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What Now For Education?

The voting is over, the preliminary results are in, and New Zealand First are calling the shots.

Winston Peters’ coalition decision will decide who is in government, but he is such an enigma that it’s impossible to know what he will do. Will he go right with National, or will he go left with Labour and the Greens – we really don’t know.

However, for education, the two possible outcomes stand in stark contrast.

Scenario A: NZ First and National

NZ First and National have incredibly different visions for education:

  • NZ First want to restore the requirement for all ECE providers to ensure that the 100% registered teacher staffing ratio is achieved. National removed that provision.
  • NZ First want to replace National Standards at Years 1 to 8, with children’s progress and achievement being assessed against level bands within the New Zealand Curriculum. In contrast, National want to further embed National Standards via ‘National Standards Plus’.
  • NZ First want to repeal the amendments to the Education Act 1989 that allowed the creation of charter schools. National want to expand the charter school experiment.
  • NZ First want to work with the sector to provide for professional development and re-establish the curriculum and school support advisors that National got rid of.
  • NZ First want to ensure the education sector can elect its own representatives to sit on the Education Council. National took this right away from teachers.

NZ First and National are just not in agreement on the future of our education system, and with an NZ First/National government, it would be an uphill battle for NZ First to effect any changes to National’s plans.

Scenario B: NZ First, Labour and the Greens

In stark contrast, there is enormous agreement on what is needed in education between NZ First, Labour and the Greens:

  • All three parties want to restore 100% trained Early Childhood Education (ECE) teachers and promise to restore funding to support that.
  • All three parties want to get rid of National Standards.
  • All three parties want to increase funding and support for teachers’ professional development.
  • All three parties want to repeal charter school legislation.
  • All three parties want teachers to have the right to elect their own representatives to the Education Council.

All three also want an inclusive model that properly supports children with Special Educational Needs, and all three want adequate funding for support staff.

Clearly, NZ First, Labour and the Green Party are on the same page when it comes to education.

Use your teacher voice

If your vision for the NZ education system aligns with NZ First, Labour and the Green Party, you might want to ‘cast your vote’ one more time and email Winston Peters at winston.peters@parliament.govt.nz to ask him to put education at the forefront of his decision.  With Tracey Martin and Chris Hipkins together, education would be in safe hands.

~ Dianne Khan

 

 

National Standards – which Parties will keep them and which will ditch them?

It’s election time again, but before choosing which Party to vote for, make sure you know what their education policies are – and pay attention to what isn’t mentioned, too.

This time we are looking at National Standards.

New Zealand Political Parties’ Policies on National Standards

Labour

“Labour will abolish national standards to return the focus to a broad and varied curriculum with the key competencies at the heart. Labour will ensure that the education system embraces and fosters essential skills and competencies such as attitude, communication, commitment, teamwork, willingness to learn, motivation, self-management, resilience and problem-solving.”

“Labour will abolish national standards and work with experts and stakeholders to develop a new system that better acknowledges child progress and focuses on the key competencies”

“Labour will scrap the current approach of measuring the success of schools by the number of students achieving national standards or NCEA, and will work with teachers, principals, parents, tertiary institutions and the Education Review Office (ERO) to develop more effective ways of evaluating the performance of schools”

“Labour will re-direct resources spent forcing “National Standards” on schools into teacher professional development programmes that assist students who are struggling”

Source

Green

“The Green Party will: Oppose the system of National Standards that was introduced in 2010, and remove the requirement for schools to report against them”

“The Green Party will: Work with teacher organisations to develop an assessment model or models that allow tracking of student progress against national data; to be used to inform further teaching and learning in partnership with students and their
families.”

“The Green Party will: Oppose the publication of league tables which rank schools on academic achievement.”

Source

NZ First

“New Zealand First would abolish National Standards and re-establish professional learning and development support for the quality delivery of our New Zealand Curriculum with monitoring as to children’s progress based on curriculum levels.”

“New Zealand First believes that all students need to be literate and numerate but does not believe that the black and white National Standards imposed on our primary school children are fit for purpose. Our national curriculum documents, the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, have identified curriculum achievement levels that are progressive and overlapping – children are not expected to achieve at the same level at the same time.”

“New Zealand First will: Abolish National Standards in their current form and work with the sector to establish robust assessment measures for individual students and to identify nationwide goals for primary education.”

