Following the strong negative vote against the IES in August, NZEI Te Riu Roa has continued to work with the Ministry to find a way forward.
NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry of Education have jointly launched a new initiative to support success for New Zealand children and young people at every level of their learning.
Both our union and the Ministry have agreed it is in the best interests of students and the education system to recognise our differences but to make progress where there is agreement – in particular, keeping students at the centre of teaching and learning, supporting successful collaboration and transitions and developing improved career pathways.
While it is early days, I am confident that members will continue to work together to help develop this into a viable, sustainable and long term alternative to the IES.
The initiative announced is a significant step for all NZEI members and a way forward for NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Ministry. It has come about because members kept true to our values. We rejected the IES and called for a Better Plan. We asked for genuine discussion with educators. We asked for flexible, locally-driven ways to support collaboration. We asked for resourcing to support kids and their learning, not just for new roles. We rejected top-down, one-size fits all models and said we should build off existing successful practice. We voted against National Standards being the determinant of resourcing or roles. We asked for evidence-based approaches.
This new initiative provides a framework that supports our goals and our approach to ensuring all children get quality education. It is what you, as members, have been fighting for, and it takes us into a proactive space where we can work on developing and enhancing what we know is really best for education.
SO WHAT IS THIS NEW INITIATIVE?
The new initiative will seek to identify:
- flexible models of collaboration
- improved transitions for children and students from early childhood education through their schooling, and
- the possible resourcing and career pathways required to support this.
The initiative is comprehensive, looking at what resourcing and roles are needed throughout early childhood education, primary, support staff and special education.
Any new roles identified will be linked to existing career pathways and be negotiated into collective agreements.
Educational achievement is identified in the initiative’s terms of reference as being the vision of student success outlined in the NZ Curriculum, not a narrow National Standards measurement.
Ministry and NZEI joint working parties will also look at existing and potential models of learning communities that encourage greater collaboration and support successful transition. We want to engage with schools and ECE services around New Zealand to identify successful examples of collaboration and transition on-the-ground, as well as through research. You can read the fullTerms of Reference for the joint work here.
We believe this is an exciting opportunity for NZEI members to really help improve the education system, based on what we know works for kids. It includes elements of our Better Plan – isues that members and parents prioritised for more investment. And the agreement means we can look at work being done now in schools to lift achievement and work with the Ministry to build flexible and locally determined learning communities.
HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED?
There will be working parties established to look at collaboration, transition and success for Maori and Pasifika learners. These working parties will be looking for examples of successful practice throughout New Zealand.
- Click here to tell us what you think are the important factors in successful collaboration. To help your thinking, look at these brief videos of some successful learning networks and communities
- Tell us about examples of successful collaboration or child/student transitions in your own practice, school, service or wider network that the working parties may be interested in.
There will also be a brief video outlining the main points of the new initiative on www.nzei.org.nzshortly.
Principals and BoT staff reps – please inform your Board and school community of this initiative. There is more information here.
The working parties will meet at the start of 2015 and work through to the end of May. However the terms of reference recognise that further work beyond May will be required given the scope of this initiative.
The Ministry will continue implementation of the IES with willing schools but we are confident that this new initiative will better meet the needs of children and our sectors. We continue to encourage schools to stand by the August vote and not engage with the IES but instead put energy into this new way forward.
Have a great festive season and a relaxing holiday.
President Te Manukura