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What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education? >> NZ Teacher >> Leadership & PD >> Postgrad Education >> ICT & Procurement >> Postgrad & Research

Ed’s letter

An early Christmas present to the sector


he compilation of a publication like this – one that collects a range of opinions on a broad topic – always gives pause to reflect on what is top of mind in education circles. Virtually all contributors have a clear idea about what they envisage as an ideal future for New Zealand’s education system. For some, it looks vastly different from how it looks today. Many speak of the need to move away from the current focus on standardisation, assessment and measuring outcomes to a more student-centric approach, one that primes learners for the future world. The maxim about preparing students for ‘jobs that haven’t been invented yet’ crops up often. For others, the Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy and other initiatives are signs that we are on the right track. Many speak of their pride in various aspects of New Zealand’s education system. Patrick Walsh draws particular attention to “the outstanding contribution of our teaching workforce”. However, all concede that we are not yet where we need to be. As Claire Amos points out in her contribution, “this period will be looked back on as that uncomfortably pimply pubescent period where we transitioned, painfully and unnecessarily slowly, from an industrial age education system to a more agile knowledge age model”. The imminent review of the Education Act is therefore timely. The sector has long grown tired and disillusioned with Tomorrow’s Schools and there is a real sense of excitement at the prospect of having the opportunity to bring relevancy to the outdated education legislation. Among a range of wish list requests, it is hoped that the legislation review will help remove the competitiveness between schools, provide appropriate support for priority learners, and most importantly, address the growing inequality among New Zealand schools. In the tertiary education space, there is a renewed focus on lifelong learning, with a clear need to see linkages and seamless transitions between schools, tertiary education providers and workplaces. This is driving the need for providers to come up with innovative ways to deliver new models of teaching and learning that play into the ‘anytime, anywhere, anyhow’ gold standard. All in all, we are delighted with the variety and depth of the insights garnered from the sector for this special Education Review supplement. Please consider it an early Christmas present from us to you as the academic year winds down. We look forward to bringing you more great content throughout 2016. Jude Barback Editor, Education Review

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Go to


INside: 2

Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education


Patrick Walsh, SPANZ


Chris Hipkins, Labour education spokesperson


Chris Whelan, Universities New Zealand


Tracey Martin, NZ First education spokesperson


Peter Coolbear, Ako Aotearoa


Catherine Delahunty, Greens education spokesperson


Dr Jim Mather, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa


Barbara Ala’alatoa, EDUCANZ


Josh Williams, ITF


Dr Karen Poutasi, NZQA


Dr Louise Tapper and Tracy Riley, Gifted education


Peter Reynolds, Early Childhood Council


Grant McPherson, Education NZ


Fiona Hughes, BestStart Educare


Stuart Middleton, MIT


Louise Green, NZEI president


John Morris, Morris Consulting


Denise Torrey, NZPF president


Claire Amos, Hobsonville Point Secondary School


Angela Roberts, PPTA president

Editor Jude Barback production Aaron Morey Advertising & marketing Manager Belle Hanrahan Publisher & general manager Bronwen Wilkins IMAGES iStock



NZME. Educational Media Level 2, NZME. House, 190 Taranaki Street, Wellington 6141, New Zealand PO Box 200, Wellington 6140 Tel: 04 471 1600 © 2015. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be copied or reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopy, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the publisher.

ISSN: 1173-8014 Errors and omissions: Whilst the publishers have attempted to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information, no responsibility can be accepted by the publishers for any errors or omissions. Education Review is distributed to key decision makers in the education sector and its distribution is audited by New Zealand Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC). Distribution: 6450

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political corner

Changing our education system Hon Hekia Parata, Minister of Education

Hon Hekia Parata says we need to make changes to our education system to ensure impediments to learning are dealt with as they arise.


s New Zealanders we are rightly proud of our education system. It produces well-rounded, curious, creative, problem-solvers who are sought after the world over. But, like most things in life, it is not perfect. While most of our students leave school equipped with the qualifications they need to go on to further education or training, a minority do not. Despite a sharp increase in student achievement in recent years, about one in five of our students are still leaving school without the minimum qualification necessary for further education or training – NCEA Level 2. A disproportionate number of those students are either Māori or Pasifika. That is not in their interests or the interests of anyone else. New Zealand is a small country with a small population a long way from the rest of the world. We cannot afford to squander 20 per cent of our talent. That is why this Government has an unrelenting focus on raising achievement levels for all students. An egalitarian ethos is part of New Zealand’s DNA and we want all our kids to have the opportunity to achieve to their potential. But we also 2

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want to make the most of our limited human capital. The challenging target we have set ourselves of ensuring 85 per cent of those who turn 18 in 2017 have at least NCEA Level 2 has had the desired effect of mobilising principals, teachers, officials and ourselves as policymakers. We expect to achieve the overall target, but there is still much work to be done to ensure that Māori and Pasifika achievement rates also top the 85 per cent mark. We are ambitious for every young New Zealander. Achieving our targets is involving a lot of effort to push against a system that has grown to allow some students to progress without acquiring the skills they need. That is expensive and time-consuming. We need to make changes to our education system to ensure impediments to learning are dealt with as they arise rather than waiting till near the end of a student’s schooling. And those changes need to be sustainable over time so that we are not constantly in fix-up mode. And so that those students already doing well are supported to do even better. The process is under way. We have almost doubled spending on early childhood learning since 2008

to ensure our early learners start school better prepared. We have introduced National Standards to help teachers identify student strengths and weaknesses more quickly and to do something about them. We have established the Education Council to raise the quality and status of the teaching profession. We are investing about $700 million in digital infrastructure to ensure every child is able to take advantage of the opportunities provided by technology. We are refocusing teacher professional development on key priorities. We are bringing schools together in Communities of Learning to work collaboratively to raise achievement because the skill and professionalism of our teachers and principals is our greatest resource. We are updating the Education Act 1989 for 2016 and beyond. And we are reviewing the education funding system to ensure it supports schools to focus on the things that make the greatest difference to kids’ learning. None of these measures have been without debate – and nor should they be. We all want the best for our children and a good Kiwi education is a passport to a better future.

An egalitarian ethos is part of New Zealand’s DNA and we want all our kids to have the opportunity to achieve to their potential.” Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


political corner

Meeting the needs of each individual learner Chris Hipkins, Education Spokesperson, Labour Party

Chris Hipkins says the focus of education needs to change from standardisation and measurement to a more personalised learning experience for each student.


hirty years ago someone could walk out of the school gate and have a reasonable expectation of paid employment, no matter what level of qualification they had achieved. One job would lead to another and over their working life, the average Kiwi could expect to work a few different jobs, often within the same industry, have reasonable security in their employment, save to buy a house, raise a family, and put a bit of money away for their retirement. Those days are gone. Many of the jobs out there today will have disappeared by the time students who are currently at school step into the workforce. Some studies have suggested that over half the jobs people currently do will disappear within the next two decades. That’s upheaval on a grand scale. Many of the jobs disappearing are the ones that have often provided a bridge between school and ongoing employment for young people. Checkout operators are being replaced by self-service kiosks, newspapers replaced by online news delivered direct to our phones and laptops, and even higher up the employment hierarchy, professions like accounting are seeing huge numbers of jobs 4

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Our education system needs to prepare our young people for a workplace we can’t yet imagine.”

vanish as technology makes them redundant. Our education system needs to prepare our young people for a workplace we can’t yet imagine. They will need to be resilient, creative, adaptable, have great communication and interpersonal skills, and be prepared to work collaboratively as well as independently. Far from having a ‘job for life’ they can expect to chop and change careers on a regular basis. They will probably undertake a range of different types of work; some salaried, some contracted, some in a workplace, some from home. Subject-specific knowledge will be a lot less important; transferable skills will be essential. Attitude and aptitude will be just as important, if not more important, than qualifications. That poses enormous challenges for the

education system and here, as around the world, we’re only just beginning to grapple with those. The current focus on standardisation and measurement works against adapting the education system to the needs of the modern world. Those policies seek to refine a system that was well-suited to the last century, but simply won’t cut it in the future. Our focus has to be on a much more personalised learning experience, one that brings out the best in each and every individual. No two people are built exactly the same so we should stop forcing the education system to treat them as if they are. The modern education system needs to address poverty and the enormous effect it has on student achievement, improve targeted support to those students who need extra help either because they are struggling or due to special needs, and shift emphasis back to a broad curriculum. The Labour Party will continue to champion a free public education system that provides all New Zealanders with lifelong learning opportunities so that they can reach their full potential.

