Education Amendment Bill passes in Parliament

The Education Amendment Bill (No 2), which tightens up on the school starting age, provision of online education and university name changing, passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

Stuff:  School starting age pushed back to 5 as Education Amendment Bill passes Parliament

The bill also changes the future course of digital education in New Zealand, repealing the communities of online learning provisions set to come into force in December. The regulations would have enabled communities of online learning to be established by public and private providers.

It also toughens up the process for universities pushing for a legal name change.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins introduced a Supplementary Order Paper to the bill on Wednesday after Victoria University of Wellington abandoned its name change attempt.

Children will no longer be allowed to start school before their fifth birthday after the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) passed its third and final reading in Parliament.

The bill changes cohort entry, removing the option for parents to enrol their child up to eight weeks before they turn five years old.

This seems an odd change. It reverses a change two years ago – Stuff:  Starting school at four too young, principals warn Government

Four-year-olds are too young to cope with the structure and learning requirements of school, Auckland principals say.

But the Government is looking at a new law which will allow 4-year-olds to enrol on the first day of the term closest to their fifth birthday.

The process, called cohort entry, is part of a raft of changes in an update to the Education Act, set to be debated in Parliament this week.

The new rules allow children to start school a maximum of eight weeks before their fifth birthday, and schools would have to consult the community first.

Bayswater Primary School principal Lindsay Child said she did not see any educational benefits in enrolling pupils before they turned 5.

“The new entrants model is specifically designed for children who are school age, and now we’re talking about kids even younger than that.”

Children develop at different rates. There’s nothing magic about starting school at exactly five years old.

Child taught in the UK where pupils who had just turned 4 could start school. That was “far too young” and she had embraced the Kiwi model where pupils could start school between their fifth and sixth birthday.

What we have in New Zealand is a drip feeding of children into school as they turn five, so classes have to cater for children at different stages of their first year of education.

I know that in Queensland (I have grandchildren there) children start their year 1 (called Prep) all at the same time at the start of the year. Children who turn 5 by 30 June enrol at the start of that year, so their starting ages range from 4 and a half to 5 and a half. They seem to manage ok.

The change in 2017 at least allowed children to start as a group each term.

On the passing of the amendment act yesterday:

National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye said repealing communities of online learning was “hugely disappointing”.

The bill was “an example of this Government on an ideological crusade to get rid of anything brought in by National”.

There seems to be some of that in education and in workplace legislation.

 

Consultation on education reform

The Government is proposing major changes to how schools are administered.

From December:  Minister wants ‘wider discussion’ on proposed schooling changes

The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce is proposing significant changes to the way our schools are run, governed, and managed to ensure every student receives the best quality education in future, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

“The next four and half months until April 7, 2019 provides opportunity for the wider public discussion we are seeking.

“Now is the chance for all New Zealanders to have their say on building a schooling system that meets the needs of all students, educators and parents, and that is fit for purpose for the 21st century.

“The Taskforce will lead the consultation, and report on the results. The Government will make decisions on implementing the review in mid-2019,” Chris Hipkins said.

A full copy of Our Schooling Futures: Stronger Together | Whiria Ngā Kura Tūātinitini is available here.

There is alternative consultation going on.

Big Read (NZH): One night with the man who could change all your children’s futures

Bali Haque’s got the electricity of a preacher. He’s an education evangelist with a fire in his eyes.

“We have a world class education system,” says the academic-principal-teacher leading the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce.

He’s on the road, from the south of the country to the north and back again, telling people why this “world class education system” needs to become something completely different.

The reason?

“In this country, we have a really significant issue with equity,” he says.

Haque is speaking in the Kerikeri High School library, the Far North’s centre of relatively comfortable affluence where citizens know all about equity. They are well aware they enjoy a life different from the abject poverty which eats at the heart of almost all Far North towns.

The gap between poor and rich has grown to a chasm. School is one place where foundations are laid to bridge that gap.

“The gap between best performing and least-well performing is large. And it is stubborn.”

And there’s the problem. The 1989 promise of former Prime Minister David Lange’s
Tomorrow’s Schools has not been realised. Our 2500 parent-led schools have developed a host of different answers to the question every child poses, which is: Who is the best person you can be?

He tells the 30 people in the audience: “We are good at innovation but have a problem with scaling up, or sustaining innovation.”

And so, if we are to have an education revolution – this biggest school shake up in 30 years – then it needs to happen in a way which lasts.

