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IES - "Investing in Educational Success", Professor Martin Thrupp

Some international views of the IES, by Martin Thrupp

Last week I gave a presentation to some Australian and English academics in Sydney (see slides below). I wanted to emphasise the dilemmas faced by the sector and how the opportunity to be ‘in the tent’ and negotiate had heightened rather than reduced those dilemmas. I tried to give a fair representation of the different points of view, along with some of my own framing of course. Here are some of the main responses from the audience (in no particular order):

  • Clustering of schools is often becoming seen by governments as a better way to push neo-liberal reform along than a focus on individual schools (whether clusters, groups or federations e.g. academies in England).
  • Clustering encourages the culture of entrepreneurial superheads that has become so important in leading educational reform in England (Michael Wilshaw as mentioned in one of the slides is a good example).
  • The clustering idea tends to function as an expression of various fears, but what is it affirming?
  • Policy flows between limit points and it is possible to make too much of autonomy or collaboration, that in practice both always have to exist anyway.
  • The IES might be seen by secondary principals as a means of addressing teacher performance issues that are more difficult to get a handle on in secondary schools than in primary schools.
  • Dismay about the NZ primary and secondary sectors becoming so divided in response to policy – some Australian states have had this experience too.
  • Important to recognise that any large-scale reform like this now typically leads to new opportunities for privatisation, contracting out etc.
  • The importance, as always, of national and local contexts and trajectories of reform that mean that governments push on particular bits of policy at different times in different countries, even if the overall direction is similar.

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Professor Martin Thrupp’s expertise is in: Social class and education; the impact of managerialism and performativity in schools; school choice and competition; international policy borrowing; contextualised approaches to educational leadership.

For more information on Professor Thrupp’s work and publications, see here.



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5 thoughts on “Some international views of the IES, by Martin Thrupp

  1. You say that the NZEI has rejected the PPTA’s complaint that they asked members to vote on the original IES proposal – but that’s EXACTLY what the NZEI did.

    NZEI, PPTA, NZSTA, SPANZ, the SPC, and the Ministry were all working together in negotiations from February onwards, until about July this year when the NZEI walked away from the negotiations. The IES that the NZEI voted to reject is absolutely not the same IES that the NZEI and PPTA negotiated with the Ministry – their members voted to reject the IES that was initially proposed by the government back in January, and that IES would never have worked (and the Ministry, NZEI, and PPTA all agreed that it would never work, which is why we all negotiated a new IES). Quite why the NZEI put a non-existent scheme to the vote is a question I can’t answer.


    Posted by magnusfrater | November 10, 2014, 3:54 pm
  2. MAGNUSFRATER, from day one the responses of NZEI and PPTA to the IES were poles apart. In initial media reactions NZEI Te Riu Roa stated that the Government had decided to put money into a the wrong area while PPTA was very positive. This, of course showed a difference in strategy, but also reflected the developing differences in early childhood and primary cultures when compared with secondary, and as Martin suggests, a difference in relationships with Government.
    It is true that NZEI engaged in the working parties as directed by the membership in meetings around the country. It is also true that NZEI presented lone dissenting views at a number of points within that process.
    At the end of that process NZEI Te Riu Roa members voted to disengage following a report back. This occurred at the end of a process where they were highly engaged throughout. Members made the final decision without a recommendation from the executive on how to vote. To suggest that they took that vote based upon the January design is simply untrue and devalues your primary colleagues.


    Posted by john | November 10, 2014, 10:54 pm
  3. My understanding is that NZEI went to members in August with the letter of offer from the Ministry (ie from June) and a choice of whether to disengage completely or to support a counter claim to the MoE’s offer. I’ve looked at both the ballot paper and the counter-claim document and neither supports the complaint that NZEI was only asking members to vote on the original proposal. For instance the wording of the August ballot paper is ‘the IES model as currently proposed by the government’. By that stage the IES working group report and cabinet approval had been public for two months and widely discussed within the sector. The Ministry claim as outlined in the counter-claim document is clearly not from January either.


    Posted by Martin Thrupp | November 10, 2014, 10:56 pm
  4. John – except NZEI members didn’t vote to reject the IES plan that they and PPTA had helped negotiate over the six months to July. They voted to reject the original proposal that John Key floated in January. I’m not devaluing my primary colleagues – just pointing out that the NZEI have behaved very disingenuously.


    Posted by magnusfrater | November 11, 2014, 7:57 pm
  5. Magnusfrater, you don’t appear to have understood my or Professor Thrupp’s points. What NZEI members voted on in the August ballot was a claim to alter the collective which was built around the Working Group Report. The claim failed to take cognisance of the number of points where NZEI had stood out from other participants and had produced alternative papers. When you describe NZEI as disingenuous I can only conclude that you are decribing the membership who, as I said in my original comment were engaged throughout. I’m not sure the same could be said of PPTA members.


    Posted by jm6213 | November 19, 2014, 8:42 pm

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