Sector soundbites:

'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?' “The new Ministry of Education fouryear plan has been recently published and outlines the plan for the next four years. This plan includes the better tailoring of services to support innovation and development that will include the ongoing work that will raise the achievement of our students through better, more focused, futurecentred pedagogical practice. The Government has recognised that we need to work with all sectors of the pathways a child will proceed through the educational journey from early childhood to 24 to 35-yearold citizens who need to sustain jobs in the workforce and so will need appropriate, future-focused qualifications and skills. “So the skills, in the education sector, of collaboration and critique, innovation and growth in leadership and pedagogical skills will have the most impact on our future educational arena. Parents and students will have far more understanding and ownership in the learning process by targeted programmes in Communities of Learning. My fear is that those who actively oppose and abstain from the processes to make this happen fail their communities and students that are in their care, unintentionally disadvantaging and short-changing their school communities of an opportunity to make a significant difference to this generation of children who are in our present educational cohort.”

Colin Dale, Principal, Murrays Bay Intermediate Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


political corner

Timely review of education legislation Tracey Martin, Education Spokesperson, New Zealand First

Tracey Martin believes the review of the Education Act gives a timely opportunity to set an agreed direction and shared vision for New Zealand education.


hat society asks of our public education system continues to change and intensify. New Zealand First believes it is time to have meaningful, open and transparent consultation about the review of the Education Act 1989. This would take place in a similar manner to that which developed our world-leading curriculum documents. Consultation alongside wider public conversations; robust discussion between all stakeholders across all sectors – early years, early childhood, primary, secondary, tertiary and trade training, adult and community education; discussion that includes the voice of students, parents and caregivers, support staff, teachers, school leaders and school trustees. This Education Hui would develop a collaborative 30-year strategic plan for New Zealand education. This plan is timely after 25 years of Tomorrow’s Schools and would set an agreed direction and a shared vision for our nation’s education that is free from changes in governments and ministers. It would include the development of regional educational strategies and enable seamless transitions between and across sectors. In order to make and embed positive change, politicians must recognise that they are not educational experts. It is the job of legislators to make sure that all citizens’ rights to education are enshrined and protected by practical appropriate laws. Te Whariki, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa should all be at the front and in the centre of our education system. Our national curriculum documents provide our


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teachers and learners with wide success criteria and key competencies that encourage and promote good citizenship. Current government policy has narrowed the definition of success to the detriment of learners. New Zealand First would abolish National Standards and re-establish professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of our New Zealand Curriculum with monitoring of children’s progress based on curriculum levels. Our national curriculum documents have identified curriculum achievement levels that are progressive and overlapping – children are not expected to achieve at the same rate to the same level at the same time. Discussion on refocusing data collection, analysis and reporting using these levels would be part of any Education Act review. New Zealand First believes that “success for Kiwi kids as Kiwi kids” needs to be identified, agreed and implemented. We, politicians, parents and community leaders need to return to a high-trust model partnering with the people in and around our classrooms, school grounds and campuses who share the responsibility for educating our children. We support the investment of additional funds to enhance teaching and learning but it cannot be driven just by a Minister’s sense of priorities. New Zealand First commits to the $359 million announced in Budget 2014 but contends that this money should be available for professional development, building collaborative arrangements between schools, professional leadership opportunities etc., following genuine consultation with the sector. However, we have heard the voice of early childhood and special needs groups and agree that there is a desperate need to “front end the spend” rather than continue with “ambulance at the bottom of the cliff” expenditure. We are strongly opposed to charter or partnership schools as the excuse to ignore an operational funding crisis that is emerging in public schools. No charter school contract would be renewed and all funding would be returned to the public school system for the benefit of all New Zealanders.

In order to make and embed positive change, politicians must recognise that they are not educational experts.”

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political corner

Reversing competition and inequality in our schools Catherine Delahunty, Education Spokesperson, Green Party

Catherine Delahunty believes the Education Act review is a critical opportunity to affirm public quality education and reverse competition and inequality in New Zealand schools.


he Green Party is committed to an education system that is quality, public and offers lifelong learning opportunities to all people. As inequality intensifies in Aotearoa/New Zealand, we are disturbed to see a privatisation agenda undermining these goals. Unfortunately, the entrenchment of policies based on crude measurement and unhelpful targets is dominating government education policies instead. The failed experiment known as the GERM (the Global Education Reform Movement) is being imposed upon schools. The community-based early childhood sector is struggling as private franchises expand and compete while government funding is cut to services that are committed to qualified staff and safe staffing ratios per child. The rhetoric of support for ‘priority learners’ is not helping low decile schools where students can arrive at school hungry, unwell and stressed by transience and other effects of poverty. The loss of opportunity for Māori and Pasifika children and children with learning differences or impairments can be acute and costs the whole of society in the long term. Schools need support to be culturally responsive 8

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and to be using a broad and creative curriculum that prepares students for the environmental and social challenges of the 21st century. The Green Party has developed a school hubs policy that would assist decile 1 to 4 primary and intermediate schools. This would include a dedicated school nurse, a school hubs coordinator, school lunches for children who need it, and free after-

review of the purpose of the Education Act is a critical opportunity to affirm public quality education and reverse competition and inequality in our schools. We are committed to the goal of equity and inclusion in education rather than the mechanistic and limiting focus of National Standards and NCEA targets. Poverty and inequality are undermining the potential of many children but an

The rhetoric of support for ‘priority learners’ is not helping low decile schools where students can arrive at school hungry, unwell and stressed by transience and other effects of poverty.”

school and holiday care. Teachers would be under less pressure to be social workers and able to focus on teaching. We would also establish not-for-profit early childhood centres on school sites. The hubs policy would be flexible so that schools and communities can determine their own needs, and this could include adult education, learning te reo and many other topics. The Greens believe that education is at a turning point and that the

equitable education system can create more opportunity for everyone. The state has a responsibility to invest in equity as a goal in every school. A modern learning environment is not technology and open plan, although they are tools we might embrace. Modern learning is building a pedagogy of learning rather than of testing. We must value the teaching profession to get on with teaching.

EducatioN NEws, viEws, tRENds aNd aNalysis For breaking news, conversations with your colleagues and editor Jude Barback ... join Education Review live on Twitter. Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Changing perceptions of our teaching profession Barbara Ala’alatoa, Chairperson, Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand

Barbara Ala’alatoa says the new Education Council is focused on growing respect for New Zealand’s teaching profession.

The year in education will be remembered for: This year has been a significant year for the education profession. The Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand came into being on 1 July. This is a momentous change – we now have an Education Council that is independent of any government or organisation. On our establishment, the message from the government was clear: ‘Your role is to work collectively to attain the highest professional aspiration – unconstrained by either industrial or political affiliations, policies or issues’. We are accountable to our profession, our peers and colleagues. Our mandate is to raise the status of the teaching profession, 10

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strengthen the regulatory and disciplinary regimes, and support strong systems leadership. We will set our own agenda, independent of any government. We will work with teachers, parents and the public to build a strong and resilient organisation dedicated to ensuring the teaching profession has the same respect as professions such as lawyers or doctors.

A significant achievement in the sector this year has been: The education profession is constantly evolving and it needs to. As teachers we need to be constantly learning so that our practice is highly effective for all the learners we teach. The exponential growth of technology, and access to knowledge, means we need students with a strong moral purpose and sense of justice. More than ever we need to make sure the curriculum we design and deliver is relevant. We need students who are good at working together for the greater good. We look forward to moving into an environment where schools are working as communities to strengthen the quality of what we can deliver, not just as an individual school, but as a collective. We recognise that success for learners can’t be achieved in a vacuum. Building strong systems leadership through working collectively will result in tangible improvements over the coming years.

The council is very excited about Communities of Learners, and is currently working out how we can make a powerful contribution to support it. I also think our sector is working much harder to connect with parents, families and the community. We’re recognising that getting great outcomes for students is a collective responsibility – that society also plays a role in contributing to building strong, resilient and confident learners. We all benefit from creating sustainable structures and frameworks for lifelong learning.

The issue our members were most concerned about in 2015 was: The status of the teaching profession needs to rise. The Education Council’s mandate is to change perceptions about the teaching profession. We want to grow respect for the profession so it attracts the brightest and the best and they stay because of the professional opportunities afforded, and the rewarding and challenging environments they experience. We look forward to developing standards with, and for, the profession. We will be ensuring the progression of these standards support career development. We will work with our peers and colleagues to build rich evidence and exemplars of the standards.