“It’s our view one of the reasons we have this stubborn gap is the system we are working in.”

Having listed his Five Great Truths, Haque is off and painting a picture with words of a new system of schooling.

These meetings are happening across New Zealand this month and next. By the time they have finished, Haque and the other four people on the Taskforce will have given or heard this talk 33 times, from New Plymouth on Valentine’s Day to Palmerston North on March 27.

There are around 800,000 children in our primary-through-secondary education system. If Haque gets his way, these changes will have a dramatic effect on how they are educated, and how their children will be educated.

Haque hasn’t just redesigned our school system. He’s drafting a fresh blueprint for our future.

And yet, there are just 30 people in the Kerikeri High School library. Of those, 25 people are teachers or Board of Trustee members. Only five – including this reporter – are parents of children at school.

For such a monumental upheaval, is this really consultation?

A big read follows that.

National’s Nikki Kaye is also going around the country consulting – National to hold 40 education public meetings

“The meetings will be jointly hosted by myself and the local National MPs, some members of National’s Education Caucus will also be in attendance. I plan to attend all of the 40 meetings.

“National has also welcomed a request by the Chair of the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce, Bali Haque, to have some of the taskforce or officials attend some of our meetings as part of their own public consultation process.

“National want to ensure that the 19,000 trustees on school boards and hundreds of thousands of parents have the opportunity to have a good understanding of the proposals. To ensure this we will be providing factual information on the changes as well as seeking feedback.

More from the Big Read:

Last year, Hipkins stressed to Cabinet the importance of “public consultation”. It was this, he said, what he would bring to Cabinet before “decisions on a Government response” to the taskforce recommendations.

He wouldn’t be interviewed about the timeframe, but said through a spokesman he was happy with the level of consultation.

The Bali Haque Roadshow set off for Whangārei, and then further south. They will soon be in a town near you. If you have children, you need to go to these meetings. Not just for their sake but for the children they will have.

Haque and his cohort of revolutionaries will change education for generations.

And if you do go to a meeting, you will hear him say: “Education reform in New Zealand we don’t do well.”

A list of meetings:

The education road show

East Auckland: February 28, 4pm and 7pm at Bailey Road School.

Queenstown: March 4, 7pm at the Crowne Plaza.

Hamilton: March 5, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Taupō: March 6, 7pm, Taupo-nui-a-Tia College.

Gisborne: March 6, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Napier/Hastings: March 7, 7pm, William Colenso College.

Wellington: March 11, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Porirua: March 12, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Lower Hutt: March 13, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Masterton: March 14, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Rotorua: March 18, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Tauranga: March 19, 7pm, Tauranga Boys’ College.

South Auckland: March 20, 4pm and 7pm, Papatoetoe High School.

West Auckland: March 21, 4pm and 7pm, The Trusts Arena.

Central Auckland: March 21, 7pm, Freemans Bay School.

Nelson: March 25, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Greymouth: March 26, 5.30pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Whanganui: March 26, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

Palmerston North: March 27, 7pm, location yet to be confirmed.

More from NZ Herald:

• Bali Haque: Tomorrows Schools review must deal with the market’s failure
• Tomorrow’s Schools meeting: Teachers speak out against Bali Haque’s plan
• Biggest education shake-up in 30 years proposed
• ‘Stalinist’ or ‘exciting’: Battle begins over radical school reforms

Some principals ‘furious’ over proposal for radical education restructuring

Radical change will usually annoy some people, and so it seems with some school principals over the proposal to radically change the way schools are administered.

The reform was announced just as schools were closing down for the year.

Stuff:  Furious principals warn education reforms will ‘destroy the school system in New Zealand as we know it’

Furious principals say they will march on Parliament in protest at the most radical restructuring in 30 years, saying the proposals will destroy schooling as New Zealand knows it.

The proposal to relieve school boards of responsibility for property, HR and financial management is the one that has been most warmly-greeted by the Government. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the report reflected what he often heard from schools: that boards felt ill-equipped to manage property, especially when problems such as leaky buildings cropped up.

The School Trustees Association and Principal’s Federation have offered cautious support to centralising some of those responsibilities. And this week, Manawatū Principals’ Association president Wayne Jenkins said boards of trustees faced “huge” responsibilities, and he welcomed a re-evaluation on their role.

