EDUCATION REVIEW Vol 8. Issue 1 2017 $10.95
Entering an election year
What do we want New Zealand education to look like?
New Zealandâ€™s most tech-savvy teacher town
The Maker Movement
Opening the door on seclusion rooms
Create... Share... Win!
Coding in the classroom Swift Playgrounds is a new app for iPad that makes getting started with code interactive and fun (for both the teacher and the student!). Swift Playgrounds is available free from the app store. Itâ€™s an excellent introduction to a real programming language that is used to power the worlds most exciting software and apps. We are wanting to encourage teachers to explore Swift Playgrounds and the more advanced Xcode and share your journey with other teachers via our website. There are lesson plans and guides on how to get started available, simply visit www.cyclone.co.nz to get these resources.
Create - a unit of work with your students. Share - enter your planning and show resulting student outcomes. Win - a share of $10,000 Teachers of Year 4-8:
1st $3000 2nd $1500 3rd $500
Teachers of Year 9-13:
1st $3000 2nd $1500 3rd $500
All entries due 31 August 2017 T&C, resources and potential workshops to help are available at www.cyclone.co.nz/codingclassrooms www.cyclone.co.nz
0800 686 686
Go to educationreview.co.nz
New year, new opportunities As we begin the year with a new Prime Minister, a revised Cabinet, and an upcoming General Election, it is clear that 2017 will be politically significant for New Zealand. The education portfolio is among those facing major changes, with Nikki Kaye tipped to take the reins as Education Minister as current Minister Hekia Parata bows out from politics this year. What would a change of government bring to New Zealand education? We asked political and sector leaders for their thoughts. Many things emerged from their answers: calls for broadening the curriculum; arguments for abolishing charter schools – and for keeping them; calls to increase teacher professional development, and for increasing resourcing for early childhood services. It’s an interesting read. Labour’s Chris Hipkins says “the whole system is creaking under the strain of under-funding” and promises to ensure “schools, early childhood education services and tertiary providers get the funding they need to deliver the quality education all New Zealanders deserve”. This includes funding schools so that parental donations aren’t required and introducing three years of fee-free post-school education. This is a pretty big call, and will be difficult for Labour to make good on. While I care deeply about quality state education, as a New Zealander who leads a full and varied life, I feel nervous about which areas of the Budget will have to suffer to make a funding increase a reality. But I applaud the gutsy pledge, and agree that funding levels are the key issue when it comes to New Zealand education. Time will tell how things play out. For the moment, politics must take a back seat as teachers brush the sand from their shoes, take deep breaths and get ready for another action-packed school year. For them, the key areas of focus now are lesson plans, classroom set-ups and getting to know new classes of kids. For students and their families these are stationery lists, uniforms, lunch boxes and school bags. Policies and politics will continue to influence and interest educators but for now, a new school year is upon us. New year, new Education Review ! We are delighted to refresh our brand and focus for 2017. Each issue will home in on the topics that are front and centre for the sector, helping to bring more topical and relevant content to our readers. Editor, Jude Barback
Education Review’s print edition is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to in-depth coverage of education in New Zealand. Go to educationreview.co.nz for web-exclusive content, including thought-provoking opinion articles from sector leaders.
Election year special: What do we want New Zealand education to look like?
Opening the door on seclusion rooms
The Maker Movement: a portal of possibility
New Zealand’s first charter school – three years on
Take caution over COOLs, warns US expert
Pause, Breathe, Smile: training teachers to bring mindfulness into the classroom
Nine (other) things that would make ECE better
Ruapehu’s technology hub – just one part of the puzzle
An innovative spin: schools as ‘hubs of innovation”
Are league tables a fair way to compare school effectiveness?
Could this be New Zealand’s most tech-savvy teacher town?
Signalling an end to reader/writers
Top 7 edu-tech trends for 2017
Jude Barback 07 542 3013 email@example.com
Fiona Reid 04 915 9795 firstname.lastname@example.org
production Aaron Morey
CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Kimberly Baars, John Boereboom, Tim Gander, Mei Lin Low, Grant Rix, Carolyn Stuart
Gunvor Carlson 04 915 9780 email@example.com
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
EDUCATION REVIEW Vol 8. Issue 1
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NZ TEACHER 1
Election year special: What do we want New Zealand education to look like?
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With a General Election looming, Education Review asked political and sector leaders for their respective thoughts on the direction that New Zealand education should be taking.
Hon Hekia Parata Minister of Education
All the Government’s education policies share a common theme – lifting the educational achievement of all children and young people. In my last year as Education Minister I want to continue on this important journey and leave in place a reconfigured 21st-century education system fit for future generations. Since becoming Education Minister in 2011 I have made sure the needs of all students are at the centre of everything we do. They’re the reason behind all that we have done and will continue to do in 2017. Te Whāriki for early childhood education will be updated, new modern schools and classrooms will be opened for learning and the old legislation that governs the sector will get its most meaningful change in 30 years. We will continue to support the growth of Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako which are a new and collaborative way of working to support every child along their learning pathway. The Education Funding System Review explores how the spending of more than $11 billion on education each year can be improved. It is vital that the right resources get to the right child at the right time. We aim to achieve better lines of sight over what is being spent and where. I want to find a better way than the decile system to support those who need it the most. I also want to improve the way that students and their families get access to Learning Support (special education). We know that the quality of the teaching has the biggest in-school influence on student success. So we will continue to support the Education Council, invest in professional learning and development and host the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards to celebrate the best in our education system. So there is a lot planned, a lot to do and all of it to give our kids the best possible education. Now that’s a job well worth doing!
Every child deserves a quality education that allows them not only to achieve their full potential but also to discover potential they didn’t even know that they had. That means we need an education system that embraces diversity, recognises that every child is different, and acknowledges that success means different things to different people. We have a world-class education system staffed with passionate and committed teachers and support staff, but it is increasingly being smothered by a low-trust, audit-focused accountability system that presumes the only measures of progress that matter are those that can be neatly plotted on a standardised chart. At a government level, education policy has become so focused on getting kids to pass tests that we’ve lost sight of the critical role our schools, early childhood education services, and tertiary education providers have in developing wellrounded citizens. Technology and globalisation is dramatically changing the way we live our lives and our education system needs to change to keep up with that. The days when schools could act as large filtering mechanisms churning out an appropriate number of compliant workers at stratified skill levels are well and truly over. Critical thinking, problem solving, interpersonal skills, resilience, and self-awareness are more important than ever, yet they are woefully undervalued in education policy. Labour will return the focus back to a broad and varied curriculum. We will restore trust and collaboration and unleash the creative potential that is currently being stifled. Labour will invest in programmes that we know make a difference. Recruiting, retaining, and providing regular professional development to the very best teachers will be our highest priority. We will return control of the Education Council to the profession through democratic elections. We recognise that the whole system is creaking under the strain of under-funding. We will make sure schools, early childhood education services and tertiary providers get the funding they need to deliver the quality education all New Zealanders deserve. Free education will be back on the agenda under Labour. We will fund schools so they don’t have to rely on parents to make up funding shortfalls. We will put the ‘free’ back into 20 hours’ free early childhood education, and we will introduce three years of fee-free post-school education for all New Zealanders.
The Green Party is committed to public quality education and strongly opposes charter schools and other privatisation strategies. We support lifelong education from early childhood to tertiary as a human right for all people. We believe in quality education, not just participation targets. We support a broad curriculum, rather than National Standards in primary schools or an excessive focus on meeting government targets for NCEA in secondary schools. Our schools policy, Schools at the Heart, will equip schools to act as hubs, functioning as the anchor for a range of health, education, welfare, cultural, and other opportunities. By bringing services to schools we ensure that every child is ready to learn, their family is included and is better able to support their learning, and we free up teachers to do what they do best – teach. These hubs would provide a school nurse, school lunches, adult education, free afterschool and holiday care, and a school hubs coordinator. The law changes in education this year have been generally unhelpful to an equitable public system and are opening the door to private companies offering online schools, which have very poor results for students overseas. We support spending more on all public schools and to stop putting more funding into charters and private schools. We recognise that the decile system needs a more nuanced funding model, but have concerns about the Government’s current proposal. Hypertargeting of only the most extreme students refuses to acknowledge the broader social conditions. Rather than ensuring the decent wages, and warm, safe, and secure houses that everyone needs, the Government is stigmatising a few individual parents and families. The Greens support a review of ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ and also of the support system for high learning needs, which fail many children with a range of diverse learning styles. I initiated a Select Committee Inquiry on learning needs such as dyslexia, dyspraxia and autism spectrum, which reported back recently. The Green Party believes the recommendations are progress but are too weak to fix a broken system. Without increased funding and mandatory professional development for teachers, inclusion of all children remains patchy and poorly understood. Our vision for education is not a narrow curriculum but a broad one, which includes Te Reo and Te Tiriti education as a core subject for all, and a strong emphasis on environmental education, cultural responsiveness, creativity, participatory learning and diverse teaching techniques in public schools. We want to see an overarching goal of equity, which has seen far greater success for learners overseas than the “teach to test” models that National is attempting to emulate.
What we ask of our public education system continues to change and intensify. We believe it is time to have a nationwide discussion, similar to that which established our world leading curriculum, with the goal of developing a collaborative 30-year strategic plan for New Zealand education. This would set an agreed direction 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. We believe 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 education. Te Whāriki, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa should be at the front and in the centre of our education system. These documents provide our 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. National Standards have created a barrier to the full implementation of the curriculum and New Zealand First will remove them, re-establishing professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of The New Zealand Curriculum with monitoring of children’s progress based on curriculum levels. Discussion on refocusing data collection, analysis and reporting to ensure that students are funded to an appropriate level to meet their individual needs would be part of any strategic direction. We are strongly opposed to charter or partnership schools and the slow creep toward the privatisation of our public education system; public funding for compulsory sector privately owned profit-making opportunities would end. New Zealand First is committed to the collection of school entry and assessment data which will be used to create a funding structure that provides for every student, raising achievement at both ends of the learning continuum, ie. special needs and gifted and talented. We recognise the importance of heritage culture to student achievement. We will restore funding for Te Kotahitanga as this programme has positive outcomes for Māori learners and for all learners, no matter what their heritage
Education spokesperson, Labour Party
Education spokesperson, Green Party
Education spokesperson, NZ First
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background. We see a greater role for Resource Teachers of Māori within mainstream classrooms throughout the compulsory sector. New Zealand First will implement upfront investment in post-secondary education. This policy will remove the financial burden of student loans, particularly on our young people and replace this with a repayable skill debt to the country. The UFI Tertiary policy will reduce both the human and financial waste currently created by inadequate workforce planning and underresourced careers advice. Our post-secondary study suite of policies, which includes a universal student allowance, will remove current lurching from skill shortage crisis to individual profession oversupply.
David Seymour ACT Party Leader
New Zealand has a great school system, with talented educators. Yet too many students remain disengaged and not achieving their full potential. We do many things right. We give teachers freedom, not prescriptive curricula scripting what to say. To have an education system that works for every child, we need to extend these freedoms – trusting teachers to teach, principals to run schools, and parents to choose the best school for their child. This is why ACT introduced Partnership (or charter) Schools.
More choice for students, families and teachers
William Butler Yeats said education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. The right approach for one student may not work for another. Some thrive in structured traditional environments, others prefer more freedom. Some are engaged by the arts, others by engineering. The state should fund a range of schools, letting children, parents, and educators choose what lights their fire, not just what school is closest to them. ACT thinks the best ideas come from people on the front lines, not detached Wellington bureaucrats. Partnership Schools empower educational innovators by allowing them to start their own fully funded schools – assuming they meet rigorous application standards, attract students, and deliver positive outcomes. They have more freedom in curriculum, hiring, and teaching practices, in exchange for higher accountability. They can be closed if they don’t meet targets. It’s early days, but initial results are very positive. The eight currently operating span from militaryethos, to Steiner, to integrated learning, to Māori medium. Two more open this year.
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ACT also trusts principals, boards of trustees and communities to decide how to spend their school’s budget. With local knowledge they are best placed to determine the mix of staff and other resources for their students. So ACT would give individual state school boards the option of transitioning to the Partnership Schools model.
Increase funding to independent schools
Currently private school funding is miniscule, and capped. This means that while schools profiting from wealthy families survive, more affordable private schools have been forced to close. Boosting funding can actually save taxpayer money by reducing costs in the state system. It would also be fairer to private school parents who currently pay twice for education (through fees and taxes). Finally, ACT would not reduce the education budget – education is a core government-funded service and one of the most valuable investments we can make.
Dr Graham Stoop
Chief Executive, Education Council As the agency primarily concerned with raising the status of the teaching profession we would like any future government to address this fundamental question: how do we properly recognise the positive influence our profession has in creating curious, confident and contributing citizens?