... we as a sector must remain focused on getting equitable outcomes for all learners, and focused on what works for our priority students, because that’s what usually works for all students.”

We know in countries where teaching is held in the same esteem as the medical or legal profession the outcomes for learners are better and teachers are more committed, fulfilled, and connected to the education community. Teachers are lifelong learners – it’s not a one-way process.

Three education priorities for the coming year are: Maximising the success of every learner through highly effective leadership and teaching is at the council’s core. Our three goals are collective responsibility for equitable outcomes for every learner, consistently high-quality teaching and leadership within and across learning environments, and for every teacher and leader to embrace improvement, innovation and change. We’ll do this by helping build professional capability, strengthening a self-managing profession and developing leadership of a coherent, high-performing education system. We also need to develop better systems for the selection, mentoring and appointment of professional

leaders. That means developing standards for leadership that demonstrate what constitutes exemplary practice at the various stages of leadership. More generally speaking, we as a sector must remain focused on getting equitable outcomes for all learners, and focused on what works for our priority students, because that’s what usually works for all students. We work in an increasingly complex world. We need to remain focused

on achievement, and elevate the competencies and values of our curriculum so students can go on to make and shape communities and society to be healthier, safer, happier and dynamic. Finally, it’s been a very exciting and challenging time for me as the first chair of this new organisation. I look forward to leading the Education Council over the next three years. It’s an exciting prospect.

Sector soundbites: 'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?'

“Consistently capturing ‘Student Voice’ to inform local curriculum design will have the effective impact teachers, leaders and school communities are looking for to lift student engagement and achievement. Listening to what our students want to learn and when in an authentic context, that they own and means something to them, will help transform the way we teach, what we teach, when and how we teach.”

Shane Ngatai, Principal, Rhode Street School Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Relevant qualifications for the future world Dr Karen Poutasi, Chief Executive, New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA)

Dr Karen Poutasi says NZQA is focused on ensuring qualifications and assessments are relevant and flexible in a fast-changing world.


hat is the future of New Zealand education? What part will NZQA play in this future? As the guardian of New Zealand’s qualification system, NZQA is uniquely positioned to help learners gain qualifications that will be meaningful for them both now and in the future. We are acutely aware that this is not just an option – it is a necessity. In fact, we have an official ‘beacon’, or aspirational forward-looking statement, right underneath our logo, which reads ‘Qualify for the future world’. To support learners, we have devoted an entire programme of work to what we call ‘Future State’. Future State is about how we, as an organisation, will respond to the education reality that we now live in a global, digital, connected world. It’s about ensuring that New Zealand qualifications remain credible and relevant in an increasingly borderless, global and connected environment. Today’s young people are growing up with technology. It’s an integral and very natural part of their lives. Teenagers don’t know a world where information isn’t at their fingertips in one way or another. Digital pedagogy is becoming commonplace in the classroom. That means it makes


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sense that current learners, and those in the near future, should also be assessed using digital technology. Already, many schools are using digital processes for internal assessment and submitting assessment to NZQA digitally. By 2020 NZQA will offer a wide range of digital assessment. We are taking small and considered steps towards this goal, running trials and pilots to ensure we get it right. And we are very aware that we need to take everyone within the education system with us. An example of a 2015 pilot was this year’s revamped e-MCAT assessment. The MCAT is a paperbased algebra assessment that Level 1 NCEA students sit each year. Last year, a very small number of students took part in an electronic version of this assessment; however, this year it involved approximately 11,000 students, from 146 schools. We expected there would be some challenges in taking an examination designed for paper and putting it online, and some of the feedback from schools and students reflected those challenges. We are analysing this feedback and will incorporate it into our thinking as we move forward. NCEA students are New Zealand’s future workforce, and schools are preparing them to excel in jobs that

may not yet exist. These skills are not always best assessed in a three-hour, handwritten, paper-based examination at the end of the school year. One of the advantages of a flexible qualification like NCEA is that there is room to assess higher order skills. Today’s office workers sit in front of computers with access to any information that they need, when they need it. Employers are less interested in the ability to remember and recall facts and figures, and more interested in what their staff can interpret, analyse, problem solve, debate and apply critical thinking to. We know technology is infiltrating all aspects of modern life. We also know that with this our world is becoming increasingly borderless. That means more of New Zealand’s students will gain qualifications overseas and more students coming from abroad will need to have their qualifications recognised for employment or immigration purposes. By 2020 NZQA will have qualification recognition arrangements with at least 50 countries. We are also developing a Universal Record of Achievement. That is an accessible, comprehensive and authoritative record of a learner’s qualifications that augments the current Record of Achievement.

It’s about ensuring that New Zealand qualifications remain credible and relevant in an increasingly borderless, global and connected environment.”

Another future focus, which sits outside the online focus, is on improving Māori student achievement. Specifically, NZQA is partnering with other education system agencies to support a 50 per cent lift in Māori student achievement at NCEA Level 3, in one or more STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subject related areas by 2020. This is a challenging and exciting time to be involved in education as we work to ensure we remain responsive and relevant to the demands of the future. We look forward to continuing to work with learners, whānau, teachers, educators, iwi and industry so that all New Zealanders can qualify for the future world.

EducatioN NEws, viEws, tRENds aNd aNalysis If you want to know what your colleagues are thinking or doing in the education sector ...

visit Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


early childhood

Urgent changes needed for early childhood special education Peter Reynolds, Chief Executive, Early Childhood Council

Peter Reynolds says until changes are made to special education services, thousands of our youngest and most vulnerable students will start school unprepared for life and learning.


recent Early Childhood Council survey reveals the disgraceful state of government services for children with special learning needs. The survey of 153 early childhood centres has more than 80 per cent saying children with special learning needs are suffering developmental delay as a result of delayed and inadequate Ministry of Education support services. Fifty-nine per cent of centres say they are waiting more than three months, on average, for governmentprovided assistance with assessment and diagnosis. And almost a quarter are waiting more than six. Fifty-seven per cent of centres rate the quality of Ministry of Education assessment services as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. And more than half say the quality of assessment services has fallen in the past three years, with only three per cent reporting a rise. Ninety per cent of centres say they do not receive Education Support Workers for the amount of time they are needed. And 51 per cent rate the quality of Education Support Workers as either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. Centres tell stories of teachers with no access to assessment services and therefore no idea what’s wrong with children or how to deal with them; of other children punched, kicked and bitten as a consequence; of teacher-


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child ratios distorted because one teacher has to stay one-on-one with an especially difficult child; of parents pulling their children from services because they believe children with special learning needs are disrupting their centre; and of parents of children with special learning needs suffering ‘loss of belonging’ as a result of this. If surrealism is the positioning of objects not normally found together, then the situation is surreal. There is the happy Wellington world with an early childhood curriculum that requires children with special learning needs to be taught within the same strands as all children, and a Human Rights Act that prevents discrimination on the grounds of disability… and there’s the real world in which a government early intervention teacher advises an early childhood centre NOT to enrol a child, because

the centre is unlikely to receive help any time soon. We know that the current government is aware there’s a problem with special education services. We know it has been consulting with parents, schools, the early childhood sector and others, and looking to redesign the system. From the viewpoint of those running early childhood centres, however, bad government support services continue to worsen, and it’s time for talk to turn into action. Centres want: ƒƒ shorter waiting times for assessment and education support workers ƒƒ an increase in education support worker hours ƒƒ more training to ensure these workers do their jobs properly ƒƒ initial teacher education that prepares students to meet the needs of children with special learning needs ƒƒ inexpensive professional development to upskill teachers who find themselves in situations they cannot handle. Until these changes are made, thousands of our youngest and most vulnerable will continue to struggle in early childhood education and will start school unprepared for life and learning.

early childhood

Focus on quality ECE much needed Fiona Hughes, Chief Operations Officer, BestStart Educare

Fiona Hughes says the Ministry’s focus on quality in early childhood education is long overdue, but welcome.


he Government’s ECE focus has till now been on the participation of children who are not attending preschool, but having achieved this goal their future focus will change. There has been much said about the variable quality of early childhood education and, indeed, we have purchased many centres over the years and the quality of curriculum, facilities and resources has left much to be desired. As an organisation, BestStart has had a focus on improving outcomes for children and has invested heavily in improving quality. The Ministry of Education’s current focus on quality is long overdue but clearly welcome. The Government has held the purse strings tightly on funding increases and small centres have struggled to offer good professional development to their teachers. A direct result of ongoing professional development, mentoring and good support improves quality dramatically. Centres should be better equipped with robust systems, self-

review and checks to ensure standards are not only maintained but improved upon. Ministry of Education-funded professional development must be appropriately targeted to gain quality improvements. Many centres cost cut as funding is held static and parents pay less and less for their child’s education and care. Most often, the cost cutting occurs in professional development and resourcing. Without effective tools and resources teachers will do the best they can, but it is unlikely the quality of what is being delivered to our children will be improved. Preschool sets the educational platform for our youngest learners as they prepare to enter the formal stages of their education. We know that children who have had a solid, quality preschool education are best placed to be successful at school, with their relationships, and in their careers. It stands to reason that early childhood education is adequately funded and supported in order to obtain optimum outcomes for all children.