But at some of the bigger secondary schools, especially in Auckland, anger is mounting. In this week’s strongly-worded attack, Macleans College principal Steven Hargreaves wrote to parents and staff in the holidays to say the proposed changes would “destroy the school system in New Zealand as we know it”.

Hargreaves joined other heads, including Auckland Grammar’s Tim O’Connor, in revolting against the proposals.

Taking power away from boards would create “bland, one-size-fits-all” institutions and destroy the role of communities in schools, Hargreaves said.

He called on parents to oppose the recommendations and said parents had already been quick to voice their backing for him.

Over the summer break, schools would be picking over the report in detail and identifying the key issues, Hargreaves said. A parents’ information evening would be scheduled in February and from there they would aim to get traction through the board of trustees and local MPs.

Hargreaves said he was ready to “descend on Parliament” with other principals if necessary.

This weekend, Bali Haque, chairman of the Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce, emphasised there could be scope for hubs to hand responsibilities back to boards.

Haque said there was no intention in the report to take away the “critical jobs” boards currently have.

Boards would retain control over teaching at their schools, the locally-raised funds, and receive a veto or final approval over their principal’s appointment if the taskforce’s recommendations are adopted.

It looks like a lot of consultation is required here.

The Government and Minister of Education Chris Hipkins have already had to try to deal with teacher unions campaigning for substantially improved pay and and staffing levels.

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
    assessment.
  • 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
    expulsions.
  • 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
    system.
  • 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
    agencies.
  • 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
    positions
  • 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
    principals/tumuaki.
    › 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
    improvement.
  • 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:

Early childhood education likely to get more expensive

The Government has announced a ‘bold ten year plan’ for early childhood (pre-school) education,  an area in education that has increased a lot over the last decade or two. I

Changes include moving towards 100% fully qualified teachers and improving adult child ratios, which will make what effectively is childcare for working parents more expensive.

RNZ: Govt announces $3.5 billion early childhood plan

The government’s draft 10-year strategic plan for early childhood education also suggested regulation of early childhood teachers’ pay and greater restrictions on where new services would be allowed to open.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said quality was the focus of the plan, which would be open for consultation until 15 March 2019.

Mr Hipkins said a top priority was the reintroduction of a higher government subsidy for early childhood services where all teachers were qualified.

He said another priority was to raise the minimum ratio of teachers required to look after the youngest children.

“At the moment the ratios for under-twos are one-to-five, but also in the two-year-old age bracket it’s a one-to-10 ratio at the moment. The plan aims to get us to a one-to-five ratio for the two-year-olds and then moving down to a one-to-four for the under two-year-olds,” Mr Hipkins said.

The draft plan suggests raising the minimum percentage of qualified teachers in teacher-led early childhood centres from 50 to 80 percent by 2022, and to 100 percent in the longer-term.

There are some concerns:

The Early Childhood Council said it agreed with the goal of raising quality, but warned that it would be difficult to find sufficient teachers to fill improved teacher-child ratios for the youngest children.

“We wonder where the increased teaching staff will come from given there is currently a significant shortage of teachers,” the council’s chief executive Peter Reynolds said.

Beehive: New plan for high quality early learning

A bold ten year plan looks to restore the Government’s commitment to quality in early learning, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today.

“Moving towards 100 percent qualified teachers in early childhood education centres and improving adult:child ratios are among some of the key proposals for change put forward by the sector and experts in the new draft ten year strategic plan for early learning,”  Chris Hipkins said.

The draft plan, He taonga te tamaiti, sets the direction for early learning for the next 10 years and is open for consultation until 15 March 2019.

“This ten year vision for early learning puts the focus back on quality, picking up on the huge progress made by the last Labour Government.

“All the evidence shows that early learning gives children a head start in life, improves their wellbeing and contributes to a happy safe childhood. But only if it’s high quality.

“Participation in early learning has grown in recent years, but this doesn’t mean that all children have access to high quality learning opportunities.

“This is why I appointed a Ministerial Advisory Group and a Reference Group to work with the sector and the Ministry of Education on a new Strategic Plan for Early Learning. I asked them to focus on three themes:  quality, equity, and choice.

“Their draft plan released today sets out a path to develop and strengthen the early learning sector over the next 10 years, to meet the needs of all children and their families and whānau,” Chris Hipkins said.

