Major changes proposed for governance of schools

The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce has proposed that the role of school boards significantly reduced, with many responsibilities replaced with regional administration hubs.

It also recommends “disestablishment of the Education Review Office (ERO) and New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA)”.

This is a major rethink of how education is administered in New Zealand.

The 8 Key Issues

 1. Governance
The Board of Trustees self-governing model is not working consistently well across the country.

  • Too much time and effort is expended on matters which many boards are not well
    equipped to address, such as property and the appointment of the principal.
  • Many boards do not have the capacity and capabilities to do what is required of them.
  • It is very difficult for boards, as currently constituted, to represent their community.
  • Decisions which impact significantly on the lives of children can be made without due
    process or appropriate checks and balances.
  • A focus on ‘one school, one board’ rather than on the collective interest of the network
    of schools in the wider community causes unhealthy competition and often impacts on
    already disadvantaged children and their families.

Our recommendations in brief

  • The role of boards should be re-oriented so that their core responsibilities are the School
    Strategic and Annual Plan, student success and wellbeing, localised curriculum and
  • Education Hubs would assume all the legal responsibilities and liabilities currently held by
    school boards with automatic ‘delegation back’ to principals/tumuaki regarding control of
    operational grants and staffing entitlements and recruitment.
  • Further ‘delegation back’ opportunities would be provided regarding property
    development through 5YA (five yearly agreements).
  • Boards should be involved in principals/tumuaki’ appointments and retain final right of
    veto on their appointment, but will not be the employer of the principal or teachers.
  • Boards will not be responsible for decisions on student suspensions, exclusions, and
  • Mana whenua representation on boards will ensure strategic knowledge for schooling and
    localised curricula.

 2. Schooling Provision

There is a need for a national school network strategy that prioritises:

  • The investigation of a dedicated pathway for Kaupapa Māori settings that would include
    planned capacity building to support the most proficient Māori language provision for
    teaching and learning.
  • Seamless student transitions between schools as they progress through the education
  • The phasing in of schooling provision that provides more stability and better transitions
    for students – for example, primary, middle school, senior college, or full primary,
    secondary school, or composite school.
  • The further development of full service schools and the more intensive use of school
    buildings and facilities both during and out of school hours.
  • Community-wide flexible curriculum assessment and timetabling offerings in schools,
    including enhanced digital infrastructure and provision.
  • An investigation and possible change in the role of Te Kura to more closely incorporate its
    learning expertise across the education system as a whole.

 3. Competition and Choice
Unhealthy competition between schools has significantly increased as a result of the self-governing school model. It has also impacted on the ability of some students and whānau to exercise choice.

We need to ensure that:

  • All enrolment schemes are fair and equitable with the Education Hub having final decision
    making rights.
  • Limits are placed on schools recruiting out of zone students.
  • Limits are placed on the donations schools may request.
  • Schools which enrol international fee-paying students provide for them independently of
    government funding.
  • Students with learning support needs have the same access to schools as other students.
  • School provision, including opening and closure decisions are made based on community
    needs and equity considerations.
  • State-integrated schools are treated in the same way as state schools with regard to the
    operation of transport subsidies and enrolment schemes

 4. Disability and Learning Support

Students with learning support requirements should have the same access to schooling as other students and it is clear that currently they do not.

The Ministry of Education’s new Learning Support delivery model and the draft Disability
and Learning Support Action Plan will hopefully provide much needed coherence and
increased funding and accessibility for these students and their parents. In addition, we
need to ensure that:

  • The Ministry of Education continues to lead national strategy and policy work as well as
    ensuring that national priorities are regularly reviewed.
  • The Teaching Council works with Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers to ensure better
    preparation of teachers/kaiako regarding learning needs and inclusion.
  • Every school has a learning support coordinator.
  • The Education Hubs employ specialist staff, Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour
    (RTLBs) and some teacher aides and coordinate work with local health and other
  • The Education Hubs would apply to national funding pools to reduce the burden on
    parents and schools.
  • Effective practices, innovations and localised responses are shared across Education Hubs
    and the Ministry of Education.

 5. Teaching

The quality of teaching is the major ‘in school’ influence on student success but our teacher workforce strategies lack the necessary support, coherence and coordination.

It is important to ensure:

  • We recruit a diversity of teachers/kaiako which matches the diversity of students as
    closely as possible.
  • Development of more flexible initial teacher education pathways to registered teacher status.
  • Guaranteed employment for newly trained teachers.
  • Viable pathways for the development and enhanced status of paraprofessionals.
  • Provision of proven national professional learning and development (PLD) programmes
    and local advisory services working with the Ministry of Education Curriculum, Learning,
    Assessment and Pedagogy Unit to support the work of teachers/kaiako.
  • Options for secondment between schools and Education Hubs and the Ministry of
    Education and Teaching Council.
  • More flexible guidelines for the Kāhui Ako approach.
  • More flexible guidelines for teacher appraisal.