We know that children who have had a solid, quality preschool education are best placed to be successful at school, with their relationships and in their careers.”

Sector soundbites:

'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?' “With my very limited experience of the New Zealand education system, my immediate response to improvements would be to focus on the use of key vocabulary surrounding

this having an impact upon their formal written and verbal expression. Key words appear to be less well learned and used and without these, the subject-specific dialogue is diminished

subjects (particularly science). In my opinion, the manner

in quality.”

in which students express themselves has/is changing,

Dr Cheryl Loughton, Kristin School Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



An opportunity to influence the future of education Louise Green, President of NZEI Te Riu Roa

Louise Green says educators, along with parents, whānau and communities, need to have their say in the review of the Education Act.


ew Zealanders have been given a once-in-ageneration opportunity to have a say in the direction of education, with a review of the Education Act. The legislation that comes out at the other end of this process will have a massive effect on the future shape of public education. The review comes at a time of significant change in the education sector and follows the introduction of the Investing in Educational Success policy in 2014, which is the Government’s flagship education policy. Changes have also taken place with the introduction of the Education Council to replace the Teachers Council. This new body was set up without the voice of the most important people – teachers themselves.  Sadly, the government agenda still promotes standardised learning and data-driven accountability. However, a huge vote of no confidence in Investing in Education Success by primary teachers and principals brought the Ministry of Education back to the table to develop childcentred learning and a recognition


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that evaluation of success needs to be across the curriculum. This is seen through the Joint Initiative work, which promotes schools and early childhood services working together in Communities of Learning. This work emphasises collaboration, a focus on improving learning, and high trust in the professionalism of teachers. While the Joint Initiative is not yet where we would like it to be, we are committed to continuing this work to ensure that the education system is flexible and responsive enough to meet the needs of learners, families and whānau in Aotearoa New Zealand.  The review of the Education Act is an important part of that objective and it is crucial that education not be framed as a set of ‘goals’. We need more than goals for our education system; we need a clear purpose. This purpose must be enduring, inclusive, student-centred, and embrace the breadth of desired student outcomes. It needs to focus on more than narrow, data-driven student evaluation, and build on the vision outlined in the curricula of confident, connected, actively involved and lifelong learners. 

To achieve this, all educators, parents, whānau and communities need to engage with the Education Act review. They also need to be fully involved in their local communities to determine the needs of the learners and how best to meet them. Whenever there are changes proposed to the education system, educators need to be involved in the debate. We can influence change when we get involved and speak out – whether this is about the review of the Education Act, the potential introduction of a code of conduct for teachers by the Education Council, or issues that have an impact at the local level. Furthermore, educators should not just be involved in debates about new issues, but continue to advocate for quality ECE funding, and support the Living Wage and policies that address child poverty. This review provides an opportunity to build a strong national consensus about the future of education. As educators, we all need to participate in that discussion to help ensure that we retain and build on the principles of a high-quality, free, public education system that meets the needs of every child.

We can influence change when we get involved and speak out ...”

Sector soundbites:

'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?' “I have some concern about the new emphasis on converting traditional schools into MLE or, as known now, ILE. We get a large number of tours through our school from schools who want to change to an ILE or a school with flexible spaces. Unfortunately, all too often they visit wishing to find out about the spaces and the furniture, not the pedagogy or the collaboration of teachers. I am regularly surprised that schools haven't considered key elements of visioning, good practice, teacher skill and knowledge, and student needs. These are the foundations of any successful change – not the furniture or the layout!”

Melanie Taylor, Principal, Golden Sands School, Papamoa Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Education needs a purpose Denise Torrey, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF)

Denise Torrey says we need public debate to inform the purpose of education to bring cohesion to policies and initiatives.


ominating my thinking at present is ‘the purpose of education’. What prompts me to think about this topic is examining the myriad reforms, initiatives and system changes that have come our way in the past year and realising that they represent little more than an eclectic scattering of policies and procedures. In most cases they have no relationship whatsoever to each other or to a collectively shared direction or vision. Indeed they have no connection to a purpose for providing education in the first place. That is because there isn’t one. There is no current ‘purpose of education’ to be found anywhere! If we have no shared ‘purpose of education’ then we cannot set a direction for it. In turn, if we do not have a direction, we cannot have a coherent system, strategy or plan. We are flying rudderless. At the time of the industrial revolution, the nation did have a ‘purpose of education’. It was to prepare the people to be work-ready


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for the factories and the fields. This meant standard mass education, including the basics of reading, writing and arithmetic and socialising children for social conformity. Teaching punctuality, obedience, knowing one’s place and respecting authority were critical. The purpose was economic and socially controlling. Leap forward to today and we are immersed in the ‘Information Age’ where children are preparing to be globally connected citizens facing very different issues from earlier generations. They might change jobs several times during their working lives as different careers are created. So what is the ‘purpose of education’ now? We might agree that education is for children to acquire skills, knowledge and values. However, most would argue that today’s students need to be empowered to be lifelong learners and manage their own learning so that they can adapt to the rapidly changing landscape. The skills they might need to do that are more likely to be creativity, problem

solving, communication, being a team player and critical thinking. Teaching these skills requires a personalised, not standardised, approach to learning and teaching. Educational expert Sir Ken Robinson, one of the most influential voices in education in the modern world, sees four basic purposes of education. He lists them as personal, cultural, social and economic. To achieve these purposes, Robinson also recommends a personalised, broad-based curriculum. I believe we need to launch a public debate on this topic. Engaging our communities and allowing their voices to be heard is essential. There will be those who see children as global citizens requiring personalised teaching and those who support the industrial revolution model of standardised practice and standardised assessment because they believe education is purely for economic purposes. The diversity of views deserves a public debate. Not to do so is denying a generation of children the right to a coherent system of education that is best suited to them and their future prospects of success in the world.

... if we do not have a direction, we cannot have a coherent system, strategy or plan. We are flying rudderless.”

Sector soundbites:

'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?' “The Ministry-driven promotion of ‘modern learning environments’ is just another expensive, unnecessary, passing educational bandwagon and fad, and will not make the significant impact required to improve learning outcomes for students. “Rather, future success in any educational endeavour should be built on a solid foundation of highly trained, innovative and inspirational teachers who are passionate about teaching, training and

nurturing students. It is and always has been about great teachers and teaching. “Education policy-makers need to get their heads around how to attract and recruit quality candidates to the teaching profession. Raising the academic entry level for teacher training and selection would be a good place to start.”

Shane Kennedy, Principal, Manukau Christian School

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Wider social challenges affect education Angela Roberts, President of Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA)

Angela Roberts believes the Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy has a good chance of success – as long as it takes into account the wider social challenges.


here’s an apocryphal story about a rather conservative education leader, a regular in the media, who when asked recently at a Select Committee about what would really make a difference for our ‘long tail of underachievement’ replied, “The living wage”. The point here is that education is completely tied up with broader social and economic policy. As Jonathan Boston demonstrated in an important paper in 2013, simply focusing on raising the quality of the education system without also tackling child poverty won’t be enough to address our achievement gap. As long as we have kids coming to school from overcrowded, unhealthy homes where parents are stressed from insecure, poorly paid jobs, and some schools where this is the norm rather than the exception, we’ll be struggling with this challenge. While we have a government that resolutely refuses to set child-poverty reduction targets, or implement the advice on this area that numerous independent experts have given, it’s 20

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... simply focusing on raising the quality of the education system without also tackling child poverty won’t be enough to address our achievement gap.”

highly likely that the sharp inequities of our system will persist. With that very major caveat then, recognising that ‘in school’ factors are only ever going to be part of the picture when it comes to how well students do, there is one policy initiative that I think could make a positive and lasting difference. Investing in Educational Success (IES), the $359 million election year promise to settle the feisty education sector, was that rare combination of good politics and good policy. The slow implementation process has been held up by some as a sign of failure, with no appointments into

the new roles nearly two years after the policy was announced, but I see it differently. Schools were always going to need time to work out what they have in common, to get to know and trust each other after being told to compete for the last 25 years. I know that there are boards of trustees and teachers in schools just a few hundred metres apart that have never had a professional conversation with each other. While IES could still fail, especially if the Ministry enforces a narrow approach to what communities of learning can set as their targets, I’m optimistic that this won’t happen. That’s because this seems to be a new approach to education policy, based on evidence, developed in partnership with the sector, implemented gradually with a builtin evaluation process, and properly resourced for the long term. Now if this became the norm, and was applied to the wider social challenges we face, then we’d see a real difference.

