The Ministry of Education welcomes the independent report from KPMG on the Lockdown by schools and early learning services that took place during the tragic events in Christchurch on 15 March 2019.
“The safety and wellbeing of our children and young people is paramount. All children and young people who were at a school or early learning service on 15 March went home safely,” says Katrina Casey, Deputy Secretary at the Ministry of Education.
“We commissioned the review to ensure that any opportunities for improvement are identified and acted on, so we can strengthen any future response should a similar event occur.
“The KPMG report recognises that the Ministry of Education emergency guidance is effective and accurate, however we are committed to working with schools, early learning services, and NZ Police to respond to the opportunities for improvement identified through the review process.
“The independent review reflects input from a wide range of stakeholders, and it identifies a set of specific actions.
“The learnings from the Lockdown report are applicable nationwide and we will work with early learning services, schools and NZ Police to implement these over the coming months.
“One key improvement is already available. During the Christchurch event, we relied on email and telephone to communicate with early learning services and schools. Although this was largely effective, we now have access to Mataara, a new mobile phone-based tool that will enable quick and simultaneous communication with every school and early learning service in a given region. This is currently being rolled out across New Zealand,” Ms Casey says.
“As well as actions for the Ministry, the report also highlights the opportunity for all schools and early learning services to review their current Lockdown policies and procedures. Emergency plans need to be pragmatic, support adaptive leadership, and have child wellbeing at the centre of all planning and preparation.”