 6. School Leadership
Leadership is central to school improvement and yet we have few formal and planned structures to develop and sustain school leaders. In this section we concentrate on the role of the principal/tumuaki because of its vital importance in schooling success.

The Teaching Council’s Leadership Strategy and Leadership Capabilities Framework provide a
sound basis for developing and improving effective leadership. In addition, we need to ensure:

  • Establishment of a dedicated Leadership Centre within the Teaching Council that will
    champion a coherent, research based approach to developing leadership capabilities at all
    levels of the system and establish guidelines for eligibility to apply for principal/tumuaki
  • Appointment of leadership advisers in Education Hubs to work closely with principals/
    tumuaki. They will also:
    › Identify leadership potential and create diverse talent pools.
    › Work with Boards to appoint principals/tumuaki.
    › Ensure that schools in challenging circumstances get leaders with recent proven
    leadership experience.
    › Provide connected processes for the induction and ongoing mentoring of newly
    appointed principals/tumuaki.
    › Provide ongoing regular support and professional learning and development for all
    › Ensure that effective principals/tumuaki contribute to leadership support and growth
    across the Education Hub.

7. School Resourcing
The overall resourcing for the compulsory schooling sector is currently inadequate to meet the needs of many learners/ākonga and those who work in it.

We need to ensure that:

  • The proposed equity index is implemented as soon as possible and prioritised for the most
    disadvantaged schools.
  • Equity resourcing is increased to a minimum of 6% of total resourcing and applied across
    operational, staffing and property formulas.
  • Management and staffing entitlements are reviewed to ensure they are fit for purpose.
  • Best practice in the use of equity funding by schools is shared across Education Hubs

 8. Central Education Agencies
A number of significant structural issues and policy settings make it difficult for the agencies to be as effective as they might be.

In order to achieve both the cultural and the structural transformation we are seeking, it is
vital to ensure:

  • Significant reconceptualisation and reconfiguration of the system stewardship function
    of the Ministry of Education. The reconfigured Ministry would monitor and work closely
    with Education Hubs and have a strong national leadership role in curriculum, learning,
    assessment (including NCEA assessment) and pedagogy, as well as advisory services
    for teachers, educational research, policy development, and data analysis for system
  • The creation of a new independent Education Evaluation Office reporting directly to
    Parliament which:
    › Reports regularly on the performance of the education system.
    › Evaluates the performance of the Ministry of Education and Education Hubs.
    › Is responsible for all quality assurance functions currently carried out by NZQA.
  • The Teaching Council should include a new Leadership Centre to operationalise the
    Leadership Strategy and Capabilities Framework.
  • The disestablishment of the Education Review Office (ERO) and New Zealand
    Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

The Taskforce’s report makes a number of significant recommendations for changes to the current education system. Stakeholder feedback on the report and its recommendations will be critical to inform Government decision making in 2019.

View the report and supporting information below:

Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th December 2018

    The bureaucracy always expands.

  2. robertguyton

     /  8th December 2018

    The naysayer always says nay.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  8th December 2018

      Possibly, but that isn’t what I said. If you can read the above proposals while denying my conclusion you have blinkers on.

    • Gezza

       /  8th December 2018

      If that’s the case, how come soothsayers don’t always say “sooth”? o_O

  3. Gezza

     /  8th December 2018

    There’s a lot to work through here in the links. Some of this looks good and some looks a bit unwieldy. At least its out for public consultation. Knocking NZQA out will have impacts on immigration if it’s still assessing overseas qualification comparability.

    • Gezza

       /  8th December 2018

      Or is it?

      • Gezza

         /  8th December 2018

        (Whoops – out for public consultation)

      • Gezza

         /  8th December 2018

        07 December 2018
        Our Schooling Futures: Stronger Together | Whiria Ngā Kura Tūātinitini, the review report of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce, has been released for public consultation.
        Education Dept

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th December 2018

    3. Competition and Choice: There won’t be any.

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th December 2018

    6. School Leadership: Will be chosen to ensure it serves the bureaucracy and teacher unions.

    • Gezza

       /  8th December 2018

      Will you be making any killer submissions and recommendations?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  8th December 2018

        The customer is powerless under these proposals and was voiceless on the taskforce.

  6. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th December 2018

    Seemingly ignored:

    Teacher paperwork overload
    Disruptive students
    Male student failure rates
    Substandard courses and qualifications

    • Gezza

       /  8th December 2018

      As the Task Force members aren’t responsible for figuring out the details and implementing it all,its inevitable you end up with a massive grab bag of a wish list.