NEws, viEws, aNd iN-dEpth fEatuREs about the New Zealand education sector sector. see Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Genuine consultation is the key Patrick Walsh, Secondary Principals’ Association of New Zealand (SPANZ)

Patrick Walsh says IES, the Education Council and a new school resourcing model all have the potential to build on the high standard of New Zealand’s education system.


efore discussing the future of the New Zealand education system, it is appropriate to pause and celebrate the outstanding contribution of our teaching workforce in 2015. The academic results and standing of New Zealand students still rank highly on international measures, such as PISA. Overall NCEA results have improved year on year; priority learners are enjoying more success, and stand-downs and suspensions continue to decrease. Recent media polls also indicate a high level of confidence by parents in their children’s teachers and the contribution of teachers to extracurricular activities in sports and the arts remains very generous. The establishment of the Government’s Investing In Educational Success policy (IES), at a cost of more than $360 million, has the potential to mitigate the destructive, competitive nature inherent in the 22

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Tomorrow’s Schools regime, allow for the sharing of best practice between schools and ultimately provide a conduit to raise achievement of all learners across the schools with additional resource. Regrettably a ‘good concept’ is being sucked dry by bureaucratic red tape, squabbling by unions and unreasonable delays in implementation. The Government will have a small window early in 2016 to get some runs on the board with IES or it runs the risk of failure by inertia. It was universally agreed that the teaching profession needed an independent professional body to regulate and champion teaching. The legislative mandate of the new Education Council is bold and farreaching. The decision by Minister Parata to appoint all members of the council, usurping a democratic process, has meant, however, that the Council has struggled, and will continue to struggle, for credibility and a mandate from the profession in 2016. School resourcing, and in particular the decile system, have dominated debate in the media, PTA and board meetings. It is accepted that the current model is cumbersome, inefficient and inequitable. Principals

take no joy in spending precious time away from leading teaching and learning, asking for donations and completing applications to Pub Charities and Trusts, or chasing international students. Schools also understand the frustrations of parents asked to pay for the take-home element of their child’s work and to contribute to school camps. Minister Parata’s review of school resourcing puts her in a difficult position. Invariably, with a limited resource there will winners and losers. The Minister would be wise to engage in an extensive and genuine consultation with the sector so that at least there will be buy-in and ownership on whatever model is developed. To its credit, the Ministry of Education, under Peter Hughes’ leadership, has been more responsive to the needs of the sector and its consultation has been genuine and transparent. There are many hardworking staff who have a passion for education. 2016 promises to be an exciting year for policy in education, fraught with opportunity and risk. What will be constant, however, is the professionalism, hard work and goodwill of teachers and principals.

Principals take no joy in spending precious time away from leading teaching and learning, asking for donations and completing applications to Pub Charities and Trusts, or chasing international students.”

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Tomorrow’s universities Chris Whelan, Executive Director, Universities NZ

Chris Whelan says while demand for university education continues to grow, there is increasing pressure to deliver new models of teaching and learning.


round 2012 it was predicted that MOOCs would be the death knell of universities. In the midnineties we heard that the internet would be the death knell of universities. In the 1970s it was television. And in the 1940s it was radio. In the 19th century it was the appearance of mail-order courses. To date none of these predictions have been borne out. Maybe there really is some change coming that will kill the university as we know it, but my view is that the predictions are based on a faulty understanding of what a university does. If the only role of a university was to fill young minds with information then yes, the internet, TV, radio or mailorder encyclopaedias would supplant them. In reality, a university provides a place where capabilities such as critical thinking, communication skills and teamwork are developed in a flexible, supportive and generally enjoyable learning environment. Imagine producing an engineer or scientist without giving them time in


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the workshop or laboratory or without structured workplace experience. The Productivity Commission has recently announced that it will carry out an inquiry into new business and delivery models for tertiary education. The review comes at the request of the Ministers of Tertiary Education and Finance. The wide-ranging terms of reference will assess how key trends, especially in technology, costs, skill demand, internationalisation, and demography will drive changes. As well as exploring other ways of working, it will look at how to increase access and achievement especially by Māori, Pasifika and at-risk youth. The challenge for the inquiry, as it examines the opportunities and uncertainties ahead, will be to predict the trends from the fads, and ideology from workable, innovative approaches. We currently have a world-class university system. All eight of our universities are ranked in the top 500 in the world. Ninety-eight per cent of our graduates are in employment two years after graduating and most are

working in degree-relevant jobs. The current system isn’t broken. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t do better. Demand for university education continues to grow. Twenty-eight per cent of the population is now university educated and that proportion is rising. Thirty-eight per cent of young people are starting university within five years of leaving school. Twenty years ago, a degree was a way of differentiating yourself to an employer, now employers just expect to be able to choose from a pool of graduates. The focus now is on producing graduates that will stand out to employers. All universities are now delivering degree programmes that aim to develop the full range of soft-skills and applied technical capabilities demanded by employers. This is done in a structured multiyear programme of classroom teaching, internships and handson skill development that just doesn’t work as well in an online environment.

The current system isn’t broken. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t do better.”

Simultaneously, universities are encouraging, supporting and integrating co-curricular experience and skill development into the degree programmes. Business students are encouraged and supported to learn foreign languages and experience a semester abroad as part of their business studies. Students are expected to do internships and to apply their skills and competencies in a structured, supported, series of work experiences. Technology can assist a lot of this, but it can’t replace it. Universities are adopting and adapting the online learning tools and using them for delivering teaching to on-campus students. By delivering lectures online and supporting them with instant quizzes and problem solving, this is improving student understanding and retention of knowledge, while freeing up precious lecture time for problem solving and hands-on learning. The main constraint to technology adoption is now funding. University funding has declined significantly in real terms over the past decade and

this has reduced the ability for them to invest in trialling new business models or technologies. Despite everything I’ve said to this point, an ageing population and rapidly changing technology is likely to see many more people needing to reskill or upskill mid-career. The majority of these people will have job

and family commitments that will mean they have to study where they live and often study while they work. That, more than anything, is likely to drive pressure towards new models of delivering teaching and learning. To me, that’s probably the best place to start thinking about what tomorrow’s university must look like.

Sector soundbites: 'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?'

“Relationships. What if secondary school teachers, in particular, saw themselves as leaders of learners first, and content experts second? What if we realised that the power of technology, in addition to improving access to information, lies in allowing teachers and students to learn alongside one another? What would happen in New Zealand schools if we truly put relationships first, because learning does not happen in isolation? Agency, transformation, whanaungatanga.”

Philippa Nicoll Antipas, Postgraduate Programme Director (Wellington), The Mind Lab by Unitec Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Making a real difference for underserved tertiary learners Peter Coolbear, Director, Ako Aotearoa

Peter Coolbear believes more targeted investment and incentivisation is needed to bring meaningful change to New Zealand’s tertiary education sector.


n early November Ako Aotearoa had the great privilege of cohosting our first Pacific Tertiary Education Fono with the Association of Pasifika Staff in Tertiary Education (APSTE). Held in The University of Auckland’s wonderful fale and with generous support from the Tertiary Education Commission, this two-day event provided the first major opportunity for Pasifika tertiary educators across the sector to collectively engage at strategic level with a wide range of government officials about how to reduce the achievement gap for Pasifika learners and, by implication, other priority learners. So what were the take-home messages for me? The first was a timely reminder that we are often careless in the way we unpack the problems here. We tend to focus on the educational needs of priority learners and identify the issues in terms of ethnicity (especially Pasifika or Māori) and/ or the needs of underprepared young learners. We need to be realistic. Many, and possibly most, underlying barriers to educational success are fundamentally socio-economic ones. Whatever their ethnicity, students from lower decile schools are, 26

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in general, much less academically prepared than their counterparts from high decile schools. Results of research into the correlation between school decile and the percentage of students gaining University Entrance reflect this starkly. Despite exemplary work in some schools, New Zealand’s compulsory system does not rectify all the problems of socio-economic disadvantage. Nor can tertiary education providers be expected to be the universal remedy for the barriers to educational success that poverty brings. This doesn’t mean to say that both parts of the system couldn’t do better. And this is the second take-home message. We have a moral purpose to provide the best possible opportunity for success for all learners who enrol with us.

