Minister extends NCEA consultation after meeting principals

It’s good to see a positive response from Nikki Kaye to the extension of consultation on NCEA announced by Minister of Education Chris Hipkins. And good to see Hipkins listen and adjust his approach.

NZH: Advisory group of principals and teachers to be set up to consult on NCEA review

Education Minister Chris Hipkins will set up an advisory group of teachers and principals to consult on the NCEA review, and has extended the consultation period after complaints from a coalition of 70 schools which said the process was being rushed.

Hipkins has written to members of the Principals NCEA Coalition today after an urgent meeting last week, confirming that he would speak to his Cabinet colleagues about proposed changes to the proposed review process.

He would establish a professional advisory group made up of principals and teachers, in addition to a ministerial advisory group already set up, to advise him on the outcomes from the review process next year.

In addition, the consultation period would be extended from September 16 until October 19 this year.

“We are grateful to the minister for meeting with us and welcome these initial changes as a good start,” said coalition spokesman Glen Denham, principal of West Auckland’s Massey High School.

“As a 70-strong coalition, we will now begin work on our vision for NCEA and the details of how it should operate. New Zealand’s remaining secondary schools are very welcome to join us. It is vital to get this right for the future of the young people of New Zealand,” Denham said in a statement.

Hipkins had issued an open invitation to principals to meet him last month after the coalition took out a full-page advertisement in newspapers which criticised the NCEA review.

The group called for the review to be halted, describing the consultation process as “bizarre”, putting the views of children ahead of professional educators and lacking proper consultation with school leaders and teachers.

Hipkins previously said he believed the process would be sufficient and would not be extending the consultation period.

Today he said the changes were a “sensible step that acknowledges the issues raised by the coalition.

“We’ve already had about 1000 submissions from teachers and principals but I’m happy to improve the clarity of the process and give principals more opportunities to be heard alongside teachers, parents, students, employers and others.”

It’s refreshing to see a Minister prepared to meet, listen, and improve consultation.

And it’s refreshing to see an Opposition spokesperson who is often critical prepared to back a sensible move.

Chris Hipkins ‘Ask Me Anything’ today on NCEA

Minister of Education Chris Hipkinsn is fronting up on line to allow people to ‘Ask me Anything’ about NCEA, and I presume anything else about education or government.

Reddit: Announcing NCEA AMA with Chris Hipkins and Jeremy Baker – July 9th 3:15pm

r/nz is pleased to announce an AMA with Education Minister, Chris Hipkins this Monday at 3:15pm. Here’s a quick message from the Minister:

Chris Hipkins:

I’m really pleased to have this chance to discuss NCEA with you all, and answer any questions you have about NCEA and the review which is underway.

I’ll be joined by Jeremy Baker, Chair of my Ministerial Advisory Group who developed the thinking around the ‘Big Opportunities’ for strengthening the qualification for all our young people. These opportunities are designed to provoke, inspire, and encourage the kōrero on NCEA. Please feel free to ask questions about these ideas, or about NCEA and the review.

There’s some good conversation happening about education in New Zealand at the moment. To make this session useful it would be good to keep this conversation focused on NCEA. Feel free to submit your other views on education through our Education Conversation website – www.conversation.education.govt.nz

I want to make NCEA a stronger qualification for all our young people – Ask me Anything!

 

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.

NCEA to be reviewed

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has announced the terms of a review of NCEA, the unit standards system that the last Labour government replaced School Certificate, University Entrance and Bursary with.

This follows the more immediate and drastic scrapping of National Standards that the National government imposed on primary and intermediate schools. It was unpopular with teacher unions and many teachers so was never going to work well.


NCEA review terms of reference announced

Overassessment of students and teacher workload will be addressed as part of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) review starting early next year, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Mr Hipkins said the NCEA review is an opportunity to refine and strengthen our key national qualification for young people leaving school, and to ensure that NCEA remains relevant in the modern world.

“The Government is committed to delivering a future-focused education system that equips students with skills and knowledge to be globally competitive.

“The introduction of NCEA represented a significant modernisation of the system of secondary school assessment. However, the full potential of NCEA has yet to be fully realised. This review will build on what has been achieved with NCEA to date, and respond to emerging needs and opportunities,” Mr Hipkins said.