      And if all the 180 odd Task Forces come back with these sorts of things the public service will fall over.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  8th December 2018

        Should be fertile ground for the opposition to work. The Govt would be wise to handle this report with kid gloves.

        • Gezza

           /  8th December 2018

          Any increase in the bureaucracy from here on will of necessity require hiring millenials. They will demand reasonable access to social media and to be allowed to check Facebook & personal emails whenever throughout the day in case they are missing something important in real life.

          A frown from any supervisor will result in complaints of bullying to managers and HR and less than fulsome praise for replacing the paper in the office printer will see many wanting a meeting with their manager about not being valued.

          It will take 3 times the previous staff to get the same amount of work done as a decade ago and most of it will be so carelessly done extra people over 50 will need to be hired as contractors to check and fix it & do coaching sessions they won’t pay any attention to because they know nothing about the way the world is today.

  7. duperez

     /  8th December 2018

    Any effort to look at improving schooling is good. When Tomorrow’s Schools was mooted, being discussed and introduced I said yes, sure, and asked ‘but will it improve kids’ learning and how would we know that?’ A massive, costly organisational upheaval was pointless unless the end result was improved learning.

    I’d say they same about this package. There are so many aspects to consider but I see one one simple bit on here which symbolises the type of contradictions existing now.

    In the report I see “Further ‘delegation back’ opportunities would be provided regarding property development through 5YA (five yearly agreements).”

    I helped a board of trustees with their five and ten year property plans. You know, Tomorrow’s Schools, local people making local decisions for local needs using tax-payers money efficiently. So all the work goes in then they get the ‘yes but’ message from Wellington. The top priority for all schools was to be hot water into all toilet blocks so kids could wash their hands with hot water. Top of the list, the money left to be allocated to other work the top local priority work. Local people making local decisions for local needs using tax-payers money efficiently being told the decisions would be made for them.

    That was in about 2010 and I smiled in recent years to see a headline from the UK about research showing washing hands with ambient temperature water straight out of the tap is as effective as washing in hot water as far as killing greeblies.


    • PartisanZ

       /  8th December 2018

      And apparently washing hands in water only – ambient or hot – is as effective as washing hands in soap or it’s latest marketing apparition, disinfectant hand wash …

      Next comes ‘Concentrated Disinfectant Hand Wash’ which the marketeers know will result in increased sales because people don’t use smaller amounts of ‘concentrated’ dishwash detergent or laundry powder … they just buy more of the concentrated versions …

      In other words: We take the same dose of the more powerful drugs.

      This propensity is in turn really really good for our natural environments, internal and external … *sarc* …

    • Gezza

       /  8th December 2018

      We had cold water only and plain soap bars on the handbasins at Primary School and the nuns scrubbed the toilet blocks out with Jeyes Fluid after all the kids had left. Mind you a lot of us got boils.

  8. duperez

     /  8th December 2018

    I have to say one report which suddenly had me in a Herbert Morrison Hindenburg “Oh the humanity” moment, was the one with the Principal of Auckland Grammar commenting on a recommendation to limit school donations.

    The possibility of tragedy is real. The First XV coach might have to take a pay cut or they won’t be able to give as many scholarships to good rugby players.

  9. Alan Wilkinson

     /  8th December 2018

    This is about what you would expect if you asked an elite group of Marxist racists for recommendations.

    • duperez

       /  8th December 2018

      Which are the elite Marxist racists on the taskforce?
      Bali Haque, Barbara Ala’alatoa, Mere Berryman, John O’Neill, Cathy Wylie?

      Which are the elite Marxist racists in cross-sector advisory panel that they were charged with consulting with?

      Do you think the Minister should have got the New Zealand Initiative or the Taxpayers’ Union to come up with a group to review and make recommendations about our education structure?

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  8th December 2018

        Just judging the outcome, duperez. Can you sheet it home to its source?

  10. david in aus

     /  8th December 2018

    It is not the structure that is the problem but the quality of people making the decisions.

    I don’t think the proposed system is going to much better than the current system but the potential is there. If they can more easily hire and fire principals and move teachers around maybe. But Labour’s policies are about entrenching teachers pay and conditions and not about student’s learning.

    That is the fundamental issue, teachers have greater say in the Labour party than any other group. They haven’t told us how the change in structure is going to affect the teacher in front of the class and culture of the school.

    • Blazer

       /  8th December 2018

      ‘ teachers have greater say in the Labour party than any other group.’

      why are they still on strike then?

      • david in aus

         /  8th December 2018

        Because some of them are greedy. Pushing their advantage.

      • david in aus

         /  8th December 2018

        By your logic, the teachers were happier under a National government because they striked less.