Here’s what we think.
The future government must have a futurefocused education system. It needs to ask: what do teachers need to be equipped to meet the challenges of the modern world of teaching and learning? It needs to establish a strong education system that supports teachers to do their job not just now but in the medium and long term because our society, and the way we live, is changing at pace. Teachers must be allowed to keep up with this pace. Indeed, teachers need to be part of this change – showing leadership in change and being part of the agenda of change. Future governments must then seek to strengthen leadership in our profession. A future government needs to recognise the leadership must be profession-led – horizontally and vertically. Our profession must build its own critical mass – a future government will facilitate and enable this process. We expect the development of a connected, cohesive and adaptive leadership cohort. Communities of Learning are a good starting point. We want any future government to work closely and collaboratively with the respective agencies working in the profession. It’s critical they
recognise the agency of organisations such as the Education Council because we are at the coalface – well placed to inform any future government. A future government needs to listen without prejudice to all players in the theatre of education. We want to see our profession to be perceived as on a par with lawyers, engineers and doctors. We want to see this recognised not just through remuneration; we want future governments to see teaching as a profession not just a vocation. We want a future government to help the public better understand the societal implications of a valued teaching profession. When we have a profession which is seen as a desirable first career choice, where there is strong competition for teacher training and where we know the best people are entering the profession then society will look at early childhood centres, primary and secondary schools in a different light. They will see our profession as one of the threads that make up a successful and productive society. They will see education not just as a right but as a privilege – and take advantage of that. And that’s good for all of us.
President, New Zealand School Trustees Association Student wellbeing and achievement
This always has to be top of our list. Whatever else we talk about, it only matters because of the effect it will have on our students. We’re talking about the whole deal here – how will it help our kids learn the life skills they need to live happy and productive lives? Keep them physically and emotionally safe? Help students who have high and complex special needs? Prepare our academic students for tertiary study? Help students from other countries understand and thrive in New Zealand society? Does it gives every student a ‘fair go’? We haven’t got things right yet for special education and that’s an important part of the picture.
A shared education vision for all
New Zealand’s education system does not currently have a single, unifying vision statement. The National Education Goals (NEGs), The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), Te Marautanga o Aotearoa (TMOA) and Te Whāriki (the ECE curriculum) all put forward aspirations or aspects of a vision and these have a high level of alignment, but each is slightly different. None of them apply across the board, and none of them include tertiary education. We believe it’s time for a meaningful conversation with New Zealanders about what we want from our education system, from the earliest days onwards. Clarity about that will let us take the politics out of education and concentrate on making it happen.
Partnerships with local communities The partnership that our schools have with their local communities is a cornerstone of our present school system. The Education (Update) Amendment Bill has introduced proposals that could mean the end of school charters and the downgrading of the contract that boards of trustees have with their local communities in favour of a Ministry-driven system of national priorities. There’s been no real discussion of this change, or how it might work, so working through those questions will be an important piece of work for us in 2017.
The funding review will enter its next phase in 2017 – preferably minus the global funding option. Getting this right will make a huge difference to our ability to deliver effectively on student wellbeing and achievement. The funding review will be another important focus for 2017.
Communities of Learning
COLs are still too much of a mixed bag. We need to get this right. Soon.
President, Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) In keeping with the spirit of the season at the time of writing, here are PPTA’s 12 wishes for a happy, healthy and prospering education system where, like Lake Woebegone, all the teachers are good-looking and all the students are above average. If the holiday season is too soon for our hardworking politicians, anytime during the 2017 election year would suffice. 1. A world where evidence trumps ideology – every time. 2. A nation where we can be proud of how we treat our most vulnerable citizens. 3. Equal pay. 4. A public service where there are enough pies, of the correct size, to go around. 5. An education system, with a larger pie, cut into more equitable pieces. 6. A minister of education whose first instinct when a good idea strikes in the middle of the night is to consult with the sector before pressing the ‘go’ button. 7. A minister of education who, when the sector says no, is happy to pull the plan, not pull the pin. 8. A manageable workload for every teacher. 9. An end to illegal fixed term contracts for starting out teachers. 10. A school system where teachers are supported to progress into middle and top management without suffering stress and burnout.
11. A world where ordinary people can, without irony or distress, use the word ‘COOL’ again. 12. A pūkeko in a ponga tree.
President, NZEI Te Riu Roa The heart of our education system is its people. Without the right people – and enough of them – we simply can’t give our children the quality education they each need to fulfil their potential. Over the past few years, the current Government has reviewed, overhauled and proposed all manner of changes in the education system. But in all of the reviews, updates and legislative changes, there is one thing that has been ruled out of scope for consideration time and again – increased funding. There has been an outright refusal to increase the size of the per-head pie, even though every part of the sector is struggling financially. If one group receives more, it’s because money has been taken from elsewhere – for example the targeted funding in Budget 2016 was introduced while overall school funding was frozen, or the threat of younger children with special needs getting earlier intervention at the expense of services for older children. Meanwhile, there have been increases to ECE funding to cover increased participation but actual per-child funding has been frozen for the past six years and services are no longer funded to employ more than 80 per cent qualified teachers. Quality centres and services are struggling to stay afloat. We are also very worried that schools will be forced to make awful trade-offs between cutting support staff hours and pay, and other running costs because of the funding freeze on operations grants this year. Our priority for this election is people. That means more resourcing to enable ECE services to employ 100 per cent qualified teachers. It means more special education funding to employ sufficient early intervention teachers and speechlanguage therapists. It means funding school operations grants adequately so schools can employ the number of teacher aides and other support staff their students need, not just the number they can budget for. It means rejecting global (bulk) funding so schools don’t come under budgetary pressure to cut teacher positions and increase class sizes. Eighty per cent of the cost of running our education system is people. We can’t try to save money by squeezing their pay, conditions and hours then wonder why it’s hard to attract people to the profession and keep them here. If we value our children’s education, we have to value educators.
Chief Executive, Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand In recent years the Government has been focusing on participation targets in ECE. There is no doubt that participation by children in ECE is highly beneficial, particularly for our most vulnerable children. But, there is also no doubt that the ECE service a child attends has to be high quality. It is now time that government policy shifts from participation to funding for high quality. Right now, many in our sector are feeling let down. They believe the bare minimum is being invested in ECE. Funding on a per-child basis has not kept pace with inflation. We know that regarding funding rates alone, ECE services are more than five per cent worse off than they were in 2010. Combine that with national reducing funding for qualified staff in that year, many in the sector are struggling to provide the quality ECE they aspire to. Teachers and services are doing the best they can, but without appropriate resourcing it’s an uphill battle, which ultimately impacts the child. So, what do we want to see in party policy in election year? Restore early childhood funding to account for inflation since 2010. Reinstate funding for 100 per cent qualified staff. Reduce the under-2 teacher:child ratio to 1:4 (on the way to 1:3). Currently, New Zealand’s under-2 child ratio is 1:5 and is below international best practice. Babies need highly responsive caregiving; this requires better ratios, along with small group sizes. Invest in funding for professional development for ECE leaders and teachers. ECE services should be seen as an equitable, valued and integral Communities of Learning (CoL) partner and treated as such. We’re talking about young children, whānau, and communities. If you want happy, productive and well-adjusted citizens later, the Government must invest in high-quality ECE now. Evidence has shown that investment in the early learning years pays dividends in the later learning years. Our organisation, with more than 50 years’ experience, is committed to high-quality early childhood education for the long haul. We have proved this across decades and successive governments. We want to see all political parties committing to high-quality early childhood education for the long haul. The future of our country, depends on it.
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Chief Executive, Early Childhood Council Funding
The current funding system is cumbersome for ECE services to administer and not understood by most parents. The Early Childhood Council supports, therefore, the funding review the Government is undertaking, but with reservations. Yes, it’s a great idea to target new resource to ‘at risk’ children. The trick is to achieve this without cutting ECE funding for everyone else. And that, sadly, is not the current Government’s track record. It has, since 2011, cut $90,000 a year from the average ECE centre budget and redistributed the proceeds to create ECE access for low-income, Māori and Pasifika children. Whatever government emerges from Election 2017, it is essential that this ‘rob Peter to pay Paul’ approach is not embedded in the structure of a new funding system. The quality of New Zealand’s early childhood education depends on it.
Given ongoing government funding cuts, many ECE centres have been forced to cut back on professional development for teachers. It is a major source of frustration for many running ECE services, that they lack the professional development resource to correct known deficiencies. ECE is supposedly to get some access, from next year (2017), to $75 million of professional development funding available currently to schools only. But centres will have to be in Communities of Learning for this to happen, and very few are. Something needs to be done about this.
The disparity between pay rates for kindergarten teachers and those working in ECE centres
Kindergartens have, since 2011, received three government funding increases to cover pay rises, while ECE centres have received nothing. There is, as a consequence, a substantial and growing disparity between pay rates for kindergarten teachers and those doing the same job in ECE centres. It is time, I think, for some fairness.
The Te Whāriki update
The Ministry of Education is moving currently to update the ECE curriculum, Te Whāriki. This is a good thing. The document is 20 years old, and it’s time for a review. It is possible the review will be done and dusted by the time a post-election government is operating. We hope,
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however, that this government ensures: learning outcomes are not assessed in a manner that directs teachers from what is best for children; there are improved links between the ECE and primary school curricula; the best of the current Te Whāriki is maintained, and there is plenty of documentation and professional development to ensure ECE services implement the new curriculum properly.
The Early Childhood Council’s most recent special education survey found that 59 per cent of centres say they waited, on average, more than three months for assistance with the assessment of children, with almost a quarter waiting more than six. When asked to identify the consequences of these delays, more than 80 per cent of centres indicated ‘delayed development of… children’. The context in which we say the Government’s special education strategy has been ‘a crazy three-step dance’ is to: leave children with hopelessly inadequate special education support during their ECE years when the most important cognitive development is occurring, and wait until their development is delayed, and their problems exacerbated, then intervene, at school, to address the problems created by this neglect. This, I think, is why the Government is seeking currently to transfer some special education funding from schools to ECE services. It is running, however, into a deluge of opposition. We hope it holds the line, or better still, finds extra money for ECE special education and maintains spending in schools. Whichever government the election delivers, it has to do a better job for our youngest of children with special learning needs.
Equivalent regulated quality
There are unacceptably large variations in regulated quality in ECE. While centres, for example, are required to have at least 50 per cent fully qualified teachers (with most having more than 80 per cent), home-based (so-called) ‘educators’ require no qualification whatsoever. And while inexperienced teachers in ECE centres are supervised by senior teachers every minute of the day, unqualified homebased workers might be visited by a qualified supervisor once a month only. The ECC opposes these and many other regulated inconsistencies, believes parents have a right to expect ‘equivalent regulated quality’ when choosing ECE services, and hopes a postelection government seeks to achieve this.
President, New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) NZPF aspires to a highquality public education system where schools are self-managing, well supported, informed and connected. We welcome involvement in all government education policy development from the earliest stages so that policy makers can benefit from our professional knowledge and experience and therefore create policy that is relevant and workable and translates to better learning outcomes for all students. To maintain our position as a world-class education system requires a fair and equitable funding system that takes account of the socioeconomic status of different school communities, the behavioural and special learning challenges facing schools and the growing number of students for whom English is a second language. We do not believe that the global funding model currently proposed will achieve these goals. NZPF believes that the Government must take action to lift the status of the education profession and make teacher training an attractive option for the highest quality school leavers. Currently the population of teachers is aging with leadership a particular concern. Within the next five to 10 years it is expected that some 70 per cent of principals will be retiring. There is an urgent need to address leadership capacity in the profession and find incentives to encourage more middle leaders to consider taking up principal positions. In the past decade there have been transformational changes to education policy and legislation and expectations have grown that schools are the agents of change to address social problems beyond the school gate. Schools and especially leaders are buckling under the strain of meeting these demands such that the stress levels are making the job a most unattractive option. Further stresses come in the form of threats of privatisation to the education system including charter schools, an increase in PPPs as options for property management, increased access for private providers with the Online Schools initiative and various PLD options. These threats undermine our public school system and we do not want them to feature in our education landscape. We want our Māori students to have the opportunity to succeed as Māori and we want to see the culture of our mainstream schools change to accommodate bicultural values. We have developed an initiative, the Māori Achievement Collaborations (MACs), which the Minister has agreed to fund for two years. We recommend that on the strength of the success of this programme, the funding be extending for a further two years.
President, Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand (SPANZ) Of significance to New Zealand education both now and into the future is the Education (Update) Amendment Bill which amends the Education Act 1989. This update of the Education Act has wideranging implications for us in education. Submissions closed in November 2016 and the Minister has promised that the select committee will meet in various parts of the country. It will be critical that educationalists put forward submissions. Another wide-ranging implication for the education sector is the Education Funding System Review which started in 2016 and will continue in 2017. Every one of us wants to make sure we have an equitable education system
that allows a student from any background to succeed. Educationalists must have their say to ensure that New Zealand’s standard of education is not compromised by the outcome. Communities of Learning are being rolled out throughout the country. They have the very worthy goal of improving collaboration among schools. What is very important in the roll-out of Communities of Learning is that they are carefully researched by an independent researcher to ensure that the money being spent is actually making a difference to student achievement. 2017 will be an important year for the Education Council as it starts to roll out plans for how it will fulfil its mandate to provide leadership in education. In particular, how it will develop, support and grow leadership in the profession. The latest 2015 TIMSS (Trends in Mathematics and Science Study) raises questions about our curriculum in these areas. An improvement in science was positive but our mathematics results are below other countries with whom we compare ourselves.
To improve in these curriculum subjects we need to ensure the supply of high-quality mathematics and science graduates and that initial teacher education includes sufficient mathematics and science training. Continually reviewing our curriculum to ensure it meets the needs of 21st-century learners must be standard practice – this includes reviewing in the digital technology space. Finally, and not least, I am very concerned about the planning that needs to go in to ensure we have a high-quality workforce both in the near future and for many years to come. Insufficient planning and monitoring of the workforce has been a keynote of the past and cannot be allowed to continue happening in the future. The Minister and Ministry officials have the very best of intentions, but they are not working at a school level. It is very important that policymakers and the practitioners continue to closely connect to ensure that any policies and initiatives are founded in good common sense and are workable.
Go to educationreview.co.nz
Debt Empire, a lesson worth thousands. The new tool designed to make a game of financial capability.
Aligned to the New Zealand curriculum.
Debt Empire helps students learn the tricks of the debt trade so they don’t fall for them in the real world. Players take on the role of an unscrupulous loan shark and attempt to grow their empire by peddling debt loaded with sneaky terms and conditions. Through gameplay they build financial capability, critical thinking and problem-solving skills that contribute to lifelong learning and confidence around financial decision-making. Set your students the challenge of competing for debt domination and help make them make informed decisions around personal finances at the same time.
Download the game, teacher support material and view the curriculum guide at Sorted.org.nz/debt-empire
NZ TEACHER 7
Opening the door on
seclusion rooms The controversies surrounding seclusion rooms and the increasingly widespread practice of illegal ‘Kiwi suspensions’ reveal some cracks in our education system when it comes to managing challenging behaviour. JUDE BARBACK asks whether our schools and teachers are adequately prepared for the realities of teaching a diverse range of students.
dam* is a 15-year-old boy from Canterbury with significant developmental issues. Adam’s school had difficulty coping with his special educational needs and told his parents to keep him home for three days of the school week. At times Adam was placed in a separate room by himself when at school. Adam eventually left mainstream schooling for correspondence school when it became clear that the school did not wish to accommodate him. Daria* is a five-year-old girl from South Auckland who has been diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety. Daria’s behaviour at school escalated due to a lack of support and her mother was subsequently advised that Daria should remain away from school for a period until the school felt that she could return again. No formal disciplinary steps were taken and Daria was removed from school for substantial periods of time. Eventually Daria’s parents felt that she was so unwelcome at school that she was withdrawn and an application was made to home-school her. In many ways Adam and Daria couldn’t be more different. One is a teenage boy, the other a little girl just starting school. They are from different ends of the country. Their special education needs are very different. Yet what they do have in common is that their respective schools could not cope with their challenging behaviour and as a result both were driven to withdraw from mainstream education.
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Adam and Daria are just two of many case studies used to inform the research carried out by YouthLaw Aotearoa on the rise of informal removals of students. The large number of cases is indicative of the fact that many schools throughout New Zealand are struggling to cope with their students’ challenging behaviour. Why? Are schools not being given enough guidance, resourcing or support? Are teachers not being trained sufficiently for the realities of teaching students with a diverse range of learning needs? Have schools become so conscious about their images and about marketing themselves to their communities that challenging behaviour is hidden away in the hope that no one notices?
The Miramar Central School case
The Miramar Central School incident serves as an unfortunate case in point. Last year it was discovered that some students, most of whom had special education needs, were on occasion locked briefly in a seclusion room located near the school’s special education centre. The tricky thing about the Miramar Central case is that the school’s use of the seclusion room was in keeping with ministerial guidelines introduced back in 2002. As board chair Peter McFarlane said, “At the time, that was the thinking from education specialists. It seems like things have moved on since then.” Indeed they have. The Ministry of Education handled the complaint about the use of Miramar’s
seclusion room very poorly, and issued a formal apology in October. In an attempt to compensate for this, the Ministry has since been assertive in addressing the issue. Following an independent investigation, the Ministry announced that it is now illegal for schools to use seclusion rooms. The Ministry also worked with an Advisory Group to develop guidelines for schools so that all have a clear understanding of what is modern practice for dealing with challenging behaviour. Education Minister Hekia Parata says the vast majority of schools have good practices in place for managing the challenging behaviour of a small number of students in a safe and inclusive way. “I appreciate this can be very difficult. But in today’s world there is no situation where it is acceptable for seclusion to be used in schools or early childhood education services, so I want to make that clear in the law,” says Parata. “It’s important to note that seclusion is not the same as ‘time out’, where a student voluntarily takes themselves to an agreed space or unlocked room, like a sensory room, to calm down; or when a teacher prompts a disruptive student to work in another space.” Parata says she is pretty certain Miramar Central would not have been intentionally trying to do the wrong thing. She also indicated the need for intervention if necessary to protect teachers and other students. Miramar Central School apparently used the room as a last resort, to protect teachers and other
students from children who exhibited violent behaviour. Ultimately, they ran out of options. And they won’t be the only school to face this situation. Since the Miramar case came to light, it has emerged that eight special education units use seclusion rooms, and anecdotal evidence suggests more such rooms can be found in mainstream schools around the country too, although the Ministry has surveyed all schools and says they are not widespread.
So, what’s the alternative?
The Miramar case has lifted the lid on some of the realities faced by New Zealand teachers and schools of teaching children with challenging behaviour and the lack of clarity around how to manage such behaviour. As one Facebook user says on the subject, “So what’s the alternative? Should a school keep the child in class and disrupt the learning of 20/25 other students? Imagine being a teacher/ student stuck in a room and one child is smashing furniture, attacking students, throwing objects… would they feel safe?? The needs of the many should be the priority.” The difficulty of teaching a classroom of children with a diverse range of learning needs cannot be understated, particularly when you throw in a pupil with a propensity for violence. In 2014 Marie-Pierre Fortier’s research uncovered some of the stark realities of managing difficult behaviour in three New Zealand secondary schools. Her research outlined many instances where teachers struggled to manage challenging behaviour. One teacher shared her difficult experience with a student “who had major violent outbursts”. “It was just not the right environment for him. I had to basically keep him contained until we could find the right place for him, which was an outside, smaller, specialised unit that worked with behavioural issues, but there were only 10 of them and there were like five members of staff.” Alternative education and correspondence school are fast becoming the ‘dumping ground’ for such children. According to the YouthLaw report, from 2000 to 2006, the number of alienated and excluded students on the correspondence school roll increased from 876 to 1,518. From 2001 to 2015 the number of students registered as parttime has risen from 1,636 to 2,243. The reality for such students is only notional involvement in the schooling system. The Ministry of Education is working to provide alternative education pathways that are more relevant to students to help them stay in school, or to re-engage in their learning. Trades Academies have been well received in this area. The more recently proposed alternative of communities of online learning (COOLs) has been more controversial.
declining. In fact, the official 2014 data recorded the lowest age-standardised suspension rate in the 15 years of recorded data. On the face of it, this sounds great, but the reality is that while formal disciplinary procedures are decreasing, informal procedures are on the rise, bringing wild inconsistencies and variation to how schools cope with behavioural challenges. YouthLaw’s research shows that illegal suspensions are on the rise, suggesting that the real number of children being removed from school is not reflected in official statistics. The research is consistent with previous claims that each year approximately one in 30 students will suffer informal disruption to education under the heading of ‘time out’ or ‘informal stand down’. An illegal suspension in New Zealand is better known as a ‘Kiwi suspension’ – when a principal calls a meeting with the student and the student’s parents and suggests they withdraw their child from the school before formal action is taken.
For example, one school has a strategy in place in which the code word ‘team’ is used to garner help from support teachers. Another had a seclusion room specifically designed for a student who is prone to extremely violent outbursts; the child is accompanied in the room by his teacher aide. Other schools have ‘time out’ areas. Principal of Berhampore School Mark Potter says in the case of a student “meltdown” at his school, if the child can be moved simply and easily, they will do so. Failing that, they will remove the things around the child to prevent damage and harm. They will attempt to distract the child with a change of staff if appropriate. Ultimately though, it’s about understanding the child and doing what works for them, says Potter. He gives the example of a student whom they discovered recovered from such episodes by being allowed to roam around the school grounds. Potter says in the boy’s previous school he had been subjected to seclusion rooms as a way of managing his behaviour, which worsened his behaviour and left him traumatised. Potter believes the emphasis in dealing with challenging students should be on understanding each child and their disability or learning difference. This approach helps to prevent the “meltdown” incidents from occurring. For example, anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways, with a child becoming withdrawn, or tearful, or aggressive. Potter thinks schools are often too quick to take a zero tolerance approach for behaviour that they perceive to be rude or aggressive, when a deeper understanding of the child could reveal that anxiety is the underlying cause for their behaviour, and what they really should be addressing. “School conditions can exacerbate the problem,” he says. “If a child struggles with noise and echoes, then a modern learning environment is not going to be the best option for that child.” Part of understanding the child means involving the parents. Potter says schools are sometimes guilty of taking the stance that they are the professionals and shutting parents down, instead of listening to what they have to say. Potter admits it takes time to develop this level of understanding in a school.
“Teachers need to know the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. They need strategies in place to deal with difficult behaviour.”
According to official Ministry of Education statistics, formal removals from school are
Without a formal process, the student doesn’t have an established procedure to challenge the decision and is left feeling shameful and rejected. Unsurprisingly, the Ministry of Education doesn’t have any data on illegal suspensions. They informed YouthLaw that they worked with schools on a case-by-case basis when they became aware of schools not following their legislative responsibilities. The Ministry doesn’t shy away from Kiwi suspensions on its parents’ website. It emphasises that they are illegal and outlines steps that parents can take if their child is being asked to voluntarily withdraw from school or sent home for behavioural reasons without the correct protocols being followed by the school. New Zealand schools are not the only ones. Research shows that informal processes are rife in Australia and are increasing in Canada. The competitive performance culture in the United Kingdom has also seen schools pressured to remove students who may affect the school’s public performance ranking.
Understanding the student
Kiwi suspensions are clearly not the answer. Nor are seclusion rooms. So how can schools and teachers deal with challenging behaviour? All the schools Education Review spoke to were empathetic towards Miramar Central School and most said they had at least one student who exhibited difficult and sometimes violent behaviour. The inquiry into the Miramar Central case has resulted in guidelines for schools outlining best practice for how to manage such behaviour. But prior to that, schools had to draw on their own variable systems and expertise.
A restorative approach
Berhampore School’s stance in striving to understand the child’s learning needs and behaviour triggers is similar to the principles of a restorative approach to addressing behaviour challenges. The YouthLaw report advocates a restorative justice approach for schools, one that targets the underlying issues rather than a single incident. Addressing the wider issues such as student disaffection, underachievement and truancy can better help students than more traditional disciplinary routes like suspensions or standdowns. Traditional discipline models lay guilt and blame on a student, which can cause a student to form a negative perspective of education. By contrast, restorative approaches allow students to
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take responsibility and understand the impact of their actions. As with most initiatives of this kind, it appears the most effective restorative programmes involve the wider community. Bristol’s Restorative Approaches in Schools programme has proven to be effective. Working with local social service and police agencies, the programme trains school staff in restorative principles and techniques such as conflict and behaviour management skills. As a result the city experienced a 57 per cent decline in exclusions. The Ministry of Education has indicated that it is supportive of restorative justice programmes to inform schools’ behaviour management strategies. Since 2015 the Ministry has been implementing the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) Programme – a long-term, systemic approach involving 10 initiatives. The programme is now in more than 600 schools and is widely regarded as an effective way of addressing behavioural issues. The PB4L initiative stems from the restorative justice system and provides best practice tools and techniques for restoring relationships when things go wrong. Essentially it is about supporting schools to build and maintain positive and respectful relationships across their communities. There can be problems with restorative practices. The YouthLaw report notes that if a restorative approach does not resolve an issue, then schools typically move to other informal punishment measures and then possibly to formal punishment measures, so that the student ends up being punished multiple times for one offence. Fortier’s research also revealed some limitations, showing that the success of restorative practice was dependent on students’ attitudes and a consistent approach among staff. Schools that had received professional development on restorative practices predictably had better success. YouthLaw agrees that the successful implementation of a restorative approach is contingent on the development of wider school culture enabling student participation, flexibility, creativity and collaboration with other agencies. It notes that successful restorative justice initiatives appear to have a collaborative aspect, working with other juvenile services such as justice, healthcare, local authorities to provide ongoing training and professional development.
