Working together to raise student achievement

Issue: Volume 94, Number 7

Posted: 4 May 2015
Reference #: 1H9cr0

The Ministry of Education and the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI) are working together through a joint initiative to raise educational achievement for every student.

Under the joint initiative, working parties have focused on collaboration, transitions, Pasifika and Māori success, career pathways and resourcing. These working parties are made up of NZEI members and Ministry staff, with a Joint Governance Group.
The working party members visited schools and early childhood centres looking at how teachers and school support staff have been working together to help students succeed throughout their education.

“Raising education achievement for every student is our top priority,” says Secretary for Education, Peter Hughes. “New Zealand has its own achievement challenge. Our top students are doing as well as students anywhere in the world, but there is a big gap between our top performing students and those who aren’t doing so well. This needs to change.”

National Secretary for NZEI, Paul Goulter, says the Ministry and NZEI firmly agree on putting students at the centre of teaching and learning.

“The working parties’ aims are to support children’s success at every level of their learning, from ECE to tertiary.”

Throughout March, members visited a range of schools and ECE services around the country, met face to face with leading national and international researchers, and drew on information from a survey completed by NZEI members.

“There are some great examples of innovative practice and collaborative practices within and across our schools and early childhood centres.

The joint initiative gives us the opportunity to come up with ways to build and expand on what we know is already working and helping students succeed in their education,” says Mr Goulter.

What happens next?

The joint initiative will report back on its findings by the end of May 2015.

NZEI will discuss any outcomes with its members and ask them for a mandate to progress any agreed items in the report.

“The specific outcomes have not been predetermined by either organisation. We want the working party to assess best practice on the ground and make use of the best research evidence before coming to any conclusions in May. These conclusions will be taken back to our respective organisations for endorsement and, where needed, bargained in good faith,” says Mr Goulter.

In September 2014 the Ministry settled variations to the collective agreements with the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) and Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) on Investing in Educational Success. The variation set out details about the new teacher and leadership roles both working within and across Communities of Schools to help raise student achievement.

The outcomes of the joint NZEI/Ministry initiative are yet to be finalised. However, it is important to both the Ministry and NZEI that future primary, area and the existing secondary school outcomes co-exist smoothly, says Mr Hughes.

“We also expect the joint initiative process will suggest future directions for our sector. It will not be possible to quickly implement all good ideas that come through, but we are taking care to document what we find and what people tell us.
This will help shape policy direction in future.”

The Ministry is continuing to work with primary, area and secondary schools that wish to form a Community of Schools.

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:05 PM, 4 May 2015

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