Key proposals for change include:

  • moving towards a 100% qualified teacher workforce in early childhood education centres
  • improving the adult:child ratios for babies and toddlers
  • increasing the consistency and levels of teacher salaries and conditions across the sector
  • a more planned approach to establishing new services, greater support and increased monitoring.

“The draft plan will see some significant changes in the sector, including the increase in demand for qualified teachers.

“This is a long term commitment which requires a staged approach to allow time for the sector to respond to the changes and additional workforce demands.

“I am keen to hear from families and whānau, kaiako, service providers, educators and the wider community about the specific changes suggested, as well as the proposed timeline for implementation,” Chris Hipkins said.

Consultation will include an online survey as well as a series of hui around the country.

Here is the draft Strategic Plan for Early Learning and here is the Cabinet paper.

RNZ’s Insight programme reported serious complaints about the quality of some early childhood services last year.

 

Newshub Nation today – education announcement, future of work, Auckland homeless

On Newshub Nation today  9:30 am (and tomorrow at 10:00 am):

600 more teachers to support children with additional learning needs

 

The future of work and the ‘fourth industrial revolution’

Auckland homeless (that Labour said they would sort out)

Education: Nation interview with Chris Hipkins

Chris Hipkins has had a challenging start to his job of Minister of Education (he is also busy with other things, being Minister of State Services, Minister Responsible for Ministerial Services and Leader of the House).

He has had a lot of pressure from the National opposition over his determination to see the end of partnership (charter) schools.

And he has had to deal with teachers striking, taking advantage of a Government that should be more impressionable to their needs.

He is being interviewed on Newshub Nation this morning (9:30 am, also 10:00 am Sunday).

Won’t commit to smaller class sizes, says more support for students with special needs is the current focus

School donations another delayed promise

A Labour promise to pay schools extra so parent donations aren’t required has had an evolving target, from “in our first budget” to “three Budgets on which to deliver on them”.

Below the Beltway:

Education Minister Chris Hipkins – After promising repeatedly to offer parents relief from school donations in the Budget, Hipkins insists its omission is not a broken promise but a delayed one.

Labour policy: Schooling

  • Ensure that schooling is genuinely free by offering an extra $150 per student to state and state integrated schools that don’t ask parents for donations

Labour: Education Manifesto

  • Labour will provide all State and State Integrated schools that opt-in an additional $150 per student per year in exchange for their agreement not to ask for parental donations

July 2017: Labour taking action on school ‘donations’

Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. James talks with Labour education spokesperson Chris Hipkins on this.

James: So the school will get this immediately, as soon as you become Government the schools will get this extra $150 per child?

Hipkins: Ah look it might have to be, obviously we’ve got to pass a budget first, so it probably won’t be the beginning of next year, it’s probably be the beginning of the following year but we’ll be doing it as quickly as we can.

James: How long does it take to sort that out, a year?

Hipkins: Well the government budget’s normally done in May, so you’ve got to appropriate the money first.

James: Haven’t you done the figures already?

Hipkins: Yep. The money, we’ve certainly done the figures but we’ve actually got to win the election and get into Government first, and then it takes a wee while to pass an additional budget. The budget for next year has been already been set by Mr English and Mr Joyce.

Almost as soon as they got into Government,26 October 2017: ‘We’ve got to fund schools fairly’ – Labour determined to take the axe to ‘voluntary’ school donations:

Incoming Education Minister Chris Hipkins said a new Labour initiative would be introduced in the 2018 budget that would see some schools given extra government funding instead of asking parents for a donation.

Hillary Barry: End of school donations, how are you going to ensure that those are gone?

Chris Hipkins: Well that’ll be in our first budget. We’ll be making sure that school funding is enough to deliver the curriculum so that schools don’t have to rely on the ability of parents to pay, because that’s creating real unfairness…

In November: Labour’s $150 per student per year promise ‘over and above current funding’, minister says

New Minister of Education Chris Hipkins…

The new Government would commit an extra $150 per pupil per year to any schools that agreed not to ask for donations, and that money would be “over and above their current funding”, he said.

Hipkins was confident many schools would prefer the new approach to asking parents to “dig ever deeper into their own pockets”.

“I know parents and schools will be keen for this change to be made as soon as possible and work is getting under way,” he said.

It had already softened to “as soon as possible”.

A month later Labour announced their first budget, a mini-budget that included major new spending like delivering on the free-fee tertiary policy. This was their first budget they chose not to address the school donation policy then.

