Eight weeks of public meetings across New Zealand on Tomorrow’s Schools show many people see room to improve our education system but they don’t want it radically restructured into a hub model, National’s Education spokesperson Nikki Kaye says.
“National hosted around 30 public education meetings and discussions, engaging with an estimated 2000 people on options proposed by the Independent Taskforce. We also held around 40 more informal meetings and discussions with principals, smaller groups, students, parents and stakeholder organisations.
“Submissions on the report closed on Sunday. The timeframes are too tight to allow adequate and meaningful consideration of the hundreds if not thousands of submissions the taskforce is likely to consider before reporting back to the Minister on April 30th.
“National has already confirmed our support for some of the recommendations on additional learning support and on scrapping the decile system, which National made a decision to do when we were in Government. The work of the NZ Initiative provides further evidence for scrapping the decile system.
“Many people said the proposed hub model was a return to the past when education boards held sway. Their shortcomings were a major driver for Tomorrow’s Schools being introduced three decades ago.
“People were concerned that principals and teachers could be muzzled and lose their autonomy if they were employed by hubs, and parents could end up disempowered. There were significant concerns that the proposed governance of hubs could see them stacked with political appointees.
“Another way to look at it is that this is potentially the largest restructure of the jobs of more than 19,000 boards of trustees and more than 2500 principals and it could significantly affect the employment of teachers in schools.
“National will formulate our final position on the Tomorrow’s Schools report in coming months. We said at the outset we want to be constructive and engage with both the taskforce and the Government to ensure any improvements to education system are enduring.”
Notes to Editors: We cancelled a number of meetings out of respect for the victims of the terrorist attack in Canterbury. We will hold an additional meeting in Canterbury on May 5th which we have permission to provide feedback on post the closing of submissions.