Education Conversation in full swing

Issue: Volume 97, Number 16

Posted: 7 September 2018
Reference #: 1H9kZh

Thousands of New Zealanders from all over the country are taking the opportunity to have their say in the national Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga, which has been in full swing for six months now.

Secretary for Education Iona Holsted says the Ministry of Education is facilitating this conversation, so the Government has the benefit of a wide range of views before considering change.

“We’ve organised the summits and workshops, encouraged people to make online submissions, and we’re recording and synthesising all the views and ideas being contributed. This engagement is enabling us to hear the voices of those most affected by how the system performs. 

“We’ve had a really broad range of people taking the time to have their say. This is a huge opportunity, for participants across the sector, to co-create new and enhanced designs for how education is delivered and managed.” 

More than 15,000 people have already been online to feed back on the Future of Education in New Zealand – a national survey that complements the two Education Summits in May this year. 

Submissions include 4,370 from parents, 3,800 from teachers, 1,300 from students, almost 500 from principals, around 1,560 from Māori, and 450 from Pacific peoples. 

The survey is still open, but results are being shared along the way. An initial analysis of over 11,000 responses to late May is available on the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga website. This report identifies the emerging themes and provides analysis of all responses, as well as snapshots of responses from youth, parents and disabled people.  

This broad engagement is helping to inform ideas and options in the reviews of major parts of the education system. These include the NCEA Review (National Certificates of Educational Achievement), and the Tomorrow’s Schools Review of the framework for how our schools are managed. 

A number of these reviews are being led by Ministerial Advisory Groups, and one Independent Taskforce. These groups have been engaging directly with stakeholders to inform their specific areas, and they will be reporting back to Government with their recommendations over the next few months. 

Iona says this approach means that Ministers will hear all of the ideas and options. They will then decide which ones the Government wants to take forward and develop further through policy work. Stakeholders will have another opportunity to engage again through formal consultation before final decisions are made.

NCEA Review – have your say

New Zealanders now have more time to pass on their experiences of NCEA, and their ideas for how the qualification can be further strengthened. 

The deadline for submissions has been extended to 19 October. The Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) is asking all New Zealanders to tell them their experiences of NCEA – what works well and what the challenges are.  

Iona says that the six Big Opportunities identified by the MAG are discussion points, “but the group is also keen to hear other ideas that people have to shape the future of the qualification”. 

A Professional Advisory Group of principals and teachers is being established to give the profession a stronger voice at the centre of the NCEA Review process. They will provide separate and independent advice from that of the MAG. 

So far more than 6,000 people have had their say on NCEA online. More than 1,500 participants have also been involved in workshops throughout the country, as well as 53 focus group conversations and 150 in-depth interviews. All views and ideas are to be recorded and synthesised to be shared in a report in November.

After submissions close and have been reviewed, the next stage will involve developing and testing ideas and solutions with the education sector, before recommendations are prepared for the Education Minister’s consideration in early 2019.  

Curriculum, Progress and Achievement Survey

A wide range of views and experiences have been captured in the 2,000 or so responses to the Curriculum, Progress and Achievement online survey.

A MAG is reviewing and developing advice on how schools are equipped with the capability and tools to understand The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, and to design local curriculum. It is also looking at options for using quality assessment information to report on students’ progress and achievement across the curriculum. 

“This is about helping parents to better understand how their children are doing at school in Years 1–10 – before they start NCEA,” says Iona.

“While it’s important for parents, and students to know the progress being made in reading, writing and maths, it’s also important to understand how children are achieving across the wider curriculum and in general life skills.” 

A Reference Group is providing an on-the-ground perspective to the MAG, following discussions with the sector. The MAG is to advise the Minister by the end of the year on how schools and kura can be supported further. 

Visit Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga

For further information on these reviews, the initial survey results and other work underway across the Government’s education work programme, visit the Education Conversation | Kōrero Mātauranga(external link) hub.  

Engaging on Tomorrow’s Schools

Engagement with a wide range of stakeholders continues during the Tomorrow’s Schools Review – the system introduced in 1989 that dramatically changed the governance, management and administration of our schools, including the establishment of school boards.

A cross-sector panel is advising an Independent Taskforce on the strengths and challenges of the current system. The taskforce has also been out and about meeting with stakeholders – from students, to board members, principals, iwi, learning support and disability groups and many more. Around 2,000 submissions have been received to the public survey, which closed 31 August. 

Chair Bali Haque says the taskforce has been hearing a variety of views on how the current system is working. 

“We’re hearing about the impact of increased competition between schools, the need for schools to work together more, and the inconsistency in governance across school boards,” he says. 

“People are also telling us that they like the level of community involvement in schools. 

“The taskforce wants to celebrate what is already being done well, look at what’s not, and what needs to change in order to meet the challenges we face and to achieve equity and excellence.” 

The Independent Taskforce is due to report back to the Minister of Education, Chris Hipkins, in November.  

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 11:08 am, 7 September 2018

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