Circular 2023/14 - Variation to the Secondary Principals' Collective Agreement 2022-2025

Date 9 November 2023 | Circular 2023/14 | Category Employment Relations

This circular is about the details of the recently agreed variation to the Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement (SPCA) 2022-2025.

This circular does not replace any other.

It is intended for Presiding Members of School Boards of all state and state-integrated and secondary schools.

For more information contact the New Zealand School Trustees Association on 0800 782 435 or email

The action needed is to

  • Note the variation to the SPCA provides changes to U-grade rates.
  • Note the one-off lump sum payment for all secondary principals employed as at 1 December 2023 has increased to $1,500 (gross), from $500 (gross). This payment will be pro-rated for part-time principals.
  • Note the term of the SPCA has extended and will now expire on 1 May 2025.
  • Note existing staff who have already signed the IEA promulgated on 14 February 2023 do not need to sign a new IEA to receive these changes.
  • Offer new staff the promulgated IEA, where they opt for an IEA. 


On 27 October 2023, the Secondary Principals’ Collective Agreement 2022 - 2025 (SPCA) was varied in agreement with SPANZ Union and PPTA Te Wehengarua.

This variation has been offered following the ratification of the Primary Principals’ (NZEI) Collective Agreement 2023-2025 (PPCA-NZEI) and the Area School Principals’ Collective Agreement 2023-2025 (ASPCA) to maintain the Unified Pay System for principals in state and state-integrated schools and kura.

This circular provides a summary of the changes and new provisions agreed in the variation.

Collective agreements can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education’s website:

Key features of the variation


The variation extends the term of the agreement by six months. The term of the SPCA is now 1 December 2022 – 1 May 2025.

Changes to U-grade rates

The variation provides changes to the U-grade rates, which includes an additional increase effective 16 November 2023, and two further increases in 2024.

Education Payroll will implement the 16 November 2023 increase by the end of November 2023.

The pay scale for secondary principals can be viewed here.

Lump sum payment

The variation also increases the one-off lump sum payment for all secondary principals employed as at 1 December 2023 from $500 (gross) to $1,500 (gross). The lump sum payment will be paid by Education Payroll on 12 December 2023.

Individual Employment Agreement (IEA)

Existing employees

  • Existing non-union employees do not need to sign a new Individual Employment Agreement (IEA) if they have already signed a Secondary Principal IEA promulgated 14 February 2023. Those employees automatically receive the benefits of the PSPA variation.

New employees

  • New employees who are not members of either SPANZ or PPTA but whose work could fall within the respective coverage clause of the relevant collective agreement may be offered the promulgated IEA to access the applicable terms and conditions of the SPCA.
  • Employers must inform new employees that a collective agreement exists and provide them with a copy of the agreement and information about how to contact and join the relevant union. New employees who are not members of the union must be employed on an IEA based on the applicable collective agreement for the first 30 days of employment, after which they can choose to remain on the IEA or join the applicable union and become bound by the collective agreement.

In the event a Board has concerns and/or questions regarding its employment arrangements with individual employees, the Board should contact its NZSTA adviser or its own employment adviser.

Issued by

Tim Tucker, Manager Employment Relations, Te Pou Ohumahi Mātauranga | Education Workforce
Ministry of Education, PO Box 1666, Wellington 6140, New Zealand, Phone 04-463 8000,

Last reviewed: Has this been useful? Give us your feedback