“Students and teachers have told us overassessment is a real issue and impacts their wellbeing and workload. This and the importance of teaching life skills in schools, such as resilience, creativity, communication and adaptability, will form part of the review.”

“The review will also look at the role of each level of NCEA, particularly the structure and relevance of NCEA Level 1 and whether all young people should attempt it.”

The Ministry of Education will run the review, starting with range of stakeholders and opening up for all New Zealanders to comment and contribute.

“I will also establish a Ministerial Advisory Group of innovative thinkers, who can challenge traditional thinking on senior secondary education and assessment, to lead the initial phase of the review with a discussion document for public consultation in April 2018.

“I am also keen to hear from young people who are currently working towards an NCEA. I have set up a youth advisory group and will be seeking their insights early on in the process, and I want other students to contribute as well during the wider public consultation phase.”

The Terms of Reference for the review and the Cabinet Paper ‘Reviewing NCEA’ are available at www.education.govt.nz/ncea-review.

Busy education agenda

The incoming Labour led Government is promising big changes in education, with some measures requiring urgency so things are in place for the start of the tertiary year next February.

Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has some challenges putting everything into place. Of particular urgency is making the first year of tertiary education free next year.

Already contentious is his handling of Partnership Schools, which he has promised to scrap, but Labour Maori MPs in particular will have some concerns about how this is done.

NZH: Government fast-tracking its free tertiary education campaign promise

New tertiary education students wishing to have one year of free education are being encouraged to apply by December 16.

The Government is fast-tracking its tertiary education campaign promises, with the Cabinet now in the detailed planning stage to introduce one year of free tertiary education for new students, and a $50 weekly boost to the student allowance as well as a $50 weekly boost in student loans for living costs.

Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the policies will come into force by January 1 next year.

“Prospective students and tertiary education organisations should continue to make arrangements for study and enrolments for next year as they normally would. This includes starting, or continuing, any applications for study and/or for student loans or allowances,” Hipkins said.

The fees-free policy will apply to new university students, as well as apprenticeships, industry training and polytechnic students – anyone who has not previously studied at tertiary level.

There isn’t much time to do this. Parliament will sit nearly until Christmas to try to get this and a number of other urgent measures legislated for.

Stuff: Education minister’s shakeup will scrap National Standards and review NCEA

The Labour-led government is hitting the ground running on a number of promises, including making the first year of tertiary education or training free from January 1 next year.

In addition, student allowances and living cost loans will increase by $50 a week as well.

There’s nowhere near enough time between now and the festive season to completely remodel the tertiary funding system, which is why newly appointed Education Minister Chris Hipkins has had to sit down with officials this week to work out an interim solution.

Next year a longer-term redesign of the model will be done to ensure Labour meets its promise of three free years of tertiary study by 2024.

While recruiting enough staff seems to be one of the biggest hurdles for Labour at the moment, there’s plenty of work already under way in the ministries to ensure Labour can fulfil its commitments.

Labour have predicted a 15% increase in enrolments. While this may not all be straight away it must make planning difficult for tertiary providers.

National Standards to be scrapped:

Labour policy already plans to reduce teachers’ workload, such as through its scrapping of National Standards, and increase professional development and resolve retention issues.

Hipkins is clear he doesn’t want to leave a hole and there has to be a transition process for teachers, parents and students.

Ultimately it will mean a lighter workload for teachers and more time to teach. There’ll be less assessment, but Hipkins insists the quality of it will be better.

NCEA reassessed:

NCEA isn’t on the cards to be scrapped but it will undergo a full review on Hipkins’ watch. After 15 years it needs to continue to evolve, he says.

At the same time teachers needed to be trusted more and just because something wasn’t being assessed didn’t mean it wasn’t happening.

There’s a real “paradigm shift” needed as part of the NCEA review and that means moving how students and teachers think about NCEA, which is currently credits and subjects, to what employers care about – that’s skills.

One contentious issue is Partnership Schools:

And all those teachers outraged by the introduction of charter schools under a confidence and supply agreement between National and ACT, can sleep easy knowing there won’t be any more new doors opening, with the exception possibly of the two due to open next year.

