Auckland school principals challenge Minister of Education

Advertisements placed by nearly 40 secondary school principals challenging the Minister of Education Chris Hipkin’s NCEA review is another indication about the lack of process and consultation plaguing the Government.

Hipkins on 27 of May:  Big, bold ideas to change NCEA – do you agree?

Radically changing NCEA Level 1 and better involving families and students in the design of courses students take are among the six big ideas in a NCEA Review discussion document released by Education Minister Chris Hipkins today.

The ideas were developed by my Ministerial Advisory Group to challenge thinking and provoke debate on updating our national school-leaving qualification,” Mr Hipkins says.

“Public consultation begins today and runs till 16 September.

“It’s really important the public has their say and I’m calling on them to take part.

But principals are complaining about not being given a say.

Today Newshub: High school principals challenge Education Minister Chis Hipkins over NCEA review

Nearly 40 secondary school principals are challenging the Minister of Education’s NCEA review.

On Sunday, they published full-page newspaper ads grading Chris Hipkins’ review a “fail” and damning the process as rushed, flawed and without proper consultation.

“Too rushed, Minister Hipkins, not enough thought. Must do better for our young people,” the ad reads.

The Principals NCEA Coalition says it represents more than 45,000 students from private, integrated and state schools, ranging from decile 1 to 10.

“We are a coalition of principals passionate about our young people and their secondary school education. We want the best possible education for the next generation – including a New Zealand qualification framework accessible to all students.

“We agree a review of NCEA is necessary because the framework can be improved to better prepare our young people for the challenges ahead. However, the review is flawed and we will not stand idle on the sidelines watching a fraught process pass us by.”

ACT leader David Seymour says he supports the principals, and is calling for Mr Hipkins to halt the review.

“If he is not prepared to do that, then he must modify it to incorporate the principals’ requests, consult them directly, focus on curriculum first, then review the administration of the NCEA.

“If he won’t do that, it will be difficult to see Hipkins’ education consultations as anything more than insincerely manufacturing consent for a predetermined agenda.”

‘Insincerely manufacturing consent for a predetermined agenda’ seems too be far too typical of a Government that seems to be increasingly going ahead with changes while ignoring advice and talking up to consultation but barely paying lip service to it.


  1. duperez

     /  1st July 2018

    Those principals must have loved it when the School Trustees Association suggested they shouldn’t be members of their own schools’ boards. The Secondary Principals Association president had a pretty weak response in the media.

    I guess the STA thinks schools and schooling don’t belong to principals and teachers and all those people do is manage what happens there, what they’re told to do there.

    Isn’t the NCEA just part of that?

    • NOEL

       /  1st July 2018

      Boards of trustees were designed to remove responsibility from Governments.
      Used to supervise in a factory where school furniture were manufactured to stringent Ministry guidelines. Later President of a PTA and during a school tour noted the numbers of broken chairs piling up in the ground keepers shed. None would have passed the Ministry guidelines for manufacture.

      • Gezza

         /  1st July 2018

        Solid wood & tubular steel frames & watchful teachers were the only things that made our school desks survive as long as they did.

  2. Grimm

     /  1st July 2018

    Being the Minister of Education in a National government is up there with the worst jobs in history. Push back from unions because you try to change the colour of crayons used to communicate with them is immense.

    But to get this sort of push back on Hipkins is just too funny. Between him and Twyford, it’s like an “I know bestathon”

  3. Zedd

     /  1st July 2018

    methinks Hipkins (& other ministers in new Govt.) are walking a tightrope, between trying to make change to policies they see as ‘needing reform’ & upsetting the other stakeholders, who are perhaps; ‘set in their ways’ & did not want ‘their boats rocked’

    When i was in Aust. I worked longterm in Admin. at TAFE (Polytech) & ‘restructuring’ was constant & ongoing.. moving from a Govt. education system to PPP type models.So; I left…. Vol. Redundancy

    • Grimm

       /  1st July 2018

      Yes, sometimes the only way to get change, is just get new people. There’ll be plenty stuck in their ways in education.

      But the point is that the big hitters in big Auckland schools are coming out publicly against what probably is a pretermined outcome. Surely these stakeholders needed to be onside first?

      It’s the same with Twyford. Many in the construction and aligned industries are just pointing and laughing. And it’s because they actually know he can’t do it.

      • Gezza

         /  1st July 2018

        Everybody knows he can’t do it. And everybody knows the reason. Even Labour’s Speaker realised last we week he had finally lost all hope of protecting Twyford at Question Time, & that the best he could was ensure that Twyford wasn’t actually in the House when he finally had to angrily read out, to the whole of Parliament & the viewing public, a ruling that made it absolutely clear that Twyford, with all his years in Parliament, hasn’t a bloody clue, has never grown up, & is, in fact, a fucking idiot.

      • Gezza

         /  1st July 2018

        Hipkins is not in the same category as Twyford. He may be maybe too beholden to the unions, & he has clearly miscaculated & mishandled this situation, but he can actually think, he does actually understand Parliamentary processes & rules, & although he still looks a lot like a schoolboy, he has actually grown up.

      • duperez

         /  1st July 2018

        Are you suggesting the big hitters in big Auckland schools are coming out publicly by predetermining there is a probably is a predetermined outcome? They themselves have predetermined the outcome? 🙃

  4. PartisanZ

     /  1st July 2018

    “‘Insincerely manufacturing consent for a predetermined agenda’ seems too be far too typical of a Government that seems to be increasingly going ahead with changes while ignoring advice and talking up to consultation but barely paying lip service to it.”

    It’s 1987 and I only have to change a couple of words … a phrase at most …

    ‘Insincerely manufacturing consent for a predetermined agenda’ seems too be far too typical of a Government that seems to be increasingly going ahead with changes while ignoring public opinion and neither talking about consultation nor even paying lip service to it.

    There’s a lot more to this than a relatively few people “set in their ways not wanting their boats rocked” IMHO … A scent of ‘Very Political’ …

    On a macro-level this is about education leading either to progressive social evolution (maybe even rising above Maslow Level 2 towards self-actualization) … or being restrained in orthodox conservatism … maintenance of the status-quo

    There’s around 370 Secondary Schools in NZ … I wonder what the other 330 think?

  5. Gezza

     /  1st July 2018

    I’ve had a number of discussions with a number of principals who are signatories to that letter – they don’t represent the views of all principals and teachers around the country. 

    Chris Hipkins returns fire.

    Will see if this gets on to 2ewes tonight. Jacinda’s baby on the lap vid might push it off the list.

    • Gezza

       /  1st July 2018


      • Gezza

         /  1st July 2018

        Yep it came up on 1ewes, but i was distracted. I think it was mainly around a sound bite from Hipkins saying these Principals don’t represent all the others.

        • PartisanZ

           /  1st July 2018

          It’s ‘The News’ … Nicely divisive and conflictionated* stuff …

          I bet that ‘Toughest Teacher in the UK’ lady who visited ‘Bairds Mainfreight School’ and was speaking at [Fonterra] Auckland Grammar that same weekend had something to do with this …

          … which implicates both Mainfreight and The NZ Initiative, whose CEO was at the Bairds Mainfreight School media release/photo opportunity …

          * yeah yeah … #160

          • Gezza

             /  1st July 2018

            Pretty sure none of that stuff featured at all.

  6. PartisanZ

     /  1st July 2018

    Regional inequality within the nation expresses itself as Auckland educational arrogance …?