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:

Charter school successes

Three charter schools (the ACT Party calls them partnership schools) have received positive reports from the Education Review Office.

Radio NZ: ERO reports on three charter schools

Three new charter schools have made a good start, according to the Education Review Office.

The reports covered two of the publicly-funded private schools in Auckland, Te Kura Māori o Waatea and Pacific Advance Senior School, and one in Whangarei, Te Kāpehu Whetū -Teina.

The reviews were generally positive, but identified problems such as the need to increase enrolments or develop curriculums.

If they are succeeding in what they are doing then they should be able to increase their rolls.

“A good start has been made in determining children’s foundation knowledge in maths, reading and writing. The challenge for teachers is to ensure that strategies to support learners to make age-appropriate progress or better are in place.”

“Students at Te Kura Māori o Waatea are benefiting from focused and purposeful teaching that supports them and their whānau to engage in learning. Effective leadership and shared commitment from the adults on site are helping to make the sponsor’s vision come to life. ”

“Most of these students had been out of school for at least half a year prior to coming here. The ongoing challenge for staff is to accelerate formal student achievement.”

That last comment highlights one of the main points about these schools – they aim to cater for young people who had been failing under the main state run education system.

If the succeed in getting students on track to better future prospects and divert them from paths to failure then they will have been a success.

I wonder if more alternatives for younger children who struggle in the existing state system would help.

Will Hipkins revise charter school ‘failed experiment’ stance?

ERO: “a good start providing education for young Maori”

Peeni Henare: “I’ve seen the outcomes they’ve achieved ”

Chris Hipkins: “The whole charter school concept is deeply flawed”.

Who is right?

Two weeks agop Chris Hiopkins, Labour’s Education spokesperson, posted GOOD MONEY AFTER BAD FOR FAILED EXPERIMENT:

The whole charter school concept is deeply flawed.

“Labour has been very clear. We will direct any additional funding towards programmes that address underachievement in our existing public school system. Throwing money at low quality, hurriedly established, experimental charter schools has to stop,” Chris Hipkins says.

However puts him at odds with two Labour MPs with education backgrounds, Kelvin Davis and Peeni Henare.

Divisions in Labour over charter schools policy

Labour MP for Tāmaki-Makaurau Peeni Henare and his colleague, Kelvin Davis, attended a fundraiser for the He Puna Marama Trust, which has set up a charter school in Whangarei.

Mr Davis told 3News at the fundraiser that his leader, Andrew Little, did not want the Labour MPs to attend the event.

Mr Henare told Radio New Zealand that he knew all the people involved in both the trust and the kura itself, including the students.

“I support that particular charter school, and the reason I do that is that I’ve seen kaupapa grow from the fetal stages all the way to what they have today and I’ve seen the outcomes they’ve achieved and that’s I why I support that particular kaupapa.”

This is also backed by an official review:

The Education Review Office’s report on the kura, released in February, found it had made a good start providing education for young Maori, and that senior students were making pleasing progress.

So the whole partnership school concept appears to not be deeply flawed.

Will Hipkins review his stance on charter schools?