered to, or difficulties will invariably arise.

Some employment agreements in the non-teaching area (such as caretakers and cleaners, and support staff in schools) specifically allow for changes in employees' hours, or weeks of work, once in any period of 12 months, if the board so wishes. The specific provisions of these documents must be considered and followed if the re-organisation is to involve a variation in the hours worked by employees covered by these agreements.

In general, if an employment agreement requires notification to a representative organisation, then this must be done. Failure to do so is a breach of the agreement and could leave the board open to action or the possibility of a penalty.

Ministry material

Information for boards on disestablishing permanent teaching positions, Units, Middle Management Allowances (MMAs) and Senior Management Allowances (SMAs) is available on the  Ministry website.

  • About surplus staffing - An overview of surplus staffing, and surplus staffing costs
  • Provisional staffing entitlement notice - How to understand the provisional staffing notice
  • Decide if you have to reduce teaching staff - How to decide if you need to disestablish teaching positions
  • Ministry conditions for support - Conditions to meet before the Ministry can meet your surplus staffing costs.
  • How to apply for funding support - Guidelines on applying to the Ministry for funding support, timeline and application form
  • Approved applications - What to do once an application is approved. Paying surplus staffing teachers
  • Summary of what to consider before applying for surplus staffing support and what to include in your application.
Scroll Arrow Icon

© 2018 New Zealand School Trustees Association