Source

MANA

Mana will: “Replace National Standards with processes that help parents assess their child’s progress”

Source

TOP

TOP will: “Reduce assessment, giving more time for teaching and learning.”

“TOP will delay National Standards until Year 6”

Source

National

“National is [also] ensuring a better education through: Providing parents with better information through National Standards so they know how well their child is doing at school.”

Source

ACT

The ACT Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

The Maori Party

The Maori Party’s education policy does not mention National Standards.

Source

United Future

United Future has no education policy on its web page.

Source

Edits/Corrections/Amendments

If you spot any errors or missing information relating to this post, please comment below and I will edit as quickly as possible.

Thank you,

Dianne Khan – SOSNZ

NZ First Introduces Bill to Protect the Title of “Teacher”

Tracey Martin NZ FirstTracey Martin MP, Spokesperson for Education – Press Release

New Zealand First wants to protect the title of “teacher” and we will introduce a member’s bill to do so this week.

“The National Government, with support of the ACT Party and Maori Party, continue to amend the Education Act to allow individuals without in depth teacher training to market themselves as ‘teachers’ to parents and students.

“This is an attack on the status of our teachers and is likely to lower the standard of teaching and learning in schools.

“Parents should be 100% confident that anyone using the title of teacher has successfully completed the appropriate qualifications to support their students learning.

“This government has allowed Charter Schools to put untrained and unqualified individuals into classrooms and call themselves teachers. The new Education Amendment Bill will allow well-meaning degree graduates to market themselves as teachers, without in class supervision, after only an eight week Christmas course.

“Under the New Zealand First bill all parents can be assured that if their child has a ‘teacher’ then they are being taught by an educational specialist. By providing this simple method of identification parents truly have choice when it comes to who is leading the learning in their child’s education,” says Mrs Martin.

~ ENDS

Blindly Defending Failed Charter Schools Experiment – NZ First Press Release

Tracey Martin NZ FirstNational’s charter schools are “crashing and burning” while the Education Minister Hekia Parata blindly defends this failed experiment in taxpayer funded privatisation of education, says New Zealand First.

“Northland school Te Kura Hourua ki Whangaruru was dysfunctional right from the start,” says Deputy Leader and Education Spokesperson Tracey Martin. “A governor has been brought in, the school has lost staff and the roll began falling from the minute it opened its doors seven months ago.

“This school was always going to be a challenge because it took on some of the most difficult students. But, with the Ministry of Education painting a picture of weak governance, staff resignations and poor planning, what chance do the students have to get a decent education?

“Most charter schools are failing to reach their required minimum roll and are receiving taxpayer top-ups. What’s more, the rolls at two schools are falling.

“Charter schools are proving costly to taxpayers. Their performance has to be questioned when the ministry refuses to release performance reports for them.

“How can the government go ahead with plans to approve the opening of even more charter schools next year, when just one school in Northland has cost $2.4 million so far.

“New Zealand First will end this ideological experiment that is charter schools and find more appropriate solutions for these children.”

Source: http://nzfirst.org.nz/news/blindly-defending-failed-charter-schools-experiment

 

The Political Parties’ Education Policies – in their own words

Make a cuppa, grab a couple of bikkies, and take the time to watch this video before you choose where to put your vote on September 20th.

“The Wellington region of the New Zealand Post Primary Teachers’ Association / Te Wehengarua (PPTA) invited the main political parties’ education spokespeople to deliver their views to a live audience.

Here is the video clip of the well attended event.”

 

 

Education matters.

.

Source: http://www.ppta.org.nz/issues/election2014/3099-education-debate-wellington-12aug2014

Hipkins and Martin well received, Parata not so much – what happened at the Tick For Kids Education Forum 12.8.14

There was an air of excitement, tension and hope at last night’s Tick For Kids education forum in Wellington.  The room was packed, and people were very keen to hear what the parties’ representatives have to say about education policy.

Kiwis are no fools, though, with people well aware of what Chris McKenzie called the pre-election lolly scramble to present popular policy, only 10% of which we might see post-election.

Given what we have heard so far and what was presented at this forum, we can only hope that far more than 10% of the promises come to fruition should there be a change in government.

So, to the night.  

The panel comprised Hekia Parata (National), Chris Hipkins (Labour), Tracey Martin (NZ First), Peter Dunne (United Future), Chris McKenzie (Maori Party), Suzanne Ruthven (Greens), and Miriam Pierard (Internet-Mana) and was MCed very well by Dave Armstrong.