In February this year Schools split on Government’s plan to overhaul donation system

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the policy would be considered for Budget 2018.  “No-one should be denied an opportunity to realise their potential through education because of financial barriers,” he said.

“As it is Budget sensitive I can’t comment further at this point.”

By then it was “would be considered”.

But it was absent from the budget announced this month (May).

In Parliament on Wednesday Nikki Kaye probed Hipkins:

7. Hon NIKKI KAYE (National—Auckland Central) to the Minister of Education: Does he stand by all his promises in education; if so, does he stand by his statement in February 2018 regarding ending school donations, “As it is Budget sensitive I can’t comment further at this point”?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS (Minister of Education): Yes, and yes.

Hon Nikki Kaye: Why did he say, in January, to the Nelson Mail that a school donations proposal was working its way through Cabinet and “This restricts me from making any comment further at this stage.”, and when did that schools donations Cabinet paper go through?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: Because it was working its way through the process. It was called the Budget process.

Hon Nikki Kaye: Will he reimburse schools and parents who are contacting electorate offices saying they relied on his broken promise to end school donations in the first Budget, and how will they find funding from somewhere else?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: The Government has been very clear that we have three Budgets in which to deliver the commitments we made in the Speech from the Throne. We have, thus far, delivered one of the three Budgets.

Hon Nikki Kaye: Will he promise that funding will be provided in Budget 2019 to end school donations?

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: All of the commitments in the Speech from the Throne are subject to further Budget consideration if they weren’t funded in this year’s Budget. There are two further Budgets that the Government will be delivering over this term of Government.

Hon Nikki Kaye: How does he justify breaking his explicit promise to parents to scrap the school donations in his first Budget when his Government is budgeting a surplus of $3.1 billion, the tax take is up by $1 billion, and the Government can afford to give millions to wealthy students, Swedish diplomats—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order!

Hon CHRIS HIPKINS: To be clear, the Government was never going to be able to deliver all of the commitments we made in our first Budget, and we’ve always been very clear that we weren’t going to be able to deliver those things in our first Budget. That’s why we have a three-year term, and three Budgets on which to deliver on them.

So it’s been a moving target:

July 2017: “Probably be the beginning of the following year” (2019)

October 2017: “Well that’ll be in our first budget” (not clear whether mini-budget in 2017 or full budget in 2018)

November 2017: “…this change to be made as soon as possible…”

February 2018: “would be considered for Budget 2018”

May 2018: “three Budgets on which to deliver on them”

If Labour gets back into Government in 2020 Hipkins will have another three budgets to deliver on his promise, sort of.

 

Charter school report – ‘most parents happy’

A report into Partnership Schools says that there have been positive results and most parents are happy, but it was too soon to judge academic achievement.

David Seymour says that it justifies a reversing of the current Government policy to close Partnership Schools, but Minister of Education Chris Hipkins says “does not tell us much” apart from what students and parents thought about the schools. Isn’t that kind of important and relevant?

RNZ: Charter school report silent on educational achievement

Students at charter schools are being stood down less frequently than they were at other schools and most parents are happy with the schools’ performance, a report commissioned by the previous government says.

However, the report by consultancy firm Martin Jenkins, the third in a series, failed to cover the schools’ academic achievement because they had not been operating long enough and their NCEA data was presented in a way that was not comparable to that of other schools.

 

The report said its authors worked with the Education Ministry to shift the focus of the evaluation away from student outcomes in part because it was too early to determine the schools’ success.

“Schools/kura were still becoming established, numbers of students that had received a ‘full dose’ of the PSKH [Partnership School Kura Hourua] intervention were low, and efforts were ongoing by the Ministry to define and agree contracted outcomes,” the report said.

The report has been published at a critical time for the schools, which must apply to join the state school system as special or designated character schools or face closure.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins…

…said the report “does not tell us much” beyond an insight into what students and parents thought about the schools.

“It doesn’t tell us for example about academic achievement and progress and obviously that’s where a lot of the attention really should be focused.”

ACT MP David Seymour: Hipkins must reverse charters decision after glowing report

“The Education Minister must now reverse his decision to close Partnership Schools after the final report from independent consultants Martin Jenkins painted a glowing picture of the model”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“The report cuts through the spin on Partnership Schools, delivering blow after blow to Government’s hopes it could kill off the model quietly.