Training, resourcing and support
It appears more training and professional development might be needed in the areas of learning differences and behaviour management. There are typically a multitude of factors underpinning a student’s challenging behaviour. A disadvantaged background and special educational needs often play a part. The YouthLaw report found that students with special education needs were “grossly over-represented” among those children who are informally removed, or excluded from schools. Former NZEI Te Riu Roa president Louise Green says the report has raised the same concerns the union has been raising for some time, including
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a lack of guidance for schools in how to ensure children with disabilities can thrive, a lack of initial teacher education and ongoing professional development for educators, and the need for both better funding and greater funding support. “It’s one thing to say that education should be inclusive of all learners; it’s another thing to fund schools, and train educators so they are equipped to meet every child’s needs,” she says. Funding was bound to come up in a discussion around supporting schools with behaviour management. The Government is moving towards a more targeted approach for school funding, based on students’ needs. Schools will now receive $92 for each student at risk of educational underachievement. Special education is also under Government scrutiny at the moment, with a recent inquiry into specific learning disorders, a review of special education funding underway, and a potential
He says there isn’t much professional development available in this area either and what little there is, is difficult to access. “Teachers need to know the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown,” he says. “They need strategies in place to deal with difficult behaviour.”
Berhampore School’s expertise in this area has led to many parents of children with special education needs bypassing other schools. Mark Potter says he was keen to share the school’s expertise, which it has built up over time, with other schools in the area, and in turn, learn from their experiences as well. As such the school is currently involved in a Teacher Innovation Fund project, which is about sharing expertise and experience across the schools to enable each to feel better prepared for students who might present different challenges. Acknowledging the low level of funding, Potter says the aim is to look at what schools can do
“In today’s world there is no situation where it is acceptable for seclusion to be used in schools or early childhood education services, so I want to make that clear in the law.” review of the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme (ORS). Government proposals to shift special education funding from the schooling sector to the early childhood sector have been met with concern. “A sensible solution would be to provide each school with a dedicated special needs coordinator, or SENCO, to help identify children who need additional support and ensure that educators are capable of providing it, and that the funding is there to back that up,” says Green. Green also thinks there needs to be more resourcing directed towards providing adequate support for teachers. Support staff can be invaluable to teachers in helping to keep a child from distracting other students with their behaviour. However, the pay is notoriously low and the work challenging. It can be difficult for schools to find people willing to take on such a support role. Research also indicates that there is an over-reliance on teacher aides in many Kiwi classrooms to work with children with special educational needs, yet teacher aides often lack the necessary specialist training. Not always, though; Mark Potter says Berhampore School ensures its teacher aides receive plenty of specialist training and professional development. Green believes all schools should take this approach. “Teacher aides should be provided with specialist training so they know how to give children the support they need, and new teachers given much more initial teacher education in how to teach children with complex and special needs,” she says. Mark Potter agrees there is very little training in the area of learning differences and behaviour management in pre-service teacher education.
on a low budget to become more inclusive. For example, employing a specialist teacher to work across five schools full-time might be a better approach than each school employing a part-time person, he says. The project will hopefully be extended to include secondary schools in the area. Transitioning between schools is often acknowledged as difficult for children with special education needs. Collaboration in this area would certainly help streamline educational pathways for students as they progress through the school system. Kapiti College is another school that has excelled in providing an inclusive learning environment. As outlined in Guy Pope-Mayell’s recent Education Review article, the school has created a dyslexia-friendly environment that has seen significant improvements in self-esteem and academic achievement, and reductions in negative and destructive behaviour. It believes early screening at primary school and appropriate early teaching intervention is essential if children with learning differences are to succeed at secondary school and beyond. Collaborative practices, more restorative approaches, better and more training, professional development and support, more funding – all will help us strive towards better management and understanding of the challenging behaviour and learning needs of the diverse learners in our schools. But ultimately we need to achieve wider systemic change in our education system and in our communities to prevent the marginalisation and exclusion of students who challenge us to think differently about the way we teach and run our schools. *Names have been changed.
Go to educationreview.co.nz
The Maker Movement: a portal of possibility KIMBERLY BAARS discusses the benefits of bringing a maker-centred approach into the classroom.
he Maker Movement is characterised by a can-do attitude, a love for tinkering and sense of community. It is driven by a willingness of people to learn, fail and share together on and offline. Often not a linear process but a messy one, it creates a personal journey towards a tangible outcome. Need to make or fix something? A quick search online will uncover an instant community to tap into to help get it off the ground which sees the traditional DIY endeavour evolve into a DIT (do-it-together) model of networked knowledge. The sharing economy has converged with the affordability of technologies such as 3D printers, microprocessors and laser cutters, providing the spark that has driven the Maker Movement to go mainstream. As the cost of innovation has been driven down the global maker community has risen up and is readily available at the end of an internet connection. It’s a ‘number 8 wire’ meets new-tech mash-up that sees new technologies in the hands of everyday people, and as a result we see public libraries, museums and schools jumping to open the doors to makerspaces and innovation labs. While these spaces expand access to the tools of making, they are not the magic answer to turning consumers into creators, and instead should be seen as portals of possibility shaped by the participants. Whether stacked with the latest and greatest gadgets or simply a corner stocked with craft supplies and an old laptop, the spaces themselves are second to the learners. What activates a makerspace is not the gadgets, but the thinking happening inside. It’s not about the makerspace, it’s about the mindset. Whether things are made from the latest tech or simply hot-glued cardboard and old computer parts, the maker mindset ignites curiosity and nurtures collaboration through hands-on participation encouraging a problem solving approach. It offers a different lens to support the development of key competencies through an iterative process of learning to learn in a constant loop of wondering, doing and reflecting. You don’t need a makerspace to make, but what is needed is a maker mindset. If the focus is on the shiny new stuff or the newly built space that holds the stuff then the point of the Maker Movement has been lost and will be quickly tossed to the pile of tired ed tech fads. It’s easy to throw a 3D printer in the corner of a classroom and do a quick activity without having to actively shift mindsets – for learners and for ourselves. While a cursory glance around a maker-centred classroom may give you the impression that it is merely ‘hands-on’ and could be categorised as projectbased learning, once you ask learners about what is happening you will see it goes deeper. Not all projects are the same, and while they could start at
the same point, the nature is for them to deviate based on the individual becoming more complex, varied or simple along the way. This type of experience won’t come from handing out step-by-step instructions. Having all learners follow a preset template and methodology for building or making the same thing, in the same way, misses the point and spirit of maker culture. It is in the multiplicity of skills used to make something and the critical thinking and problem solving that accompanies it that creates the perfect storm for learning. So, if it’s not the shiny stuff or the space, where do we begin in bringing a maker-centred approach to the classroom?
Look for the intersection
Launching head first into a maker project with a class hurtling towards an undefined outcome can be a daunting task. Instead, look for intersections between learners’ interests and curriculum areas that could be supported by a maker-centred approach. See them as opportunities to cultivate the mindset by offering a low-threshold, high-return experience that introduces learners to the idea of iteration and prototyping. This could mean starting with kitset-type activities where resources and outcome are defined but students are free to choose how to get there. Place emphasis on creating several iterations promoting a focus on process rather than product. Examples could be designing 3D models of book settings learners are reading using Tinkercad (free browser-based modelling software) or creating paper circuit interactive artworks that explain aspects of Earth science. As learners begin to develop a maker mindset then it is about shifting to more open-ended projects. Look at ways to shift further up the continuum by using provocations to design learning experiences where more control is in the learner’s hands. Use a problem-hunting approach with learners to self-identify issues then design and create outcomes for social good, or set a challenge that could lead learners to explore a variety of materials and tools on their way to a presenting a prototype to their peers or community.
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Be a compass, not a map
Maker projects have unpredictable paths and often unpredictable outcomes, both of which run counter to traditional classroom activity. As such they begin to reconstruct the relationship between teacher and student as teachers become the compass and not the map. Both need to be open to giving things a try and being comfortable sitting in the unknown. For a teacher this means being a facilitator, comfortable not knowing the answers. Support the process of learning to nurture the creative confidence and culture in the classroom.
Document it all
With an emphasis on learning to learn rather than following a set of guidelines, the role of documentation is an important one in a maker-centred classroom. Use it to support the maker mindset through pause and reflection on what has worked or not and where to go to next. In the classroom this could be about setting up a maker diary, blog or vlog to capture thinking, dialogue with peers or feedback from users. Documenting iterations and using them to discuss and highlight what does and doesn’t work supports the reframing of failure from an end point and instead the beginning of the next iteration.
Make time for tinkering
Tinkering as a form of playful learning uses generative thinking processes. Learners need the space to loop between divergent and convergent thinking modes, which can be frustrating. Learners can at times come up with one idea and be stuck solely on wanting to do that before exploring options. But this is part of tinkering, being comfortable navigating between stuck and unstuck. Tinkering takes time, and not just hands-on tinkering, but tinkering with ideas. Support the time and space needed for ideas to marinate and grow rather than contract too quickly. Only when learners want to figure something out will it happen, and only when they need to learn something will they keep trying until they get it. Bringing a maker-centred approach into the classroom starts with the teacher developing their own can-do maker mindset, nurturing the spark to grow for themselves as well as their learners. Making isn’t a spectator sport, it requires participation and needs teachers to embrace the uncomfortable and start making, failing and iterating alongside learners. Start small and build from there. Think of it like building a house; rather than using a blueprint and constructing parts to
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create a whole, think of it as having a week to build a one-room bach. Then the following week add a deck, then maybe another room. Create, stop and reflect, then go back and refine. As is often discussed, we don’t know what types of world and occupation learners will find themselves in once they leave our schools. Sue Suckling from NZQA spoke recently at the Singularity Summit, highlighting the need to be thinking about how we are educating to enable our population to participate in this new landscape. The ability to continue learning, preserve and push through – all markers of a maker mindset – will go far to support learners to cope in this unknown territory. Mindset shifts won’t come about with the introduction of any new technological advancement, latest 3D printer or well-supplied makerspace. They begin with knowing learners and designing learning experiences that provide opportunities to get both hands-on and heads-on to try new things, tinker and create.
It’s a ‘number 8 wire’ meets new-tech mash-up that sees new technologies in the hands of everyday people.
Go to educationreview.co.nz
New Zealand’s first charter school – three years on JUDE BARBACK checks in on New Zealand’s first charter school nearly three years on to find out how it is progressing, in spite of ongoing opposition to the partnership schools model.
call Alwyn Poole the morning after Labour’s Member’s Bill to abolish charter schools was defeated in Parliament. I thought he’d be pleased – after all, his trust, Villa Education Trust, runs two of the eight partnership schools. But he is dismissive. “That Bill has been in the ballot for so long. I think Chris Hipkins was probably a bit embarrassed that it was drawn out. He’s visited our school and seen what we’re achieving here,” he says. Apparently the visit by the Labour education spokesman to South Auckland Middle School was well received. Poole speaks highly of Hipkins. I sense he appreciated that the MP took the time to come and see what the school was about and ask some “very astute questions”. It has been almost three years since my visit to South Auckland Middle School, New Zealand’s very first charter school which opened in February 2014. Since then, Villa Education Trust opened a second partnership school, Middle School West Auckland in February 2015. I’m eager to hear how both schools are performing. Of course, I’ve done my homework before the call, so I know from the public Education Review Office (ERO) reports and annual reports that the schools are both ticking along nicely. But I was surprised to hear the extent to which the schools have been embraced by their
South Auckland Middle School started with 90 students in 2014. At the start of this year there were 180 students.
communities. The trust has already requested, and been granted, the opportunity to extend its maximum roll from 120 to 180 at South Auckland Middle School. But even that isn’t cutting it. Poole says they’ve still got 100 students on the waitlist. Poole says Middle School West Auckland has had a comparatively more difficult start than South Auckland Middle School. The initial principal failed to disclose some disciplinary proceedings he was involved with and resigned two weeks after the school opened. Then a teacher was killed in a car accident. However, the school is now in “outstanding shape” according to Poole, with its roll also maxed out at 240 students.
