The New Zealand School Trustees Association is calling on the government to extend the 6-week consultation period on the Education and Training Amendment Bill to ensure that school communities, including boards, staff, students and parents have the opportunity to engage fully with them.
This will not be possible in a 6-week period that coincides with the beginning of the end of the school year, external exams, and a three-month summer break.
The extended consultation period should be used to engage in a series of focussed engagements at school, cluster, regional and sector levels throughout Terms 1 & 2, 2020 to promote genuine engagement and consensus.
NZSTA has also called on all political parties to commit to cross-party consensus on the community engagement process and the direction of change for the education sector in advance of the 2020 general election and to observe a moratorium on political point-scoring at the expense of genuine educational reform in the 2020 general election and beyond.
The requests are contained in NZSTA’s recently published green paper, Now What for schooling in New Zealand.
The Ministry of Education’s role as ‘steward of the sector’ with a focus on strategic, sector-wide policy should be reinforced and they should retain responsibility for system monitoring and reporting to inform changes to policy settings but all operational advice, support, advocacy and compliance monitoring should be reassigned to other bodies.
Expanding the Ministry of Education’s operational activities to form a new business unit that owns and operates the proposed network of regional support centres is not an acceptable option, says NZSTA.The Ministry should not be in a position to act as judge, jury and executioner on decisions that affect schools NZSTA says, as this creates a situation where Ministry decisions effectively cannot be challenged.
NZSTA makes a number of other recommendations in the paper, including
– Extend the Donations Replacement Scheme to underprivileged students in all schools
– Provide resourcing on the basis of students’ actual and reasonable needs
– Ensure that the new Act includes provisions that commit the crown to provide sufficient support and resourcing to meet its obligations
– Permit trustees to take time out from regular employment without penalty when called upon to perform their community-based roles, similar to the provisions for Jury Service or other similar community service
– Develop cross-sector strategies to develop the capacity and capability of the children’s workforce within the next 3-5 years
Now what for Schooling in New Zealand can be downloaded from the NZSTA website free of charge.