“The final report shows Partnership Schools are strongly focused on disadvantaged kids with complex needs. Students are largely Maori and Pasifika from low-decile schools. Before attending the Partnership Schools, many students were transient, disengaged, with poor academic histories and complex socio-economic needs. They often lacked positive aspirations and role models.

“The schools are meeting learners’ needs using innovative practices and high-quality standards. Sponsors are driven by a vision to provide an alternative for students who have been underserved. Innovations enabled by the flexible funding model are across the board, in governance arrangements, staffing, student engagement and support, pedagogy, teaching and learning.

“Student engagement has significantly improved. Stand-downs and length of suspensions are lower. Students give positive feedback. Whānau feel more involved and more confident communicating with schools. Very few learners are opting out.

“It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most positive news our education system has had for some time.

“It simply beggars belief that Jacinda Ardern and Chris Hipkins would end an educational model that has delivered so much for students that have been so poorly served by our state system

“The Government must now reverse its position on Partnership Schools”, says Mr Seymour.

Last year an earlier Jenkins report: NZ’s charter schools given good report card

Most of the first eight charter schools are good at teaching and testing children from Māori, Pasifika and poor backgrounds, an independent evaluation says.

“All schools/kura report that high proportions of their students have poor achievement histories and are achieving below the age/stage-related standards that could be expected on entry to the school/kura,” it said.

It said the schools showed mostly good and in some cases innovative practice in their approaches to working with the children.

Last month from Seymour: Why is Hipkins Hiding the Final Charter Schools Report?

ACT Leader David Seymour is questioning why Education Minister Chris Hipkins is suppressing the final Martin Jenkins evaluation of charter schools.

“I wonder if Mr Hipkins is not bullying Martin Jenkins into modifying the report to talk down the schools?”, asks Mr Seymour.

In 2014, the Ministry of Education contracted Martin Jenkins to deliver an independent evaluation of the performance of the charter school model. Its reports were to be delivered between 2014 and 2017.

“The first report found the flexibility of the model was enabling charter schools to deliver ‘innovative educational provision for students who have been under-served by the education system.’

“In its second report, Martin Jenkins said charter schools were reaching priority students – those at higher risk of not achieving.

“The final report appears to have been completed, but not released. What does it contain? Why is Chris Hipkins hiding it? Is the Minister having the report altered to suppress glowing reviews about charter schools?

“Chris Hipkins can’t hide the report forever. At some point, New Zealanders are going to learn what 1500 students already know: charter schools change lives for the better”, says Mr Seymour.

It isn’t hidden any more, but is seems unlikely that Hipkins will change his mind about Charter Schools, he (and the teacher unions) has been always strongly opposed to them.

Closing the schools has been awkward for Labour as some of their Maori MPs have been involved in and support partnership schools. They may stay open but under a different description.

Tomorrow’s Schools review terms of reference

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has announced the terms of reference for the review into Tomorrow’s Schools:


The terms of reference for a review of Tomorrow’s Schools released today sets the framework for a once in 30-year opportunity to shape the way our schools are led, managed and interact with their communities, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said.

“There’s been a lot of tinkering around the edges since Tomorrrow’s Schools was introduced, which has moved the governance, management and administration of schools further and further away from what it aimed to achieve. 

“This broad-based review gives schools, students and communities the opportunity to take part in drawing the blueprint for how schools should be organised from here on.

“It will look at how we can better support equity and inclusion for all children throughout their schooling, what changes are needed to support their educational success, and at the fitness of our school system to equip all our students for a rapidly changing world.

“The review will consider how schools might interact differently with their communities, with other schools, with employers, and with other government organisations, to serve the best interests of our young people.”       

An independent five-to-seven person taskforce will be appointed in April, which will consult widely before reporting back in November this year.

“The review is part of the Government’s championing of a high quality public education system,” Mr Hipkins said.

“We believe that every child deserves the opportunity to be the best they can be, regardless of where they live, or their personal circumstances. And we want to ensure our schools deliver that opportunity for all New Zealanders.

 “A key priority is for our schooling system will be to be more responsive to the needs of Māori and Pasifika children and those children needing learning support for whom the education system has not delivered in the past,” Mr Hipkins said.

The review will also consider the roles of the Ministry of Education, Education Review Office, New Zealand Qualifications Authority, New Zealand School Trustees Association, and the Education Council in supporting schools.

The review of Tomorrow’s Schools is part of the Government’s education work programme, announced in February. The terms of reference for the review are available at www.education.govt.nz/tsr