I jump on the schools’ Facebook pages and the community engagement is apparent. Posts about open days, school camps and local heroes are interspersed with clips of students discussing their learning and images of their work. Each is peppered with likes and comments. There are posts about research relating to learning, about tertiary study – encouraging parents to take a broader view of their students’ education. I ask Poole whether South Auckland Middle School’s popularity is down to parents seeking alternatives from state schools that haven’t worked for their child, or down to its burgeoning good reputation. Continued on next page >>
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“I think it’s a mixture of both,” he says. “The early adopters felt strongly that the local schools weren’t working for them. But now we have people seeking us out due to our reputation. We have fifteen kids per class – you know, it’s appealing.” Not everyone is a fan, however. While the initial controversy surrounding charter schools has waned a little, the teacher unions and some political parties remain staunchly opposed to charter schools. Criticism is generally not directed at the individual schools per se, rather the partnership schools model which affords their existence. The PPTA spokesperson Education Review spoke with expressed some relief that the schools emerging from New Zealand’s partnership school system did not appear to be emulating American charter schools and thus becoming the “worst possible version” of the model. However, their original objections to charter schools still stand. The union still feels strongly that charter schools are an unnecessary drain on precious education funds that could be better spent on public schools. Their view is that the existing school system in New Zealand, which includes special character schools, can accommodate “alternative” schools, without the need of going down the charter school road. It is “criminal”, in the union’s opinion, to open up charter schools in Whangarei, for example, where there are spare places already in existing schools. The PPTA also feels the evaluation of charter schools is very weak, and it is very difficult to draw comparisons with public schools. Until the maximum rolls are reached for the charter schools – and although the Villa Trust schools have done this, many others haven’t – comparisons are going to remain hard. I ask Poole whether the union opposition still bothers him. “There will always be some who are genuinely ideologically opposed – and we just have to live with that. At the end of the day we are focused on keeping our head down and doing a great job.” He says this would be the trust’s focus regardless of whether they were operating as charter schools or not. “We’re not advocates of the model.” He says while the charter schools keep in loose communication with each other, they are each intent on achieving their own goals. Poole views the
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failure of the Whangaruru charter school as a blow – not because it was a charter school, but because “no one wants to see a school fail”. Poole views the biggest challenge facing New Zealand charter schools as the lack of available funding for setting up and expanding schools, especially when compared with state schools. The trust received around $1.3 million to set up South Auckland Middle School – an amount that pales in comparison to that allocated for new state schools like Rototuna Junior High School, says Poole. A year later, in the second round of partnership schools, the trust received slightly less than that amount to set up Middle School West Auckland, a school double the size of South Auckland Middle School. Rounds three and four have seen schools allocated around $400,000 for set-up. Poole says Villa Education Trust would love to open more schools, but it won’t entertain the idea with such low set-up funding allowances. The PPTA points to the small class sizes, teacher salaries and school uniforms as evidence that the funding levels for the first charter schools were perhaps too high. While Poole is pleased and proud that his schools have been able to achieve these things, I
appear to be sufficient funding to allow the schools to run effectively. Its ability to pay teachers more – “about five per cent above state schools” – and keep class sizes as low as 15 students per class and afford school camps to Northland and Wellington are all indicative of sufficient operational funding. This is what frustrates the unions and is perhaps why there is a reluctance to increase capital funding for set-up and expansion. ACT party leader and charter school advocate David Seymour told Radio New Zealand in August that it was up to each of the schools to decide how to use their funding in the best interests of their students. He said it was entirely appropriate for the schools to make savings on property so they could spend more on other education expenses. The better teacher salaries appear to be attracting good teachers, however Poole believes the schools’ conditions and approach to learning are what really appeals to staff – the low student: teacher ratios and the project-based integrated curriculum approach. “We have good working conditions, but hard working conditions too,” he says. “We don’t have teacher-only days, there is no down time. We work right up to the last minute of term.” Teachers have had their eyes opened to the many and varied backgrounds of their students. Poole says they relish the opportunity to broaden their students’ horizons. A recent camp to Northland revealed that of 30 children, 22 had never crossed the Auckland Harbour Bridge. Of the 40 students to attend a trip to Hawaii, many had never been on an aeroplane. “We’re producing some great kids,” says Poole. “Our year 10 students are outstanding.” He is eager to ensure their students have a smooth transition to high school. Collaboration with other local schools is still a work in progress it seems – “we’re working on it,” says Poole, rather drily. He feels they’re making good progress in this area. The local high schools have been impressed with the calibre of their year 10 students, which has certainly helped.
“There will always be some who are genuinely ideologically opposed – and we just have to live with that. At the end of the day we are focused on keeping our head down and doing a great job.” glean that he is similarly frustrated by the lack of clarity from the Ministry of Education around the ability to expand the existing schools, although he is careful when discussing the trust’s relationship with the Ministry, hinting at contractual obligations. The human element is what frustrates Poole the most about the brakes being put on the expansion process. “We have parents desperate to enrol their child, and we have to tell them, ‘Sorry, you’re number 22 on the list’,” he says. However, the Government has indicated there is unlikely to be any additional funding to the annual per-student amount the schools currently received. The way Villa Education Trust operates its schools demonstrates that there certainly does
In focusing on just two of the eight partnership schools, it is fair to say this is not a comprehensive overview of all New Zealand’s charter schools, or even the partnership schools model. An article on a different charter school would likely paint a very different picture. Like state schools and private schools, each school has its own strengths, challenges and goals. The ideological opposition to charter schools will remain – and indeed there are some valid concerns about their implications for public education in this country that we shouldn’t dismiss – however, it is fair to conclude that South Auckland Middle School, regardless of its model or funding structure, is making a positive difference in the lives of many young people.
Take caution over COOLs, warns US expert
hen communities of online learning – or COOLs – first made their appearance on New Zealand’s education landscape, slipped in amidst other clauses of the Education Amendment Bill, everyone wondered if they’d read it correctly. Charter schools are one thing, but online charter schools – isn’t that taking it a step too far? According to Education Minister Hekia Parata, the idea is that the COOLs will be open to a wide range of providers and subject to a “rigorous accreditation process” and strict quality control measures.
The US experience
JUDE BARBACK talks to US expert Professor Gary Miron about whether or not online charter schools are a good idea for New Zealand.
Miron says rather than reinvesting their profits into improving the situation for kids, they are spending increasing amounts on recruiting more students – again unsurprising, given the high student attrition rates. Their recruitment and advertising is directed at the children themselves, rather than their parents. The kids get excited by the idea of learning digitally from home and push their parents to enrol them. However, in reality, many students who enrol with cyberschools are not suited to learning
He believes that over the next 10 to 15 years schools are going to become more and more innovative with how they integrate digital technology into their teaching and learning programmes – whether the Government is on board or not. Parata describes COOLs as an “innovative way of delivering education [that] offers a digital option to engage students, grow their digital fluency, and connect them even more to 21st century opportunities”. Miron doesn’t think there is any need for another option outside of what can be provided through state education. “Is there a need for a parallel system?” he asks. “New Zealand already has high quality and innovative online education within the state school system; growing and developing those resources may be the best way forward.” Parata has given the impression that the COOLs will be tightly monitored, however Miron is doubtful. He says that although the US cyberschools are also heavily regulated and subject to quality control measures, they are continuing to perform poorly. He is also concerned that the organisations driving the cyberschools are looking to expand globally. He gives the example of the chief executive of one organisation – K12 Inc – who, incidentally, took home an annual salary of $17 million – who is looking to expand his cyberschool model into Southeast Asia and beyond. Based on the US experience, it doesn’t seem like a path for New Zealand education, especially when there are so many exciting developments happening already in our schools around digital technology and virtual learning. Why not look to expand on our existing strengths instead? It is meant to be an alternative, but at this stage the introduction of COOLs feels at odds with the collaboration and innovation at the heart of initiatives like the Communities of Learning and the Teacher Innovation Fund.
“New Zealand already has high-quality and innovative online education within the state school system; growing and developing those resources may be the best way forward.”
While the idea might be new to New Zealand, the US did the hard yards long before us. The first virtual charter schools in the US opened just before 2000. Today there are more than 500, in addition to around 150 blended learning schools. Professor Gary Miron of Western Michigan University says virtual charter schools are performing so poorly that “bricks-and-mortar charter schools” want to distance themselves from them. Even though the ‘traditional’ charter schools are performing worse than state schools that share similar demographic traits, they perceive these virtual schools – or “cyberschools” as they are often called – as worse still. Research supports this hierarchy that has emerged… and yet, these cyberschools persist. Why? Miron, who is also a fellow at the National Education Policy Center in the US, believes it boils down to profitability. The virtual schools have few overheads to worry about. They don’t need things like classrooms or physical equipment or lunch provision. So from the outset they have a significant cost advantage and the ability to be very profitable. This is enhanced by the schools maintaining high teacher-to-student ratios, in many cases more than double the number of students in a typical state classroom are allocated to one teacher in a cyber school. Unsurprisingly, the schools are failing to meet their academic targets. Only about a quarter have reportedly met their state achievement targets. A Stanford University study supports this, showing that over the course of one year, on average, kids attending virtual schools were actually losing ground academically. It comes as no surprise to learn that they have very high attrition rates. So why would parents send their kids there?
in this way – often in isolation, without the necessary adult supervision and support. They find themselves learning on their own. They lack the parental support needed to participate in this sort of virtual learning environment.
Not against online learning
Miron is all for online learning. He just feels that it can be delivered better through the existing public education system. “Online learning is an important education tool for students. I’m not against online schools at all, but years of research and evaluation show that students achieve better results when that learning takes place in a public school setting,” Miron says. In his time visiting New Zealand, he has been impressed by the Virtual Learning Networks and other resources our system has to connect learners in remote locations.
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NZ TEACHER 15
(other) things that would make ECE better
As more children are enrolling in early childhood education than ever before, the sector is concerned about keeping up with demand and offering a quality service. Education Review highlights nine areas in which improvements could be made.
he Ministry of Education gets a big tick for increasing participation levels in early childhood education. ECE enrolments are the highest they’ve ever been and approaching the Ministry’s goal of 98 per cent participation. This is excellent – we want children to have the benefit of early childhood education prior to starting school. However, the ECE sector is crying out for changes in a number of areas to support the increase in enrolments.
Funding brought in line with real costs. The Government now spends more than $1.6 billion on ECE each year – more than double the amount it spent on ECE in 2007/08. The Ministry says that for every $1 that parents contribute to ECE, the Government contributes $4.80. It claims per-child ECE funding in New Zealand is among the highest in the OECD. However, the NZEI Te Riu Roa’s Every Child Is Worth It campaign calls for
per-child funding to be restored to the inflationadjusted levels it was set at prior to 2010. It wants to see funding levels increased annually in line with real cost increases.
Keep a careful eye on quality. Evidence shows that the quality of ECE can make or break a child’s educational outcomes later in life. It is clear that a child is only better off in ECE if the education is of high quality.
teachers to Pause, training bring mindfulness Breathe, into the classroom Smile:
GRANT RIX shares the journey of a ‘mindfulness in schools’ programme that is making a difference to the wellbeing and learning outcomes of Kiwi kids.
Sometimes my brain is like a snow globe when you shake it up. It’s stormy and I can’t see anything properly. Now I know how to let it settle down, so I can see the different snowflakes, and understand what’s happening in my mind. PBS participant, 10 years old, 2013
Um... it’s like when you are going to do something and you get all stressed out, ‘cause you’ve got to do all these jobs, and you’ve got so much to do that you get so stressed and you just want to... like, you don’t feel good so just do Pause, Breathe, Smile...then your body calms down and you can do it, all your things...without worrying about anything.
PBS participant, 10 years old, 2014
indfulness is, in simple terms, the practice of giving our full attention to what is immediately happening, within and around us, with an attitude of kindness and interest. Among adults, learning mindfulness has proved beneficial in reducing stress, anxiety and symptoms of depression while boosting a sense of life satisfaction. A meta-analysis by Charlotte Zenner and colleagues in 2014 summarising the international research for children and young people found that when taught in schools mindfulness boosts cognitive performance and increases resilience to stress. This study reinforced and endorsed my work in developing Pause, Breathe, Smile (PBS), an eight-week mindfulness in schools programme designed for New Zealand school children in years 2 to 8. When I first developed PBS in 2013 I was interested in what we could do here in Aotearoa, both by way of creating a programme that aligns with The New Zealand Curriculum (NZC), and by ensuring that whatever we brought into the classroom had its own evidence base.