As for the four scheduled for 2019, Hipkins says he can say with some confidence they won’t go ahead. And he’s still in the process of working out how to bring the 10 already in operation into the mainstream fold.

Hipkins was very critical of the poor track record of the Whangaruru school in Northland and the millions of dollars invested in it that the ministry was unable to recoup from the school’s trust when then-Education Minister Hekia Parata shut it down.

He says if he can get the money back he will, he’s just not sure how realistic that is.

How will the state school system to address the bottom 20% of students who have been failing badly? Scrapping alternatives will put pressure on.

Current partnership schools plus contracts already signed for new ones need to be dealt with fairly, not just dealt to.

Newshub: Govt reviews signed charter school deals

The Government is reconsidering contracts for six new charter schools signed before the election.

New Education Minister Chris Hipkins says the National-led Government signed the contracts in the weeks before the election in breach of pre-election conventions.

“This was in clear contravention of pre-election protocols that prohibit one Government committing a future Government in the run-up to an election,” he said in a statement.

“I’ve asked for urgent advice on the status of those contracts and won’t be making any further comment on the matter until I’ve received it.”

All parties in the new Labour-led Government oppose charter schools and Mr Hipkins said anyone involved in establishing a school knew “a change of Government would mean change for them”.

But ACT leader David Seymour – who was responsible for charter schools before the election – said the new schools had already been budgeted for since mid-2016.

“All of that takes time, I don’t feel that the excuse frankly that he’s trying to make cuts water,” he said.

National’s education spokeswoman, Nikki Kaye, said clarity was needed from the Government about what would happen.

“These sponsors have spent time and money securing contracts with the Crown and preparing to open these schools. They deserve better than this,” she said.

Earlier this week Mr Hipkins indicated all existing charter schools would also be reviewed individually to see if they can be integrated into the rest of the education system, or whether they would be shut.

Hipkins will be very busy trying to deal with all of this. He has the advantage of having teacher groups on his side – some say he is on their side – but with such an ambitious programme of significant change it will be difficult to manage without making a mess of something.

In his haste to delver for teachers Hipkins should remember the key thing in education, the kids. Especially the kids who have long been failed by the teacher dominated state system. Hipkins risks leaving big cracks for them to fall through.

More from Stuff:  Labour’s axe hovers over new partnership schools

The new minister of education is under fire from his predecessor after reports of contracts being cancelled for the country’s four new partnership schools.

Chris Hipkins last night said Labour, NZ First and the Greens had campaigned to scrap the charter school model and they intended to honour that commitment.

Hipkins said he had asked for urgent advice on the status of the four contracts. He understood the National/ACT government signed contracts with six new charter school operators in the weeks leading up to the election.

The four new schools due to open in 2019 included an Auckland school focused on science, technology, engineering and maths and a new Vanguard school in Christchurch.

 

Vanguard on charter schools

A comment on charter schools from Nick Hyde, the CEO of the Vanguard Military School.

Maybe I can shed some light on the performance of charter schools.

Vanguard Military School has achieved the following NCEA results over the past 2 years.

  • 2014 NCEA Level 1 96% and NCEA Level 2 100%.
  • 2015 NCEA Level 1 at 93%, Level 2 at 100% and Level 3 at 93%.

It is compulsory to take Maths, English and PE in every year.

We offer Science, Maori, Engineering, History, Computing and Defence Force Studies as electives.

Maori and Pacific Island students are achieving at around 30% above the national average and a previous commentator is correct with regards to us engaging with students who had stopped attending school.

Our stats have shown we have enrolled 60 students so far that were previously not attending any school.

From their website:

 

Vanguard Military School teaches the New Zealand Curriculum to Year 11, 12 and 13 students with the specific aim of gaining the NCEA and UE qualifications that students, parents, employers and other education providers like universities are looking for.

The school operates under a military ethos with a high level of structure and discipline that promotes teamwork and aims to eliminate the unsavoury aspects of school life.

Vanguard opened in February 2014 and achieved NCEA pass rates well above the national average during its first academic year.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.

Nick says he is happy to provide further information.