The sad fact is that our ability as a sector to serve first-in-family learners hasn’t improved that much over 40 years.”

The sad fact is that our ability as a sector to serve first-in-family learners hasn’t improved that much over 40 years. Qualification achievement rates for Pasifika in SAC funded courses are still 16 per cent below the overall average. In industry training the gap is 10 per cent. While acknowledging some fantastic exceptions across the system, we are still rediscovering the same issues and identifying the same barriers to learner success: our provision, in general, remains far less culturally inclusive than it should be and we are far less student-centric than we ought to be. So how do we break this cycle? I believe that the Tertiary Education Commission’s new outcomesfocused investment initiatives provide an opportunity. Clearly the recent approach of just putting parity of achievement targets in tertiary investment plans hasn’t worked: we need more specifically targeted investment and more sophisticated incentives and instruments to make that investment work. The Ministry of Education published data in 2013 identifying the median cost to the individual of not completing the qualification they had enrolled in. The simplest economic modelling from that data

suggests that the cost to the country of each non-completion is well north of $100,000. If each tertiary education organisation were incentivised by a premium of $5,000 for every student whose previous schooling was at deciles 1–3, who then successfully completed their first year of tertiary study at Level 4 or above, we might have the incentivisation for providers and the wherewithal to take holistic care of these students and support their success. (By this I am talking about extending pastoral care and support well beyond the classroom and linking into the communities we serve). With a potential return on investment of more than 20:1, surely this is a very attractive offer for New Zealand Inc.

EducatioN NEws, viEws, tRENds aNd aNalysis If you want to know what your colleagues are thinking and doing, join Education Review’s FREE email newsfeed. Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Unwavering commitment to our students Dr Jim Mather, Chief executive, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa

Dr Jim Mather says that in spite of its growth, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa remains true to its initial intent: to provide quality, targeted tertiary education to its students.


he driving force behind Te Wānanga o Aotearoa taking in and guiding teenagers discarded by the mainstream education system was simple. The fledgling organisation wanted to make a difference to those young people by reconnecting them with their Māori culture whilst helping them to realise how education could provide better outcomes and transform their lives. Thirty years after Te Wānanga o Aotearoa was established on old swampland on the fringes of Te Awamutu in 1985, our organisational values have not changed, and neither has our commitment to our students. We’ve woven our unique korowai of education around them that embraces our Māori language, culture and aroha. 28

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Te Wānanga o Aotearoa has provided education to thousands of students in many communities in a welcoming and inclusive learning environment that has helped our organisation grow from humble beginnings. We have developed from a provider of opportunities for a handful of Māori students from Te Awamutu College to a national organisation delivering quality, targeted programmes to 32,000 students every year throughout Aotearoa. This growth has seen us expand from a single delivery site to running 93 courses at 120 independent, fully resourced sites in 80 locations across New Zealand. Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is now New Zealand’s second largest tertiary institution (based on equivalent full-time students), with more than 250,000 students having completed some form of study with our organisation. From our perspective, the most significant impact each tertiary education provider can make is to deliver tangible and credible skills and qualifications for our students in a rapidly changing environment. This approach will require us to all recognise that we are part of an interconnected tertiary system with significant contributions to make. The absolute focus of Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is to become an even stronger student-centric organisation,

all of which is encapsulated in the statement ‘Inspiring Success’. Amongst other things, this means that we will strengthen support to our students by investing heavily in developing leaders within our organisation who have a common understanding of our expectations, purpose and strategic focus. An integral part of our recent organisational transformation programme was the creation of a new division called ‘Ratonga’, whose sole purpose is delivery of excellent student support combining many functions that had previously been on the periphery of other divisions. We are enhancing our responses to the needs of our students by streamlining the service we provide for them, from enrolment through to the way we deliver our courses. We are making the pathway for student progression in our organisation more transparent. These changes will also see increased delivery in our degree and masters level programmes. By 2020 we will have developed partnerships with other tertiary organisations to further diversify our programme choices for our students. We also hold aspirations to launch our first doctoral programme whilst continuing to deliver our unique brand of education that is based on taking education to our communities and being relentlessly committed to ‘inspiring success’.

… we are part of an interconnected tertiary system with significant contributions to make.”

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A system where every learner finds their future Josh Williams, Chief Executive, Industry Training Federation

Josh Williams says the workplace is a powerful setting for delivering and developing the relevant skills, knowledge and capabilities that people need.


ifelong learning’ is a phrase that comes in and out of fashion but is a concept that underpins many elements of our system: a qualifications framework with a common currency of credits and a lifelong record of achievement; a school-leaver qualification that supports multiple pathways, credit transfer with industry qualifications, and can be completed in multiple settings; and an industry training system in which industry itself plays the central role to determine and develop the skills of the existing and future workforce. As Fred Dagg once told us, we don’t know how lucky we are. But ‘lifelong learning’ means more than ‘all ages’. In vocational education, it is increasingly about anywhere, anytime. People learn in workplaces, classrooms, homes, and via their smartphones. Mohammed can go 30

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to the mountain, but if the system is structured and organised well, the mountain can just as easily get to Mohammed. The best vocational education and training (VET) systems around the globe are characterised by strong integration between the world of education and the world of work. That’s what VET is; that’s what VET does. We have a diverse workforce needing the skills and capabilities for a dynamic and increasingly sophisticated labour market. We’ve known for a while that workplaces are powerful (and costeffective) settings for delivering and developing the skills, knowledge, and capabilities that help people gain and keep jobs (including jobs that have yet to be invented), and ultimately a successful career – or 10 careers, if the urban legend is to be believed. Work-based learning experiences are also supremely valuable to senior secondary school students, each of

whom needs to know what the world of work is like, gain some authentic experiences, and match their strengths and aspirations to ways of making a living. Workplaces are also where we will make inroads into the substantial challenge of adult literacy. Most of the million or so adult New Zealanders who need help in that space are not enrolled in our learning institutions but are going to work every day, struggling and not reaching their potential. We need serious, national, joined-up effort at both the top and bottom of that particular cliff. In my experience, it’s at the interfaces – where the system is sliced – where we can improve. Examples? Students who get jobs (and industry training agreements) partway through their programmes shouldn’t count against providers’ performance indicators. Apprentices who lose their jobs should be able to pick up where they left off in provider settings. The tertiary sector’s increasingly substantial contribution to NCEA completions should be acknowledged somewhere. And

Sector soundbites: 'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?'

"An understanding of the new learning paradigm – that every student, with expert teaching/ mentoring/coaching, significant purposeful practice and opportunities to ‘perform’ (see Bounce by Matthew Syed) – can developing a remarkable set of skills and knowledge. While schools continue in the myth that abilities are fixed – and/or blame external factors for student performance – interventions are a waste of time and money."

Alwyn Poole, Villa Education Trust

young people over the school leaving age should be able to dual enrol in pathway programmes that involve schools, ITOs and tertiary providers. So the education system of the future is one that supports every learner to find their own future. We have most of the ingredients, and hopefully the mindset, to bring it together.

In my experience, it’s at the interfaces – where the system is sliced – where we can improve.”

“Measures of success for a school will lean more towards the strength of the connections and involvement of the community it serves. Strategic schools will use opportunities like BYOD policies and sports coaching to make healthy connections beyond their own controlled environment of staff and students.”