    • PartisanZ

       /  8th December 2018

      Maxwell Smart: Oh no Chief, it’s the old “quality of the people” argument … Third time I’ve been caught by it this week!

      I shall one day recommend to a government that they use this argument to reduce voter eligibility – the franchise – to only “quality people” …

  11. Zedd

     /  8th December 2018

    I hear they are going to ditch Intermediate School.. Good idea. its like USA ‘Junior high’

    Aotearoa/NZ has a Union Jack in the corner of the flag, NOT American ‘Stars & Bars’
    UK has Primary, Secondary & Tertiary.. no ‘intermediate’. Likely less expensive too

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  8th December 2018

      A fan of the dreaded “11 plus” are you, Zedd? Separating out and confirming the failures in life as soon as possible?

      Or are you a bit selective re the virtues of the UK education system?

      • Zedd

         /  8th December 2018

        I failed the 11+ & took the low road..

        but read my comment.. Elizabeth is our ‘monarch’ not MrT

        • Zedd

           /  8th December 2018

          do at least two folks really think MrT is the king of NZ ? 😦 😦

          I wont try to guess

  12. Pink David

     /  8th December 2018

    If this goes through, expect to see houses in good school zones jump significantly in price.

  13. PartisanZ

     /  8th December 2018

    Thus does perhaps the one and only real attempt in 34+ years to actually apply (or appease) the neoliberal ideal of “deregulation” and hence “freedom” finally come to naught …

    While everything else was re-regulated, amalgamated [or take-overed*] and centralized – notably Local Government – to reduce ‘taxation’ and government spending – in the arena closest to people’s hearts, Education – which says a lot [like Nuclear Free] – we actually instigated a form of ‘the principle of subsidiarity’ whereby decisions are made by people at the lowest possible level, preferably those directly affected by them …

    This encountered some problems. Who ever would have imaged that happening FFS!!!???

    While 99% [or more] of schools were well run we only ever heard about the 1% [or less] who failed. And the whole system appeared to fail despite all-important aspects of it like cirricullum still being centrally controlled …

    In communities large, small and tiny all over Aotearoa NZ there are dynamics at play which jeopardize and even contravene ideals of representation and ‘governance’ … [Whoopie! One such ‘community’ is called ‘government’, another ‘Parliament’] …

    But rather than provide these Boards of Trustees with say a ‘District’ or ‘Regional’ governance adviser – an RTLB for BoTs – we dismantle the whole ‘experiment’ and institute amalgamation and centralization instead …

    We say to the mostly diligent, well-intentioned and decent people who voluntarily constitute BoTs and, by inference, to almost every voter in Aotearoa NZ as well, “You are not good enough to carry out the responsibilities of the office [of BoT or voter]” … and we provide them with the ‘educative’ model of how to fix the perceived problem … Intervention from above by ‘experts’ …

    The very idea of the Industrial Factory School is failing [or has failed?] … ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ may one day be recognized as a valuable instrument in the apprehension and even quickening of that failure … which we studiously avoided using as one potentially important vehicle for the creation of models for ‘Quality Future Education’ [some or even much of which may not occur in ‘schools’] …

  14. artcroft

     /  8th December 2018

    Under the heading Teaching comes this.
    “We recruit a diversity of teachers/kaiako which matches the diversity of students as
    closely as possible.”

    Of course in primary schools the lack of diversity lies between male and female teachers, however there won’t be a peep about this. Instead all the effort will go into generating greater ethnic diversity.

    • david in aus

       /  8th December 2018

      Diversity is a value? How about diligence, creativity, effectiveness, intelligence, and ability? To my mind, those characteristics are more important than skin colour, sexual orientation, and political affiliations.

      • Blazer

         /  8th December 2018

        ‘How about diligence, creativity, effectiveness, intelligence, and ability?’

        way behind the old truism…not ‘what you know..but who you know’.

    • Pink David

       /  8th December 2018

      85% of primary teachers are female. We can only then assume that 85% of students are also female, many of them must just identify as male.

      • Gezza

         /  8th December 2018

        Celia Lashley commented along those lines, when she was working in prisons. Too many boys women had raised without dads who had also had women teaching them, none of whom are dads.

  15. duperez

     /  8th December 2018

    The organisational changes as a consequence of Tomorrow’s Schools were significant. They would pale into insignificance compared to the on the ground aspects of some of the proposals. Consider a school I’ve already mentioned, Auckland Grammar. The Headmaster has already sort of drawn the fighting line in the sand.

    Ponder the implications of a Senior School with years 11-13 and separate schooling for years 7-9. On the same site? With what that would mean using today’s roll numbers as a guide? A Grammar Middle School on another campus site in the area? Or let them carry on in their present format because they choose to but then force other localities to operate in other ways?

    That single aspect of the provision of schooling is going to be an interesting debate.


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