Education Minister Chris Hipkins
“Much has changed since the last major schooling system review took place 30 years ago. For example, there is greater diversity across our student population, and our schools are dealing with more complex issues including student and teacher wellbeing, than was the case back then.
“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.”
NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr
“Making this new system work will require some serious thinking about the place of government and officials, and on their willingness to regroup into agencies that genuinely support system stakeholders rather than trying to second-guess them. This has been a real issue with the Tomorrow’s Schools system, although there’s been a genuine effort from the Ministry to address that over recent years.
“What we call ‘governing’ is a complex activity, with many parts, and the way we do it in schools at the moment includes a lot of activity that is really high-level management rather than actual governance. Property management is a classic example.
“For example, we note that the Taskforce refers to governance sitting at the Hub level, but also says that planning and reporting, and creating local goals will be carried out at school level. Now as far as NZSTA is concerned, planning and reporting and defining strategic goals for the school is most definitely a governance activity, so we need to have those conversations with the Taskforce to work out exactly what they are thinking and create a common language to carry us forward.
“We have repeatedly been told by Ministers that school boards of trustees will continue to govern their schools under any new system, but that the focus and structure of school boards of trustees may change. We have taken them at their word on that.
“We know that there are many things that site-based, community led governance of our schools has achieved very well over the past 30 years, and there are other things, like the lack of effective support for community participation, that have got in the way of that success.
“An ideal outcome will be enough change to enable school boards of trustees to perform their strategic governance role on behalf of the local community without constantly getting tied up in the compliance aspects of running the ‘business’ activities of the school.
“The most important thing will be that the review empowers local communities to actively pursue their aspirations for the education of their children and young people. The best way to do that is through a community-led governing body that is permitted and supported to govern well. We’re excited to be involved in the next phase, which will be working out what we have to do to ensure that this system makeover produces the best possible education experiences and outcomes for our students.
New Zealand Principals’ Federation President Whetu Cormick
“There is a lot of good sense in this report. The most pleasing of all is that it divorces itself from all the competitive aspects that came with the business accountability model of education which proved a dismal failure for our children’s learning.
“This report embraces a collaborative approach with children, equity and access at the centre.
“It is pleasing to see that the Treaty of Waitangi and true partnership with Māori is strongly embedded throughout the report, so rather than seeing Māori as a problem to be fixed, they will be seen as equal participants. Our young Māori people will now be educated in a way that is consistent with their cultural beliefs and practices.
“Hubs are a new concept for us and they make a lot of sense if they allow our school Boards of Trustees to focus on children’s learning and wellbeing which are the reasons most parents offer their services in the first place.
“At this stage we don’t know whether there is sufficient money in the education budget to support the work of the hubs. These and other details will need to be thrashed out during the next consultation phase”
NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart
“This is putting children’s wellbeing back at the heart of education – which is what we have been saying for a very long time. It redefines what success looks like for kids and has a big focus on equity.
“This is a big, bold and brave move from the taskforce and we welcome it. We are excited by the opportunities that it presents.
“The report says that their status and roles (and the skills that they bring) have been a lost opportunity for schools and this report recommends that there be a career pathway for them.
“We obviously need to look at the finer details of the whole report, and we have lots of questions, but it is a great start.”
PPTA President Jack Boyle
“The fresh approach to the challenges we’re facing has put a spring in our step at the end of a difficult year.
“The principles that underpin the report are sound and we’re pleased that the government will take the time to get the detail right. We expect to be intimately engaged in that process.
“We support many aspects of the report, and are especially interested in working with the government to develop the hub concept. Teachers believe this could be an important tool to achieve equity within and across communities.
“Taking the responsibility for employment off the plates of boards of trustees may well resolve many of the systemic issues PPTA often deals with.”
National’s Education Spokesperson Nikki Kaye
“National agrees with the need for structural change, better governance and greater collaboration, however these proposed changes are far reaching and must be carefully considered.
“We have serious concerns about the creation of around 20 new Crown entities called Education Hubs, which would transfer more responsibilities from parents to bureaucrats. We will fight to ensure parents continue to have a strong role in the education of their children.
“While the report is short on detail on how the Hubs would work, it’s clear they would see a major reduction in the power and duties of Boards of Trustees and parents in our education system, including taking responsibility for expulsions and exclusions, final decision making rights on enrolments and zoning, and the employment of principals. Around 19,000 parents and trustees who currently sit on boards could be relegated to advisors with little ability to influence the education of children.
“With the creation of around 20 Hubs supporting around 125 schools each being recommended, there will be concerns about the costs of this number of Crown entities and whether we will end up creating further bureaucracy. Hubs will also make decisions on the appointment of principals who will be employed on five year terms and potentially moved from school to school.
“These changes cover almost every aspect of our school system, including governance, teaching and learning, learning support, and enrolment schemes.
“We understand that this is a once in a generation chance to make some significant changes to our education system and look forward to carefully considering policy implications and necessarily scrutinising areas of concern.”
ACT Leader David Seymour
“The proposed ‘Education Hubs’ will reduce the self-determination of individual schools by removing a number of their core responsibilities. This is an intrusion on the autonomy of schools and will undermine communities’ ability to develop their own property by removing it and placing it in the hands of a remote bureaucracy.
“Besides, what will this new layer of bureaucracy achieve that existing Ministry of Education regional offices haven’t been able to?
“ACT’s charter schools could have solved many of the issues the review seeks to address.
“Paying good teachers more, and the ability to hire teachers that weren’t registered with the Education Council, were attracting more and better people to the teaching profession.
“This Taskforce won’t transform education with new powers and additional bureaucracy.”