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When preparing to pilot PBS in 2013 I made contact with Dr Ross Bernay from the School of Education at AUT University, who I knew had a personal and professional interest in mindfulness, to see if he would be interested in supporting the research. Thankfully he agreed. “Grant asked me to review the programme he had created and I was so impressed by the clear structure, coherence between lessons and alignment with the NZC that I was excited to be a part of the research,” says Bernay. The results of the 2013 pilot, which involved five primary schools, showed that PBS: increased calmness improved focus and attention enhanced self-awareness helped with conflict resolution and the development of positive relationships reduced stress for teachers. Buoyed by these promising findings, our small research team grew to include Dr Daniel Devcich and Esther Graham, both from the University of Auckland. We conducted two further studies of PBS in 2014 in primary and intermediate school settings and, along with replicating many of the findings of the 2013 pilot, we found that participation in PBS led to statistically significant increases in wellbeing.
From research to roll-out
Kay Stevens, the principal of Riversdale School in Southland, has been implementing PBS since 2014. “We have seen children develop calmness and a widening vocabulary to name feelings, sensations and thoughts. It has developed curiosity and deepened focus and attention for our children.”
The Education Review Office (ERO) has raised serious concerns about the quality of ECE on offer in many services, warning that children could be harmed by poor-quality ECE. However, the Government says the percentage of ECE services assessed by ERO as “not well placed to deliver quality education” has shown a significant decrease, from 28.8 per cent in 2008 to just 2.6 per cent in 2015.
Support centres to have 100 per cent qualified staff. Qualified staff undoubtedly lift the quality of ECE. Since 2010 the Government has funded a maximum of 80 per cent trained staff. The sector wants to see the Government restore the 100 per cent qualified teacher component to the funding formula. This will help to encourage services to employ qualified staff, and also remove a funding stress on those currently committed to 100 per cent qualified staff.
Lower child:teacher ratios. Te Rito Maioha Early Childhood New Zealand (ECNZ) wants to see teacher:child ratios improve for undertwo-year-olds from the current 1:5 to 1:3; the union
is calling for 1:4. Both agree that the ratio for two- to five-year-olds should be reduced from 1:10 to 1:8.
Aim for smaller group sizes. ECE centres can currently have up to 150 children over two and up to 25 under two. While this has helped to increase participation, it can diminish the overall ECE experience. The union is pushing for a maximum of 15 under-twos and 40 over-twos.
“We have seen children develop calmness and a widening vocabulary to name feelings, sensations and thoughts.”
Continue to focus on priority groups, including Māori and Pasifika. The Ministry’s Early Childhood Advisory Group for under-twos has warned: “We know that Māori and Pasifika children, and children from low socio-economic status backgrounds, are more likely than other children to experience poor-quality ECE. Correspondingly, they
Stevens also mentions the clear links with The New Zealand Curriculum. “All of PBS meets the Health area in the NZC. It also meets the wellbeing indicators as developed by the Ministry of Education as a guide to schools, fits with the key competencies, and is relevant to learning areas in a number of other subjects as well,” she says. Over the past three years approximately 70 schools have now participated in the programme. In the interests of making PBS sustainable, we have been focusing on ways to get more educators involved so that they can take a lead building a more mindful culture within their school communities, using PBS as a foundation. This led to the launch of a professional learning pathway in 2016. The professional learning pathway begins with an online course called the Foundations of Mindfulness, which is designed as a comprehensive introduction to mindfulness and to help participants establish a personal practice for relieving stress and boosting wellbeing. The beauty of Foundations of Mindfulness is that it can be treated as a stand-alone course for those whose sole interest is to establish a personal practice, while also fulfilling the prerequisite for those interested in learning to teach PBS in the classroom. Having completed the Foundations of Mindfulness course, participants move onto the PBS curriculum training, which can be learnt all at once via a four-day block course, online at a more sedate pace, or can be offered as a bespoke training for schools. Viv Mallabar and Kat Liu-Asomua from Ormiston Junior College in Auckland were among those who participated in the professional learning pathway during 2016. “We visited and spoke to schools who were involved with PBS and had such good feedback that we decided to have two teachers trained so that we could embed within our school culture the principles of PBS,” says Mallabar. Liu-Asomua adds that the training was “unquestionably high quality… PBS was the only programme we could find that had local research, an Aotearoa/ New Zealand context, and experienced practitioners and trainers”. “This course is a must” says Mallabar, “Students and teachers develop an awareness of personal, others, and environmental wellbeing by this simple but powerful practice.” Participants have also experienced personal benefits from the professional learning pathway. Jo Emerson, principal of Longburn School in Palmerston North, says she has noticed the benefits of “decluttering years of a brain used to busyness and filling it with calmness”. “Following the training I have taken a different approach both at work and at home in terms of embedding small mindful practices throughout my day,” Kat Liu-Asomua says.
are likely to receive the most benefit from increases in the quality of ECE.”
Ensure the revamped Te Whāriki is properly implemented. The Ministry has already committed to sector consultation for the review of the highly regarded 20-year-old ECE curriculum and progress looks promising. However, NZEI’s Paul Goulter stresses that “excellent implementation of a quality curriculum requires trained and well-supported teachers”.
Exempt ECEs from the new food safety regulations. The sector feels that while food safety is, of course, critical in ECE, the compliance costs relating to the new food safety legislation are unnecessary for a sector that is already regulated. The sector is calling for an exemption from the new regulations.
Equal pay. As a female-dominated sector, the ECE sector will be watching how events unfold with the equal pay negotiations affecting the aged care and home health sectors and whether it could have any bearing on pay levels for ECE teachers.
“I have also begun using the lessons and language at home. My kids have loved it and we have all begun to benefit and incorporate the language of PBS into our interactions.”
Become certified to teach the evidence-based Pause, Breathe, Smile programme and integrate mindfulness into your classroom. Pause, Breathe, Smile is New Zealand’s only locally developed and researched mindfulness in schools programme, aligned to the New Zealand Curriculum and incorporating Te Whare Tapa Wha. PBS Educator Certification is high-quality comprehensive training with accompanying audio, video and print resources. Register for a training date and region to suit you at:
www.mindfulnesseducation.nz Free Information Sessions in Auckland and Christchurch in March – details online.
NZ TEACHER 17
Ruapehu’s technology hub
– just one part of the puzzle All schools strive to engage with their communities. Some do it better than others. Here, JUDE BARBACK looks at an outstanding example of school-iwi partnerships in Ruapehu.
he youngest learner at technology learning hub Te Pae Tata is five years old. The oldest is 84. Ngāti Rangi kaumātua Olive Hawira got involved to learn how to better use her smartphone. Meanwhile Ruapehu College student Te Matau o Te Rangi Allen has been switched on to learning about mechatronics. Others are learning about coding, robotics, digital art, 3D printing and photography. Indeed, there is something for everyone at Te Pae Tata.
Te Pae Tata
proposals from education and digital technologies providers from around the country.
The Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan
Te Pae Tata’s success is largely due to the iwischool partnership that underpins it. The hub is actually just one piece in a much larger puzzle. It is one of 23 solutions that the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan (RWTP) has set out to achieve. The RWTP arose from Central North Island iwi Ngāti Rangi’s growing sense of disillusionment with the “stark statistics” of its area. They vowed not to rest until things changed and created a powerful new vision: “Kia mura ai te ora o Ngāti Rangi ki tua o te 1000 tau - Ngāti Rangi continues to vibrantly exist in 1,000 years”. A thousand years is a long time. The iwi expects the definition of “vibrantly existing” to evolve with each new generation, reflecting the technology, economy, education, values and overall environment of their lifetime. With its bold vision in place, the iwi and representatives from the Raetihi, Ohakune and Waiouru communities came together to form a
“We needed to do things differently because what has been done in the past hasn’t worked.”
Te Pae Tata is based at Ruapehu College – an old senior block at the college was converted into a onestop community learning centre and conference facility. However, it is community-focused rather than school-focused. Kids can come and study after school. Their parents can learn the digital basics or upskill in a particular area. The hub offers a range of digital technology courses to students, their whānau, and the wider community. It provides free access to high-speed fibre internet, computers and a relaxing breakout space and offers a number of low-cost or fee-free technology programmes. Among them are
18 NZ TEACHER
an eight-week course covering computer science basics, coding and an introduction to robotics, and a more advanced, exploratory class, learning to solve problems utilising technology. The announcement late last year that Te Pae Tata’s application for the Government’s digital technologies curriculum contestable funding was successful was the icing on the cake. The funding is to support projects relating to the new digital technologies curriculum.
Ruapehu’s project involves developing learning programmes for years 1 to 8, a year 9 entry profile and a year 10 exit profile, as well as a staff professional development initiative. With Te Pae Tata already established, and a Community of Learning (CoL) up and running, it made sense to develop a project to support the digital technologies curriculum at all year levels and across all schools in the CoL. The Ministry of Education clearly thought so too. Ruapehu’s application was one of nine chosen out of 74
Community engagement community reference group to develop the Ruapehu Whānau Transformation Plan. RWTP’s project manager Erena MikaereMost says the group is made up of influencers and leaders in their community. She says it is essential that the plan is developed and led by the community. “It has to come from the people. They are the ones who know what will work for their community. They also bring in all those employers. They are those employers.” The idea behind the RWTP is that it seeks to empower whānau to drive transformation for themselves. Not only that, but it seeks to transform the environment to better enable this whānau-driven transformation. As such, the RWTP involves five focus areas: education, housing, health, social and employment. Each focus area has two key opportunities for transformation and solutions that aim to address both opportunities together. The resulting 23 foundational solutions emerged from the Community Reference Group’s brainstorming.
Ngāti Rangi is keen to tap into the employment pathways that relate to digital technologies. The iwi is mindful that many of the local industries and manual jobs that currently provide employment for the community may not always exist. The name Te Pae Tata was carefully chosen for the hub; it means to bring distant horizons into the palms of our hands. The people of Ruapehu can expect to ‘plug in’ from anywhere and interact with a global audience.
“We’ve found some good local people who are qualified and passionate about digital technology and the advances that it can bring and the opportunities and the potential that it has for our tamariki. No matter where they might go, no matter what industry, no matter what job – they will need these competencies.”
The bigger picture
Basse is intensely interested in the “whole learner”. She doesn’t view their students as kids who “walk in at 8am and leave at 3pm”. She is well aware that any health, housing or other social issues will have a significant bearing on their learning outcomes and that, in turn, their learning outcomes will have a bearing on their employment prospects. To fully understand why Te Pae Tata is having such an impact, one must understand its place and purpose within the overall plan. The hub does much more than offer digital opportunities. It transcends school hours, removing limits to learning. It smashes the almost imperceptible barriers that lie at the schoolcommunity interface. It links the school and its purpose with that of its community so that education doesn’t happen in isolation to all the other things that are happening in people’s lives; rather it happens simultaneously, holistically. A line on the Te Pae Tata website sums it up beautifully: “Te Pae Tata provides a platform for so many things, but at the centre of it all is the moral imperative, and our mission; to empower and advance People, Place and Culture”.
“We’ve found some good people who are qualified and passionate about digital technology and the advances that it can bring and the opportunities and the potential that it has for our tamariki.”
Early signs of success
Progress has been swift since the RWTP was launched in July 2013. They have achieved 18 solutions so far and Mikaere-Most is confident they’ll achieve the remaining five in the next six months. She says signs of transformation started to show at the Community Careers Expo in February 2014, a mere six months after the plan was launched. “We didn’t just want people to get a drink bottle or a bag – we wanted them to get a job,” she said. “We needed to do things differently because what has been done in the past hasn’t worked.” So they offered free childcare during the expo and free transportation to and from the venue. In the four weeks prior to the expo, ‘work-ready workshops’ were held that looked at things such as CV preparation, interview tips and techniques, legal advice around employment rights, and the expectations of local employers. The expo itself was attended by 150 participants – an impressive turnout for such a small community – and of these, 76 registered for the job seekers’ database that day. There were 26 employment outcomes from the two-hour event alone and 38 in 2014 in total. More than half of these were straight off the unemployment benefit, says Mikaere-Most. She estimates this equates to around $1.1 million of new income for these whānau. “If someone goes from having no job to having a job, to having money coming in, then they’re worrying less about paying the bills and they’re spending more quality time with their whānau. And that’s what it’s all about.” Some members of the older generation were moved to tears by the atmosphere at the expo, such was the powerful feeling of hope.
“There is such opportunity and potential for us in our small area to earn well, comparative to major centres, through digital tech but stay at home where we love to be, and look after our whānau and our special place. And that’s something that the school gets, you know – they get that,” says Mikaere-Most. It is this sense of shared purpose, of mutual benefit, that guides the success of Te Pae Tata. “It’s bigger than just us and the school. It’s our entire community, it’s the iwi, it’s our history, it’s our present, it’s our future. We went into the partnership with a shared vision, a shared purpose that lives as part of the plan. “And considering the fact that our college is 70 per cent Maori it is very important that we have a strong, open and honest working relationship,” says Mikaere-Most. Ruapehu College principal Kim Basse agrees. She arrived at the school in May 2013, just as the RWTP was launching, and has been heavily involved ever since. She credits Te Pae Tata’s success with the meaningful and positive collaboration the school enjoys with such a “forward-thinking iwi”. She is quick to point out the level of hard work and commitment shown by a team of dedicated people spanning across the iwi-school partnership, including Mikaere-Most as well as the college’s deputy principal, Jason White and Te Pae Tata tutor Kawana Wallace. Mikaere-Most agrees.