Andrew Nyhoff, Kristin School Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


Special Interest

Turning rhetoric into reality Dr Louise Tapper (Chair) and Associate Professor Tracy Riley (Past Chair) giftEDnz: The Professional Association for Gifted Education

Dr Louise Tapper and Tracy Riley believe that gifted and talented education professional learning, support and development at both pre-service and in-service levels needs to be increased.


ith abilities and qualities across every learning area, culture, gender identity and socio-economic group, what does the future hold for gifted and talented students in Aotearoa New Zealand? The Ministry’s vision for all learners is that New Zealanders “aspire for themselves and their children to achieve more; have the choice and opportunity to be the best they can be” (Ministry of Education, 2015, p. 8) and that this is scaffolded through a system that meets “the diverse needs of every child and student from birth to adulthood in different communities” (p. 17). According to our Ministry’s vision, all children will have their potential recognised and supported. Taking a positive approach, it is reasonable to assume that this includes our gifted students and thus their future looks bright within our education system. Recent research demonstrates growth in gifted education policies, 32

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identification and provisions, and this is positive on its own merit. Yet when assessed against the markers of inclusion – presence, participation and achievement – gifted and talented education is left wanting. This is not a reflection of a lack of commitment by professionals working in the field but rather reflects a larger exclusionary set of practices at work. The elephant in the room is that despite its rhetoric, our Government’s vision of a fully inclusive education system completely forgot one group of students with special educational needs – gifted and talented students. It seems that inclusive education increasingly means including students with special educational needs, as long as those ‘special’ needs are aligned to some kind of disability. Of course, it could be argued that all students have special educational needs at some time or another in their educational experiences. It is certainly vital that all students are included to the extent that they are provided with appropriate

educational opportunities and support. And it is also realistic to recognise that some of our students, such as those with disabilities, are ‘priority learners’. But government and policy-makers need to remember that gifted and talented learners are priority learners too. The language of inclusion around providing for all learners is present and appropriate, but in actuality this very diverse group of learners with special educational needs is too often missing in action within the inclusion framework. To include our gifted learners, the challenge for the Ministry of Education in the future will be to enable effective teaching approaches, inclusive of those appropriate for gifted, so as to “create a supportive learning environment that is effective for all students” (Ministry of Education, 2012, p. 1). It is equally important that the Ministry of Education be held accountable for claims that “ … inclusive practice may also require a more specialised response” (Ministry of Education, 2012, p. 1). This is where gifted

Dr Louise Tapper and talented education professional learning, support and development at both pre-service and in-service levels needs to be increased in order to build a stronger cohort of teachers with specialist knowledge, who can then work alongside others to embed gifted education pedagogy in whole-school approaches. The future of education for our gifted and talented students is reliant on the rhetoric of aspiration and inclusion for all learners being about more than just words, but a rhetoric that becomes the reality for these students in our schools and centres.

The elephant in the room is that despite its rhetoric, our Government’s vision of a fully inclusive education system completely forgot one group of students with special educational needs – gifted and talented students.”

Tracy Riley


giftEDnz. (2015). Inclusive Education. giftEDnewz, Issue 1. Retrieved from Ministry of Education. (2012). The New Zealand Curriculum update. Retrieved from NZC-Updates/Issue-18-March-2012 Ministry of Education. (2015). The Ministry of Education’s Four Year Plan 2015–2019. Retrieved from Ministry/Publications/MOE-Four-Year-Plan-2015-2019.pdf.

ExploRE ouR thEMEd issuEs ... NZ tEachER

News, case studies, teaching practices, and expert opinion to the education sector. out 3 March 2016 Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


Special Interest

International education key to prosperity Grant McPherson, Chief Executive, Education New Zealand

Grant McPherson believes international education will have as much impact on the future of education as technology.


generation ago New Zealand was a country that made its way internationally on the back of meat, dairy and wool exports. Today, international education is New Zealand’s fifth largest export. Each year thousands of international students are learning in New Zealand, and learning about New Zealand. In addition to enrolling more students, exchanges, joint programmes, scholarships, professional training courses and school-to-school partnerships are connecting our educators and students with the world more than ever before. Take Vietnam, for example. This year New Zealand has celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations with the ASEAN region. There has also been 34

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much to celebrate in education during this commemorative year. In November, the Prime Minister, Rt Hon John Key, the Minister of Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment, Hon Steven Joyce, myself and representatives from Academic Colleges Group, Auckland University of Technology, Massey University, Victoria University of Wellington and the University of Waikato travelled to Vietnam to strengthen our education ties with the region. During the visit a strategic engagement plan was signed by Minister Joyce, the Vietnamese Minister of Education and Training, Pham Vu Luan, and witnessed by both the New Zealand and Vietnamese Prime Minister. The plan will see increased student mobility and institutional partnerships in areas including English language training, human resource development and postgraduate and doctoral collaboration of benefit to Vietnam and New Zealand alike. Three months earlier, 20 Vietnamese and Kiwi students had worked together to design a collaborative fashion collection on the theme of ‘Fusion’. A new generation of bright, young creative students from Otago Polytechnic, Massey University,

Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design, AUT University, Ho Chi Minh City School of Architecture and Ha Noi University of Industrial Arts explored how they view the connections between our two cultures through fashion. International education is providing opportunities for us to connect in a way that’s well beyond what is achieved from trading our traditional export products of milk, meat, wool and fruit. It is also helping more Kiwi students to study in Asia. Since 2013, 465 New Zealand students have been awarded scholarships through the prestigious Prime Minister’s Scholarships for Asia programme. By creating opportunities for students from the likes of Hawke’s Bay to study alongside their peers from Ho Chi Minh City and Harbin, we are giving them the chance to learn a huge amount about other cultures, form bonds that will last a lifetime, and develop knowledge that could be applied to our growing education, research and trade links with the world. Education is changing but it is more than iPads replacing pencils. Classrooms, lecture theatres, labs and offices are now microcosms of the world, and this educational

International education is providing opportunities for us to connect in a way that’s well beyond what is achieved from trading our traditional export products of milk, meat, wool and fruit.”

environment is preparing us to keep taking on our globally connected world. People talk about technology breaking down the barriers of distance and making connecting easier – which is true – but I would argue that international education is having an equally important impact on creating more lasting linkages for our future prosperity.

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Connecting the dots between secondary, tertiary and the workplace Stuart Middleton, Director, External Relations at Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT)

Stuart Middleton says we need to continue to promote opportunities for students to transition seamlessly from secondary schooling to tertiary education with a focus on their vocational and academic goals.


he issues of 2015 in education will surely become the basis for action in 2016. And while some say that change must happen and others argue that change must not happen, the fact is that change has already happened. The maturing of the Youth Guarantee suite of initiatives has seem momentum develop in the offering of multiple pathways for students to achieve success and clearly increased positive educational outcomes in new and different ways. The scale of what is happening and public opinion will win the day against the forces of conservatism that continue to justify the status quo. The evidence is becoming very clear. Students entering Trades Academy programmes are showing levels of success that enable them to move forward and up to opportunities that open up a future which will include fulfillment of 36

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the promise they show and lead to rewards that most seek through education. The MIT Tertiary High School that recruits year 10 students facing a wall (sometimes but certainly not always of their own making) continues to achieve high levels of achievement not only in NCEA but also in career and technical qualifications. In a nutshell, students in such programmes are discovering a purpose through their exposure to applied learning and the development of a line of sight to future employment and the rewards that come with it. No longer the tricky business of education for no obvious reason. The lack of purpose felt by so many students in the school system is a major issue. Youth Guarantee fees-free places offer a different pathway for students aged 16–18 years as they continue their education in an Institute of Technology and Polytechnic setting. The recently announced lowering

of the entry age for the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training initiative to 16 years offers another pathway to a brighter future. The resistance of the schooling system to overtly link secondary education to employment is an issue. This highlights another issue – students should not be staying in schools when they are not continuing to lift their achievement. If school isn’t working for them by year 10 or 11 they are better to be elsewhere and on other pathways. New opportunities are opening up for students to study at Level 3/ year 13, which will see students at school for three days each week and for two days at an ITP. These students complete this transitional year with both NCEA Level 3 and the first semester of a Level 4 diploma in subjects such as engineering, building and construction and hospitality. The key issues cluster around the extent to which the school system and its interface with tertiary together

… students should not be staying in schools when they are not continuing to lift their achievement. If school isn’t working for them by year 10 or 11 they are better to be elsewhere and on other pathways.”

work to provide ‘managed transitions’; ‘pathways’ that demonstrate ‘seamlessness’ – each of which poses a challenge to the school system for students, other than those heading to a university or a degree programme. What all these options offer students is the chance to be both a secondary and a tertiary student and to move seamlessly from schooling to tertiary to employment. The walled villages that we call sectors have been breached. That was the issue of 2015 and will continue to be the issue of 2016.

Sector soundbites: 'What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?'

“The automation of jobs. Our education system currently prepares students to do jobs that won't exist when they leave school.”

