Teachers around the country have been campaigning since 2014 against removal of elected positions from the Education Council.

Upon announcing the Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says he wants to see the current set-up changed.

“We believe that teachers have as much right to determine how their profession is led as doctors, lawyers, nurses and countless other professions that elect their own professional representatives,” says Hipkins.

The Bill will also seek to rename the existing Education Council as the Teaching Council of Aotearoa, to better reflect the organisation’s purpose.

“The Bill an important first step in raising the status of teaching after some tough years for the profession,” says Hipkins.

PPTA president Jack Boyle described the legislation as “good news” for the whole education sector, saying it puts teachers on a par with other professions.

“This Bill is the first step of the many required to raise the mana of our profession. We look forward to working with the Minister on many more,” Boyle says.

NZEI Te Riu Roa national secretary Paul Goulter agrees.

“We have long advocated for a council with a strong teacher voice. This Bill is a positive step towards our vision of a strong and independent council that can encourage public debate about education based on best evidence about what makes for quality teaching and learning.”

The Bill increases the number of council members from nine to 13 – with seven registered teachers and principals to be directly elected by their peers and six members appointed by the Minister of Education.

The seven elected members would represent the three parts of the system – one each from the ECE, primary and secondary teacher sectors; a primary, a secondary and an ECE principal or leader; and a representative of initial and ongoing teacher education.

The Education Minister would retain the power to appoint six members of the Council, with one of these members being appointed after consultation with parents and community interest groups. This would enable the Minister to ensure there is sufficient governance and specialist expertise in areas including finance and the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.

The chair would be appointed by the Minister from either the elected or appointed members.

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