Following the announcement of the Government’s Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy in January, Upper Hutt School Principals and Boards of Trustees were concerned about the direction of spending for the $359,000,000. We are excited about the prospect of a large sum of money being injected into education, but we question the use of this going mainly into salaries for just a few teachers and principals. We believe the greatest need for the $359,000,000 is for it to be paid directly to schools to support children’s learning.
In order to be proactive and informed, principals and boards have since met with representatives from NZ School Trustees Association, NZ Educational Institute and the Ministry of Education. We have also kept up to date with all information coming from the NZ Principals’ Federation and the latest (limited) information from the Ministry of Education about the policy detail.
At this point in time, despite our insistence and perseverance to ensure we are fully informed about the policy, we remain concerned that:
• the Ministry of Education has not actively sought the direct views of BOTs, principals and teachers;
• a substantial amount of funding is going to individual roles and salaries, when our community of Upper Hutt schools has identified other priorities;
• there appears to be a lack of evidence about the effectiveness of this policy on improving outcomes for children in NZ, and in particular, the children of Upper Hutt;
• the policy appears to promote competition within the sector, as opposed to supporting the way in which we currently work together;
• the short timeframe for implementation does not allow for adequate consultation with BOTs, principals, teachers and parents;
• the model appears to be an inflexible ‘one size fits all’;
• experienced, effective classroom teachers may be out of their own classrooms two days a week to perform the role of expert teacher.
After meeting with Graham Stoop from the Ministry of Education, it became apparent the justification for this policy is to create communities of schools who work collaboratively for the benefit of students in their local area. It was acknowledged by Stoop that Upper Hutt schools already work in a collaborative model with a range of networks to support our children. In our view, we do not require executive positions to be established, nor do we want a salary to go to an individual principal. We were absolutely clear that we want and need the money to go towards funding projects to support students in our schools.
We acknowledge that there are some potential strengths with IES, but believe that without a longer timeframe for development, genuine engagement with the profession and communities, and a rethink on the allocation of funds, this policy will not meet the needs of Upper Hutt children.
In our view, this policy represents a significant change in education and has far reaching implications for the way in which our schools are self-managed. Upper Hutt schools are and will continue to be fully committed to working together to support our children, without the proposed financial incentives for individuals. We believe it is really important that the Upper Hutt community is fully informed about this policy and its implications for our community.
If you have any questions, we are committed to answering these as best we can and pointing you in the direction of further information. Please don’t hesitate to contact any of us.
Birchville School Simon Kenny (Principal),
Fergusson Intermediate School Paul Patterson (Principal)
Fraser Crescent School John Channer (Principal)
Hutt International Boys’ School Mike Hutchins (Principal)
Maidstone Intermediate School Kerry Baines (Acting Principal)
Mangaroa School Glenys Rogers (Principal)
Maoribank School Paula Weston (Principal)
Oxford Crescent School Leanne White (Principal)
Pinehaven School Kaylene Macnee (Principal)
Plateau School Nigel Frater (Principal)
St Brendan’s School Nicole Banks (Acting Principal)
St Joseph’s School Peter Ahern (Principal)
Silverstream School Mary Ely (Principal)
Totara Park School Joel Webby (Principal)
Trentham School Suzanne Su’a (Principal)
Upper Hutt School Peter Durrant (Principal)
Ara Te Puhi (Board Chair)
Wendy Eyles (Board Chair)
Rose Tait (Board Chair)
Murray Wills (Board Chair)
Heather Clegg (Board Chair)
Dave Wellington (Board Chair)
Kerry Weston (Board Chair)
Leanne Dawson (Board Chair)
Hayden Kerr (Board Chair)
Darrell Mellow (Board Chair)
Jason Wanden (Board Chair)
Matt Reid (Board Chair)
Margaret Davidson (Board Chair)
Chris O’Neill (Board Chair)
Gavin Willbond (Board Chair)