Schools to refocus on Maori, Pacific and kids with special needs

Author
Simon Collins, NZ Herald,
Section
Education,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 13 March 2018, 12:19PM
Schools will be told to refocus on the needs of Maori students, like these students at Tai Wananga in Hamilton, in a review of competitive schooling. (Photo / Michael Craig)
Schools will be told to refocus on the needs of Maori students, like these students at Tai Wananga in Hamilton, in a review of competitive schooling. (Photo / Michael Craig)

Schools will be refocused on serving Maori and Pasifika children and students with special needs in a major shakeup unveiled by the Government.

Terms of reference for a review of the 30-year-old competitive schooling system, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins, say schools' flexibility needs to be balanced by "every child's right to a responsive education at their local school".

A key item, in the five terms of reference for a proposed taskfoce is "the roles of governance, management and administration in schools and how they could better support equity and inclusion in the educational progress and outcomes for all children".

Hipkins said he would appoint a five-to-seven-person taskforce next month to review the competitive system known as "Tomorrow's Schools" after the title of a 1988 taskforce report led by Brian Picot, who was then chief executive of the supermarket company Progressive Enterprises.

"It will look at how we can better support equity and inclusion for all children throughout their schooling, what changes are needed to support their educational success, and at the fitness of our school system to equip all our students for a rapidly changing world," Hipkins said.

"A key priority is for our schooling system to be more responsive to the needs of Maori and Pasifika children and those children needing learning support for whom the education system has not delivered in the past."

Hipkins originally said last month that he would report to Cabinet by the end of February on the proposed membership and terms of reference for the review.

Although the members of the taskforce will now not be named until April, they will be required to report back by November 9.

"Given the timeframes for the development of the report, it is expected that the independent taskforce will meet frequently," the terms of reference state.

The taskforce will be supported by a "cross-sector advisory panel" with representatives from "the range of groups and organisations that have an interest in the
state and state-integrated schooling sector, including families and whanau, employers,
early learning providers, boards of trustees, principals, teachers and young people".

The five terms of reference for the review are:

  • The ability of governance, management and administration of the schooling
    system to respond to the education needs of the future;
  • The ability of schools to respond flexibly to their local communities and the need
    to balance this with every child's right to a responsive education at their local
    school, regardless of where they live;
  • The roles of governance, management and administration in schools, and how
    they could better support equity and inclusion in the educational progress and
    outcomes for all children throughout their schooling;
  • Giving active expression to te Tiriti o Waitangi by exploring the impact of the
    governance, management and administrative system on the ability of schools to
    meet the needs of all Māori students and assessing its effectiveness for Maori
    medium students.
  • The environment within which schools operate, including the roles of the Ministry, ERO, NZQA, Education Council and NZSTA in supporting schools (and the yet
    to be established Education Advisory Service and the Leadership Council).

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