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NZ TEACHER 19
An innovative spin
Carolyn STUART says schools need to establish themselves as “hubs of innovation” to meet the needs of their communities.
The spinning top is powered through inquiryhe start of each new school year breaches of the protocol will be addressed. Too based practice, with teachers, leaders and brings excitement and a freshness often schools spend considerable time developing students thinking deeply about how to maximise of opportunity. Teachers and leaders shared understandings around processes, but lack welcome the precious cohort of learners the learning opportunities in front of them. Having the organisational courage to tackle the individuals who will be in their care for the next 11 who think they are exempt from the agreements a growth mindset about the way we do things made. This speaks to the final ring of the spinning months. It is a lovely time of the year with everyone keeps the energy flowing and brings momentum. top. Shared values and vision sit at the centre of the coming together, revitalised from their long Collective responsibility for agreed norms spinning top because it is important that everyone summer break, and ready to begin another exciting is about everyone being committed to living out is working towards the same clearly understood journey of learning and discovery. the organisational norms and being collectively purpose. When values and vision are not well A new school year brings the chance to responsible for ensuring that everyone does what articulated, the potential for a competitive culture implement new ideas. It is also an opportunity to has been agreed. The spinning top becomes rather than a collaborative one is high. review past practices to decide if they still meet powerful when everyone takes responsibility for Representing vision and values through catchy the needs of today’s learners. Education, like most living each layer, not standing back and expecting slogans and signs is relatively easy. Getting other areas of our society, is changing at such a this work to just sit with the leaders. people to articulate and live them in their everyday pace that what has worked well in the past may It is the collective responsibility around agreed practice is much more challenging. Embedding no longer be appropriate. To stay up to date, norms, underpinned by trust in people and process, vision and values in everyday conversations, schools need to establish themselves as hubs of future-focused expectations, and shared values mantras and practices helps to bring them to life. innovation, so that they continue to meet the needs and visions that gives people the freedom to Moving out from vision and values is futureof the communities they serve. innovate. focused expectations. This is being clear about We all know the old saying: “Give a person a fish what are the essential skills and knowledge that to feed them for a day or teach them to fish to feed Making it spin them for a lifetime”. We need to apply the The spinning top was originally same kind of thinking to innovation in our Is it more important to focus our energies on developed to illustrate the dynamics schools. Is it more important to focus our implementing the latest ‘best practice idea’ of leading innovation and change in a energy on implementing the latest ‘best or are we better served focusing on setting school, but it works equally well at the practice idea’ or are we better served classroom level. As the school year up environments in which continuous focusing on setting up environments in begins: which continuous innovation can occur? innovation can occur? 1. spend time developing protocols around how you will treat each other Nurturing innovation 2. develop an environment where it is Setting up the right conditions for the norm to ask ‘why’? innovation in our schools and classrooms 3. don’t just put the vision and values is really important. Innovation occurring on the wall, put them into your haphazardly and without boundaries can speech and model them in your be as detrimental to student learning as actions teaching approaches that belong in the 4. spend time thinking about the future past. and locating what we do today into In a research project* investigating our tomorrow how to lead change with digital 5. processes that enable people to trust technology in education, the conditions and support each other so everyone for innovation in a school were studied has the chance to be the best they and summarised using the analogy of a can be. spinning top. The spinning top balances on a spindle of authentic relationships. These are relationships that exist across the entire school community and are built on the common platform of understanding and respect. At the start of the year, teachers should be encouraged to take the time to build these relationships, not only with each other, but with and between the students they teach and the whānau they serve. Often in the rush to get initial assessments completed, teachers neglect to put the relationship roots down deep enough, negatively impacting the critical teacher/ learner relationship for the rest of the year.
20 NZ TEACHER
today’s learners need, in order to experience success both now and in the future. The next ring illustrates the balance that is required between trust in process and trust in people. People feel safe when there are clear processes around how things work. For example, if an organisation has an agreed process around how people will behave in meetings, then it is more likely that everyone will feel safe contributing. They will feel even safer, if they know that any
Schools that are hubs of innovation have the best chance of remaining relevant and serving the purpose for which they were established. Today’s students deserve to learn in relevant contexts, and what better time to ensure this happens than now? * Mackey J, Davis N & Stuart C (with Henderson B, Rickard K, Lye A, Jeffries T & Simpson P). Leading change with digital technologies in education, SET Research Information for Teachers, (2), 17-25, 2015. Carolyn Stuart is Deputy Chief Executive, Education, for The Network for Learning (N4L).
Are league tables a fair way to DR JOHN BOEREBOOM suggests that a school’s effectiveness should be judged on the basis of how much the students learned from the time they entered the school to the time they left rather than simply relying on a traditional ‘snapshot’ measure in the NCEA exams.
tudents entering New Zealand secondary schools in year 9 come from a variety of socio-economic, cultural and ability backgrounds. They have been taught in different schools, by teachers of varying effectiveness, in different classrooms using different programmes, and have progressed at different rates. This is reflected in the results of school entrance testing, which shows the wide diversity of each school’s intake in terms of National Standards and curriculum level achievement. Despite this diversity at the start of secondary schooling, our education system measures the achievement of students in years 11–13 using NCEA as a common yardstick. The annual league tables published by the media rank schools on the basis of their students’ performances in NCEA. Parents and the public frequently make judgements about school effectiveness based on the ranking of the school. Parents often vote with their feet by enrolling their children in schools on the basis of ‘league table’ rankings. In some cases this has meant moving house to be in the zone of the preferred school. The school leagues even have an impact on property values and school zones make their appearance in real estate advertisements. Schools face the temptation of concentrating their efforts on those students considered capable of improving their NCEA scores, while giving less attention to those perceived less likely to improve. An inevitable result of league tables is that there are winners and losers. If our efforts to meet increasing demands for assessment, accountability, standards monitoring, quality assurance, school effectiveness causes us to lose sight of ensuring that what we offer in school education is accessible to all students it would be counterproductive. This leads to the question of whether league tables are a fair and valid way to compare schools and judge the effectiveness of individual schools and whether league tables contribute to a desirable outcome for our education system. The principal argument against league tables is that the performance of a school is determined largely by the pre-existing achievements of the students when they enter it. School intakes differ markedly in this respect and some schools have highly selective entry criteria. Horse-race comparisons of schools are at best misleading and may have detrimental effects on teaching and learning. It is therefore invalid to judge the quality of the education within a school solely in terms of league tables. At the grassroots level, principals and teachers of schools that rank poorly in the league tables often comment that their students have made tremendous progress during their time at school. Students in such schools may achieve below average NCEA results but they may have progressed more since entering secondary school than the students to whom they are compared. Which is the best way to measure school performance, the percentage of students getting A, M or E grades in NCEA or the growth and improvement shown by the students during their time at the school? Should a school’s effectiveness be judged on the basis of how much the students learned from the time they entered the school to the time they left rather than simply relying on a traditional ‘snapshot’ measure in the NCEA exams? These questions highlight that student performance on assessments can be measured in two very different ways. Achievement describes the summative
Value-added Progress Final Assessment Results eg NCEA
compare school effectiveness?
progress better than expected
national regression line
+ VA kept pace as expected - VA
kept pace as expected
Baseline Assessment Results (MIDYIS7 or 9) attainment of students in tests and Achievement Standards. Value-added assessment, in contrast, describes the progress made by students over the school year. In the past, students and schools have traditionally been ranked according to achievement. Value-added assessment is a way of analysing test data that can measure growth and progress. Starting with a baseline assessment in year 9, we can statistically predict the progress students are likely to make by the time they sit the NCEA exams in year 11. The value-added score measures whether the NCEA performance of a student, subject or school has kept pace, lagged behind or was better than expected when compared with students with similar scores in the baseline test nationally. This lens of measuring student learning provides schools with valuable information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of groups of students, as well as individual students. See table above. The Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Canterbury provides value-added analysis of NCEA results for New Zealand schools using the MidYIS9 assessment as a baseline in year 9. The value-added results and comprehensive online feedback show the relative value-added by different subjects in the school and the effectiveness of instruction for different ethnic and ability groups. The results can be used to identify giftedness and special learning needs, highlight effective practice, guide professional development and judge the effectiveness of educational interventions and changes to the school curriculum. The differences between NCEA results and value-added assessment are: NCEA achievement measures a student’s achievement at a single point in time is highly correlated with a student’s demographics and school decile rating compares student performance to a standard is used for certification and entry to further study. Growth measures a student’s progress across years compares student performance with his or her own prior performance is critical to ensuring a student’s future academic success. Both types of assessment are necessary and serve a different purpose. The summative NCEA results provide a snapshot in time used for the certification of students. The value-added results provide rich data and detailed diagnostic information that can be used by schools to inform teaching and learning. By measuring students’ academic achievement AND growth, schools have a more comprehensive picture of their own effectiveness in raising student achievement. The power of school-based data analysis can be further enhanced by correlating achievement and growth data with the results of student and teacher attitude and engagement surveys. Whatever approach is used, we need to remember that educational institutions have a responsibility for encouraging children’s learning and development across a much wider range of areas than can reasonably be tested. Dr John Boereboom is Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at the University of Canterbury. For references to this article please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
NZ TEACHER 21
Could this be New Zealand’s most
tech-savvy teacher town?
The remote and tiny East Coast town of Ruatoria has the highest per capita of Level 8 future-focused teachers in the country, says TIM GANDER, Gisborne Centre Director of The Mind Lab by Unitec.
hen people ask me where some of the most amazing changes in our schooling system are taking place, I tell them to look no further than the North Island’s East Coast. In 2015 The Mind Lab by Unitec opened its Gisborne hub in partnership with Eastland Community Trust, Activate Tairawhiti and NEXT Foundation offering learning experiences to support the development of the next generation of makers, doers, inventors and creators in the form of school group sessions and holiday programmes. The Mind Lab’s Postgraduate Certificate in Applied Practice (Digital & Collaborative Learning) for teachers proved popular in Gisborne and we soon began hearing from schools and teachers throughout the region. Enter the remote East Coast town of Ruatoria, population 750 – undeterred by the tyranny of distance and determined to ensure its teachers and students are equipped for the new ways of working, thinking and living that a digital future presents. Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Waiū o Ngāti Porou currently hosts the 36 educators from the Ruatoria area who are participating in The Mind Lab’s postgraduate programme. With this level of commitment, this gives Ruatoria the highest per capita of Level 8 future-focused teachers in the country, which is just incredible! Once a week throughout the duration of the practical portion of the course we make the 130-kilometre trip north from Gisborne to work with kaiako on the coast to enhance understanding
22 NZ TEACHER
of the many wonders technology has to offer in the learning space, and the pedagogical perspectives of how to incorporate it in everyday teaching practice through the lens of te ao Māori. What’s even more impressive is that many of the teachers are working to complete the course in te reo Māori, thanks to our dedicated Māori language assessors. Looking beyond Ruatoria, most schools throughout the East Coast region have embraced the qualification and made significant changes,
and chances to learn. It’s a testament to these teachers who care deeply about their pupils and will do all they can to give them the valuable tools they need to succeed. And the fantastic progress being made in the wider area is not going unnoticed, with Opotiki Primary’s Simon Woudberg being named a finalist in the 2016 NEXT Foundation Expert Teacher Award. Simon was recognised for his commitment to upskilling himself, and finding new ways to use
No matter where you are based in the country, you can access this programme to elevate your teaching practice and make an amazing difference to you and the lives of your students. from alternative feedback and assessment opportunities to the way they communicate with whānau and enhance links with wider community. At Waikirikiri School in Gisborne, students and teachers now work in a collaborative environment where everyone learns together. The idea is that instead of just having one teacher/one classroom, you can have two or three that work together, enabling a more learner-focused style. This has seen some big improvements in the school’s social environment with students working collaboratively and using the tools The Mind Lab has given them to refresh their interest in education and learning. We are also hearing amazing things about how students are now desperate for new assignments
technology in the classroom. Simon has been busy putting his newfound skills into action, combining his class with another teacher who had completed the course in order to engage his students in new, fun and collaborative ways. As you might expect, the postgraduate certificate has a significant online component allowing greater flexibility for teachers, who then have the option of working when and how they want, an element Simon has found invaluable. It really goes to show that, no matter where you are based in the country, you can access this programme to elevate your teaching practice and make an amazing difference to you and the lives of your students.
