Register for Conference 2018 - 20 to 22 July 2018 Rotorua


Register now for NZSTA's 29th Annual Conference - Early bird Registrations close 31 May 2018


Click here to register 


Surplus Staffing/CAPNA


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

This page deals with reduction of teaching staff as part of the annual staff cycle.  Different processes apply for 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. 

Surplus staffing

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.

At times, a review may result in employees being surplus to the requirements of the school - that is, certain positions are declared redundant. The announcement to the employees concerned can be difficult. However, it should be straightforward and frank, and the reasons, be they economic, technological, or other, should be explained.


Redundancy means the dismissal of an employee because the position becomes superfluous to the employer's needs. If the employer intends to replace the employee with another in the same position, there is no redundancy, and the board may find it is subject to a claim for unjustified dismissal.

In a true redundancy situation, the employer terminates the employee's position for specific reasons such as a change in financial circumstances. If a board can offer an employee another position at similar status, pay, and conditions to that of the position lost but the employee decides to resign, there is no redundancy. However, if the board offers the employee a less favourable position and the employee elects to resign, it could in some situations still be considered a redundancy.

Case law has established that redundancy is a dismissal. For an employer to justify dismissal, it must show that it acted in a fair and reasonable manner. A fair and reasonable manner includes consulting with employees, giving adequate notice of impending redundancy, considering alternatives to redundancy, and paying redundancy compensation unless provisions in employment agreements are specific about alternative provisions.

For example, the teachers' agreement may provide for alternatives such as a supernumerary period, retraining, or a severance payment.

The collective agreements of non-teaching staff tend to provide for redundancy compensation where employees are made redundant because their position has disappeared and no alternative position can be offered.

If a board is faced with a redundancy issue, it is strongly advised they contact their Employment Adviser.

Teacher re-deployment

Teaching staff are subject to quite a different surplus staffing provisions compared to non-teaching staff. The employment agreements covering teaching staff provide for quite specific redeployment provisions involving the potential for redeployment or creation of supernumerary positions.

The process of how a board determines the application of the conditions which apply are set down in the relevant employment agreement and Funding, Staffing and Allowances.

Supernumerary teachers continue to be employed at the school and are expected to take on duties allocated to them by the principal. These duties are allocated so as to allow the employee:

Curriculum and pastoral needs analysis (CAPNA)

The CAPNA process that occurs in secondary and area schools provides for the involvement of a PPTA redeployment specialist (as well as an NZEI representative for area schools). The role of the specialist(s) is to ensure fairness in the CAPNA process, as the union for their teacher members. Because a number of contractual arrangements can exist in secondary and area schools, it is possible that some teachers are not represented by the PPTA (or NZEI). It is important that these teachers are given the same rights and opportunities to participate in the redeployment process as the union(s) redeployment specialist. This may be by way of a nominated representative.

Network reviews/mergers (schooling re-organisation)

Where, as a result of a merger or closure, positions are changed, or employee positions are lost, procedures are established. In a number of situations, they are contained in the appropriate employment agreement. Extensive processes surround these events.

See below the process that occurs in terms of the advice you receive from the Ministry of Education.

Secondary Tertiary Programmes (STP) and how are they resourced?

Basically, The Ministry do not count students who are attending an STP on the regular resourcing role for staffing and funding purposes but have effectively "cashed up" the resourcing and provided it via the operational funding.  This will have the effect of decreasing staffing entitlements but not total resourcing.  For that reason, boards should take their overall resourcing into account when deciding whether they need to disestablish teaching positions. 

There will be no change to their surplus staffing process they will still be applying all their current criteria, whether the reduction is due to STP students will not come into the equation. 

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.


Back to top