Nathan Calvert, Year 1 Teacher, Kristin School

Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Looking back for future growth John Morris, Morris Consulting

John Morris says we shouldn’t ignore what has worked well in the past, or the existing research evidence, when it comes to reforming our education system.


ohn MacBeath in his paper, “Future of the Teaching Profession” (2012) noted that “those who write and speculate about preparing children for life in the 21st century … have to be acutely aware that looking forward also means looking back”. While we should never close our minds to innovation, we also need to be aware of what is great about our current system. A good future education system should be a sensible mixture of both traditional and progressive ideas: the technology and creativity of the 21st century and the best of traditional methods that we know work well. The future will see many exciting innovations and ideas but we must be certain that these initiatives are better than what we have at present. This means that policymakers need to be highly skilled and knowledgeable about what works in schools. They must research any potential innovations thoroughly, trial and evaluate them and, if proven worthwhile, plan and action the implementation rigorously. It is also vital that policy-makers do not ignore the vast amount of


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research evidence already existing that tells us what makes a successful school, namely: ƒƒ strong educational leadership ƒƒ inspiring and effective teachers ƒƒ emphasis on students acquiring basic skills and solid subject knowledge ƒƒ an orderly and secure environment ƒƒ high expectations of student achievement ƒƒ frequent assessment and regular feedback of student progress. Whatever changes are introduced in the future to education, it is essential that these six characteristics remain at the heart of any reform process, and that any innovations are supported by valid scientific evidence. Recent ‘best practice’ innovations such as personalised learning, different learning styles, thinking skills, flipped classrooms, multiple intelligences, learning to learn, thinking hats, modern learning environments, and 21st century skills lack such a scientific evidence base. Cognitive scientist Daniel Willingham has been strongly critical of the pseudo-scientific justifications used to

promote many of these fads. Too often as a profession we are guilty of succumbing to the passionate hype of advocates like Sir Ken Robinson – who has never been a classroom teacher – telling the profession how students should be taught. Theoretical knowledge can never replace the real experience of teaching students. My ideal would be for our future education system to produce people who are confident, creative, knowledgeable problem-solvers who have had the benefit of an education that has engaged and inspired them and prepared them well for the 21st century. This requires a curriculum that is knowledge-based; of course, a curriculum must incorporate skills but our current curriculum is unbalanced and ‘knowledge-free’. Such a situation does nothing to improve the current achievement gap that exists in New Zealand, and which contributes to the economic and social disparities that blight our society. Our future education system will also require, most importantly, a teaching workforce of exceptional quality, which means attracting the

top tier of graduates to the profession. This is vital as New Zealand will only get a sufficient number of quality principals if we have a predominance of quality teachers. Attracting the best and brightest into teaching remains a current and future challenge for New Zealand and one that must be met and won by innovative government policies that raise the status of the profession and make teaching an attractive proposition for our most capable young men and women. The performance of a school system essentially rests on the quality of its teachers. It is the teacher that makes the difference.

Attracting the best and brightest into teaching remains a current and future challenge for New Zealand and one that must be met and won by innovative government policies that raise the status of the profession…”

to contribute stories or opinion pieces contact Jude Barback

for media and advertising contact Belle Hanrahan Education Review series    E-Edition 2015



Navigating the space between educational paradigms

Claire Amos, Hobsonville Point Secondary School

Claire Amos believes the challenge lies in disentangling education from its traditional focus on assessment and results and daring to experiment with innovative teaching and learning practices.


ne of the toughest things about being a champion for educational change is that you need to take people with you. In fact sometimes it is even tough to take yourself along for the ride. Many times I have written and spoken about the need for educational change. I know I am not a lone voice; in fact, I get the sense that there is a veritable tsunami building up behind what initially felt like ripples and then waves of educators talking about this very issue. Sir Ken Robinson popularised the notion that schools need to change with his TED talks ‘How Schools are Killing Creativity’ and ‘Changing Educational Paradigms’. This was echoed and reinforced by the work of Sugata Mitra with his ‘Hole in the wall’ project and his TED talk ‘Build a School in the Cloud’ and I know we all cheered for Logan LaPlante, for whom Hackschooling made happy. Locally we have a growing number of educational leaders calling for change, with NZCER writing an excellent report ‘Supporting future-oriented learning and teaching – a New Zealand perspective’ and just this year we saw the official launch of Dr Jane Gilbert’s AUT Edge Work – Educational Futures Network. I am also proud to be part of the team at Hobsonville Point Secondary School who are developing different approaches to secondary schooling that can better meet the needs of our learners in the 21st century. 40

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I don’t actually think the challenge is understanding why we need to change education, or even what we need to do in order to change it. For me, the central challenge is that we appear to be a bit stuck in the space between – the space between education’s past and education’s future. I suspect this period will be looked back on as that uncomfortably pimply pubescent period where we transitioned, painfully and unnecessarily slowly, from an industrial age education system to a more agile knowledge age model. But at present, we are neither there nor here. Actually, who am I kidding? Plenty of people are still back there. And happily so. Some of us have hurled ourselves into the unknown whilst many others have stuck with comfortable old ‘there’ and are simply dangling pedagogical toes over the precipice whilst really clinging to the industrial mainland. All around us are examples of businesses and industries that have made the transition – think about how you used to book travel, book a taxi, how you used to do your banking or share written communication. There are so many examples of change, because industries have to change; if they don’t, they simply lose customers – in business, it’s evolve or die. However, compulsory schooling doesn’t seem to work that way. For many, there is what is perceived as an intellectual argument for change that might make them feel a little

I suspect this period will be looked back on as that uncomfortably pimply pubescent period where we transitioned, painfully and unnecessarily slowly, from an industrial age education system to a more agile knowledge age model.”

uneasy maintaining the status quo. However, as long as we have a system where schools can be positively antiquated yet publicly lauded as educational successes for hothousing students, focusing on little more than assessment and ‘results, results, results’, then we are unlikely to see any sizeable change in the near future. In recent months we have seen a number of “top schools” quoted in the media, criticising innovative learning spaces as “barns” and new approaches to learning as making our learners “guinea pigs”. Add to this that, for many, which school they attend is not their choice, and even

if it was, there is so little choice that you are probably limited to choosing between co-ed, single sex and/or maybe religious character or not. Then there is the issue that criteria for a “top school” is so outdated that it seems based on little more than size, decile and league tables combined. In fact, the more antiquated the school the more highly it seems to be regarded. Be a pioneer and make change anyway and you run the risk of being seen as risking student success and making a generation of students ‘guinea pigs’. Reimagine spaces and you are accused of putting students in ‘barns’ – even if it is an improvement on the cages they came from. Regardless of the fact that we are all failing our young people in numerous other ways with our national focus on academic results and little else, I actually believe we can move forward and deliver a better educational model AND have our students succeed at qualifications

such as NCEA. I just think it’s a shame that there is little enticing others to risk making change when the only thing that seems to matter to many are results that quite possibly have little, if any, relevance as an indicator for long-term success in the 21st century. Add to this the issue that if we do change schooling we must have the confidence of our students and community and often for parents, their only reference point is their own education. Even if they actually didn’t succeed in that system or even enjoy it, they are hugely nervous if we depart from a traditional school model and emulate what the school down the road is doing. So, as well as working hard to change and improve educational models, we have the additional job of translating and public relations, ‘selling’ one paradigm to those that came from another. This translation needs to occur for the educator as well. I know I have often faltered, knowing full well that

we must make the change but at times being terrified at the thought of heading off into such a new terrain without a map or guide book. That said, moral purpose can make for an excellent compass if you let it. Entering a new paradigm also requires extra resourcing. At Hobsonville Point Secondary School we are attempting all kinds of creative solutions to try and make futurefocused learning happen on a budget and resourcing model that is well and truly based on an industrial age equation of one teacher to 25–30 students teaching students in eight discrete learning areas. I would argue that if our government really wanted innovation they would reward those who are doing it with a different resourcing formula that allowed for greater planning and professional learning to reflect that we are no longer simply serving up tweaked iterations of what we have been serving up in schools for the last 25, 50 or 100 years. Change takes time; effective change takes a whole lot of learning and planning. Personally, if I were ‘Joe (or Joanne) Bloggs’ I would be far less concerned that schools like Hobsonville Point Secondary School are ‘experimenting’ with new approaches and be far more concerned that many schools are not experimenting at all – in fact, they are being celebrated for engaging in damaging, high stress approaches to preparing students for little more than assessment success. That scares the hell out of me. So what is the answer? I suspect we have to ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’. I mean, humankind didn’t create cars, learn to fly aeroplanes or travel to the moon by being safe and happily living in the past. I just hope we can find a way to have more educators, if not all educators, leave the past behind us as well and for communities to demand the change rather than fear it. Education Review series    E-Edition 2015


Profile for NZME. Educational Media

Education Review E-Edition 2015  

What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?

Education Review E-Edition 2015  

What will have a significant impact on the future of New Zealand education?