Signalling an end to reader/writers – the effectiveness of assistive technologies
When Kapiti College found providing reader/writers to its growing number of dyslexic students unsustainable, it looked to assistive technologies for answers.
student with dyslexia operates a computer that reads aloud, while another, who struggles with writing problems, uses a word-prediction program to help him with spelling, syntax, grammar and word choices. A vision-impaired student uses a talking calculator with a built-in speech synthesiser that reads aloud each number, symbol or operation key to complete his maths paper. In the not too distant past, students with a learning disability often had little access to such technology or aids that would help them learn, and improve the quality of their lives. In some cases, the aids were clumsy or unaffordable. In others, the technology was simply non-existent. Today however, thanks to advancements in technology, science and engineering, the range of aids and technology available can help students with a disability learn and boost their self-esteem. According to the New Zealand Government’s Disability Survey: 2013, the most common impairment type for children aged 0 to 14 years is learning. The survey found that a learning difficulty affects six per cent of all children in New Zealand and 52 per cent of disabled children. Usually the ability to learn is inhibited by a single physical, emotional, or neurological issue or a combination. In New Zealand, the survey revealed that the most common cause of impairment for children was a condition that existed at birth, affecting 49 per cent. Assistive technology increases learning opportunities in a general education curriculum and improves student self-esteem by enhancing their productivity. It lets students with a physical or learning difficulty complete tasks they could not normally do, or allows them to do tasks better and to work in mainstream classes. One technology that helps individuals with learning disabilities is speech recognition software. Students with learning disabilities often struggle to express themselves because of reading and spelling concerns. Common disabilities in this complex field include dyslexia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and attention deficit disorder. A number of schools have established special needs facilities at significant staffing costs, but often lack the one crucial assistive tool that can assist in this endeavour – speech recognition technology or SR. Kapiti College has had great success with Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition software. The college, which is a year 9-13 school located in Paraparaumu, Wellington, has about 150 students with dyslexia. Kapiti had initially been using reader/writers to help students. However, as the number of dyslexic students increased, supplying reader/writers became unsustainable. Also, teachers had noticed that some of the students were experiencing shyness and anxiety when using them. “They preferred to be in a situation where they were just interacting with the computer and in an environment that they felt was pressurefree,” said Kapiti College principal Tony Kane. “While we were exploring our options I came across an online article about the success that Sacred Heart College in Auckland was having with speech-to-text software, so we decided to take a closer look.”
Kane found that Nuance’s Dragon speech recognition solution was ideal. “It’s fast, has no problem adapting to accents, is highly accurate with technical language and is very easy to use.” The college purchased a number of 11.6-inch netbooks and loaded Dragon onto these. For easy access, the computers were made available in the building block where the year 9-11 dyslexic classes are most often taught. The software can also be accessed via what the college has dubbed ‘Dragon Dens’ – colour-coded spaces or rooms where the students can find additional Dragon-loaded computers. Teachers can book these rooms when the students need to complete assessments or the students can book themselves in. “Over 100 of our dyslexic students have now been trained on Dragon and we’ve found that while it doesn’t suit some, the vast majority have adapted fine,” explains Kane. “Their levels of usage vary widely, from occasional to very regular. For many of our regular users, they are producing work and evidence of learning of a quality that is far beyond their pre-Dragon days. “Earlier this year, we hosted the Education and Science Select Committee, who were following up on a visit by our dyslexic kids. As part of the morning, we took them to see students working in the Dragon Dens. They were surprised both at the relatively low cost of this assistive technology and the work that the kids were producing. “We’ve also been in discussions over the last year with NZQA and are part of the digital pilot of Level 1 English, media and French. Dragon worked perfectly in our trial. It remains to be seen whether it will work with the final version, but we are quietly confident.” Despite all the assistive technology, it is very much about the student. If the technology or hardware does not suit the student, it is likely to be abandoned, so pairing the right tool with each student is critical.
“It’s fast, has no problem adapting to accents, is highly accurate with technical language and is very easy to use.”
Voice Power staff involved with both schools in this article. Imagine the new levels of freedom & success students and teachers alike can experience with simple to use assistive technology and experienced support. Website www.voicepower.co.nz Freephone 0508 4 372466 (4DRAGON) Email email@example.com
NZ TEACHER 23
Top 7 Edu-tech
edu-tech trends for 2017
MEI LIN LOW discusses why technology should matter to every educator in 2017.
ith 2017 curriculum planning almost complete for the start of the academic year, technology and its role within classrooms is high on the agenda for educators. Like all industries, the education sector is experiencing rapid change. However, while change is exciting, there are significant challenges to be addressed, if recent ‘report cards’ are anything to go by. The latest Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2015 highlighted gaps within the New Zealand education system. Although some of the results in the study showed positive gains in areas like science, more work is needed to address New Zealand’s education inequity. Additionally, Polycom recently undertook its own Education 2025 study. Within ANZ it identified three inhibitors to creating a more positive education future: funding; the curriculum not keeping pace with future workforce needs, and the lack of government support.
A guide to the top 2017 edu-tech trends making an impact
As we know, schools and colleges are under increasing pressure to deliver technology enhanced learning particularly in areas like maths and science. Here are my thoughts on what technologies we should expect to see more of within classrooms during the next 12 months:
… the way we learn, teach and collaborate as educational professionals is set to change significantly. Unlike virtual reality, it allows the user to ‘maintain control’ of their environment by seeing the real world around them. Improvements in the performance and cost of solutions like Microsoft HoloLens (think first generation iPod versus latest iPod) will drive this technology into the mainstream.
‘Learn from anywhere, teach from anywhere’ mobile devices
While smart devices like tablets and smartphones are not new in themselves, they continue to gain in popularity as learning tools for students and educators. Offering ‘learn from anywhere’ accessibility, smart devices are also expected to play a significant role in bridging the education inequalities highlighted by PISA. However, the flip side to widespread availability is increased user familiarity and therefore a higher expectation of ‘what can I do’. To drive user adoption, smart devices and supporting apps will need to adapt to this ‘learn from anywhere, teach from anywhere’ mindset.
Delivering deeper engagement than a traditional textbook, virtual reality inside the classroom promotes content-rich learning and social interaction. It provides context in learning because the visual element of virtual reality enhances the relationships between concepts and information much better than reading alone. Tools like Google Cardboard are both a platform and a product to experience and encourage interest in virtual reality.
Witness the cult-like popularity of Pokémon Go. Augmented reality, which superimposes digital content, including hologram images, onto a user’s view of what they see is still relatively new.
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Widespread accessibility to ultra-fast broadband (UFB) and HD video is changing the way education is delivered. Improvements in equity of access are enabling remote-based students to receive the same education as their city-based peers. Having access to ultra-HD 4k video content inside and outside the classroom is also expected to become a popular way for students to engage with content, experts and each other.
Computer games are reinventing themselves as credible education tools. Popular games like Minecraft are teaching creativity, collaboration and problem solving.
Gamification of learning is an educational approach to motivate students, bringing game design and elements into the learning environment. For example, gaming accessories like Osmo convert any iPad into a learning device that enables children to discover a wide range of subjects from mathematics to coding, art to critical thinking.
Coding continues to grow in popularity as the curriculum catches up with education innovation. Learning coding skills helps children to develop critical thinking skills and problem solving processes that are not only important in computer science, but also in life. Teaching them how to look at the bigger picture, breaking down big challenges into smaller, more manageable tasks. More emphasis is expected on areas like coding and programming to ensure that students understand how to program and interact with technology.
The Maker Movement
This refers to the students who are becoming the creators and inventors of tomorrow. Already they are using technology as tools to bring their innovative concepts and ideas to life. The availability of ‘maker tools’ such as 3D printers and Raspberry Pi motherboards is playing a key role in driving this movement. It allows children to take what they’ve learned at school and test their theories by making prototypes or real-life models of their vision.
As these 2017 edu-tech trends indicate, the way we learn, teach and collaborate as educational professionals is set to change significantly. While no one can ever predict the future with absolute accuracy, we can plan for likely outcomes. There’s no denying that the ability to deliver accessible education for all, which is meaningful and relevant to the students of today – our future workforce – will be crucial. Mei Lin Low is director at Polycom Asia Pacific for Education and Healthcare Industries.
this article is sponsored by nZ careers expo
Getting young people career-ready
the NZ Careers Expo For more than 25 years the NZ Careers Expo has been helping young people to make important career and study decisions. And it’s getting bigger and better every year. JUDE BARBACK reflects.
well remember my first NZ Careers Expo in 1998. I was 16 and, thanks to a rather basic, computer-generated quiz, had already decided that I was going to be a diplomat. So with a career already chosen, my main motivation for attending the expo was just to get free stuff. But once I was at the expo an unexpected feeling of possibility and excitement washed over me as I wandered from one exhibitor to the next, each presenting a different opportunity, a potential pathway. Career options and tertiary courses I’d never before considered were suddenly within my grasp and my diplomatic dreams began to fade. Nearly 20 years later the NZ Careers Expo is continuing to provide that same buzz for students up and down the country, with expos being held in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch. Last year marked the NZ Career Expo’s 25th anniversary, with a record 40,000 visitors attending expos across New Zealand. The NZ Careers Expo provides the widest range of exhibitors of any careerfocused expo in the country, comprising New Zealand employers, industry, tertiary providers, training institutes, government departments and corporates.
he says. “Most of my friends weren’t sure what they wanted to do after school, so having conversations with people with knowledge about post-high school options was incredibly helpful for them.” Samuel Dale, who is now studying at the University of Auckland, agrees, saying the NZ Careers Expo he attended was very helpful and made up for insufficient careers advice at school. “Our high school definitely didn’t go over options with students very well.” says Samuel. “You definitely need to be on top of it yourself, in my experience.” And for schools that are savvy in the careers education department, the expos provide some great resources for careers advisors and their students. Jane Thomas, a careers advisor at Morrinsville College, says the NZ Careers Expo has given their students information on a wide range of tertiary and industry providers for a number of years. “Students of all ages benefit from attending the expo, and I encourage my students to attend with their parents/caregivers to make the most of the day,” says Jane. She believes the conversations that take place between students, their parents and the exhibitors are often the starting points for making sensible career planning decisions.
Exhibitors agree “It’s really important for us to be here,” says Trevor Todd, of the Pacific International Hotel Management School. “Education, for us, is a huge focus. The NZ Careers Expo is a great event for us because we get to talk to students who will be the future of hospitality, tourism and business and by sharing our story we are creating brand awareness.”
Christchurch teen Baxter Williams was among the thousands attending last year’s expo and says it was really helpful.
Jane Thomas, who is also national president of the Careers and Transition Educators Association (CATE), says the expo organisers regularly meet with, and listen to feedback from, the CATE national committee, to develop the NZ Careers Expo into an event that is “well worth attending”.
“I’m thinking of studying at Canterbury University after high school, so it was great to talk to people from the university,”
Jane is particularly enthusiastic about the new World of Work Careers Hub, an exhibit in the centre of the expo hall aimed at providing
young people with careers information and helping them to become “work ready”. “The new World of Work feature at the expos incorporates Vocational Pathways and provides more meaning for students as to how VPs can influence their career choices. This has given some more interactive context for students so they can see the wide range of careers available to them.” The interactive features are certainly impressive. Students can chat with career consultants, enjoy ‘Just the Job’ workplace profiles or watch footage in interactive digital kiosks of Kiwi employers talking about their workplaces. Exhibitors also provide hands-on demonstrations of their industries on a stage. In terms of what’s new for 2017, the NZ Careers Expo has just entered into an exclusive media partnership with NZME, publishers of JETmag. As New Zealand’s go-to magazine and website for advice on jobs, education and training, JETmag is well placed to reach school leavers with all the need-to-know news and views relating to the NZ Careers Expo. With dates and locations confirmed for this year, the NZ Careers Expo is once again ready to help more young Kiwis explore career possibilities and study options they might never have considered. 2017 dates and locations for the NZ Careers Expo: Christchurch Horncastle Arena, 11–13 May, Auckland ASB Showgrounds 25–27 May, Hamilton Claudelands Events Centre, 11–12 June; Wellington TSB Arena, 16–17 June. To enquire about being part of the 2017 NZ Careers Expo, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or go to www.careersexpo.org.nz. To register your school to attend the nearest 2017 NZ Careers Expo, go to www.careersexpo.org.nz.
“The Awards have been a great way of demonstrating to our community that, even though we might have more than 3,000 students, each of them is treated as an individual and their interests remain at the heart of every decision we make.” MIKE SHAW – VICE-CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES RANGITOTO COLLEGE
The Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards are now open. Share your journey and your team could stand among those recognised in 2017. Enter now at pmawards.education.govt.nz