The candidates’ names were drawn from a bowl to determine the order in which they spoke – all very fair and orderly – and Armstrong made clear that people were welcome to mention each other, refer to other parties’ policies, and so on – unlike the shambles at Helensville the previous night.  That got a big giggle.

(Clearly the Helensville event wasn’t run by Tick For Kids, otherwise it would have been far more interesting and informative.)

First up was Chris McKenzie (Maori Party)

McKenzie outlined a credible background in education and then won a significant ripple of applause when he said the Maori Party will reinstate ACE (Adult and Community Education) funding.  

McKenzie also said they would make Te Reo compulsory and would look into the teaching of civics so that students understand the democratic process.  

Given I had spent 90 minutes the night before trying to explain that very thing to my babysitter, I could well understand the need for civics in the curriculum.  Maybe my high school colleagues can fill me in on what they feel is needed?

Peter Dunne (United Future) was up next 

Dunne spoke mostly in generalities, with lots of feel good stuff about great teaching and high expectations, saying he wouldn’t be more specific as United Future’s policy is not out until next week!  

He did, however, go out on a high note by stating UF would work to repeal charter schools.  

Cue more audience applause.

Hekia Parata (National; Education Minister) was the next to take centre stage

Hekia tfkWellyParata started by saying that student achievement had risen during National’s time in government and that now students are staying in school longer, saying that there was still more to do, especially for the neediest groups.

There was a wee round of clapping from one corner of the room.  I later spotted that group leaving with Ms Parata – whether anyone *not* in her entourage clapped, I cannot say for sure…

Parata then said that special education needs was a key area of focus, and this elicited mumbling from the audience, most of whom are no doubt well aware that SEN provision is diabolical and has only got worse under this government.  For my own part, it was all I could do to stay quiet and not shout “Tell that to Salisbury School!”

Parata continued on to say that Investing in Education Success (IES) policy would see to it that those issues are all addressed.  This did not go down well with the audience. There was muttering.

Parata ended with a flourish by pronouncing “decile is not destiny” and banging the lectern. It might have gone down well were it not for the fact that teachers KNOW THAT already and don’t take kindly to being patronised.  If she was waiting for a round of applause for her showmanship, she was disappointed.

And if showmanship is what was called for, we were in luck, because the next person to speak was Tracey Martin (New Zealand First), who always gives a clear and excellent speech.

Tracey Martin (New Zealand First)

Martin pulled no punches, opening by saying that teachers and the education system have been under constant attack by this government and it’s been relentless.  She listed what we have seen from National: increased class sizes, charter schools, national standards and more.  

Martin said parents were tricked into supporting (or at least not fighting) National Standards by the promise that they would be helpful, but said that’s not turned out to be the case.  

Tracey Martin tfkWellyMartin said that *if* Hekia Parata actually meant the things she said and did what she said, things would be far better, but she says one thing when she is means another.

In other words, the sales pitch doesn’t match what’s delivered.  

The audience seemed to agree, with a large clap and mutterings of “too right”.

There was no pause as Martin went straight into EDUCANZ and the assault on teachers’ democracy.  More clapping.

Martin then made absolutely clear that NZF would repeal both National Standards and charter schools.  Applause from the room.

She went on to say that the conversation about how to improve education needs to be given back to teachers, that the sector itself needs to be involved and listened to.  

She said change should be driven by teachers and facilitated by politicians, not the other way around.

Barely pausing for breath, Martin said Boards of Trustees (BOTs) would get compulsory training under NZF plans, ORS funding would increase to 3%, and there would be more money for special needs across the board.

This was all very well received by the audience, and Martin ended by saying (in a wee dig at Dunne) that New Zealand First’s education policy is already online, in full, and had been there for three months.  She urged us all to read it.  You should.

Suzanne Ruthven (Green Party)

Tracey Martin was a hard act to follow, but Suzanne Ruthven from the Green Party (who was standing in for Catherine Delahunty due to a family emergency) spoke to the effect of poverty on a student’s chances of success, said that education needed to be seen in its wider context, and outlined briefly the Green Party’s School Hubs Policy.  

Ruthven explained that School Hubs would be flexible, there was money there for a Hub coordinator so that teachers were not expected to run them on top of their workload, and that schools and communities to mould them in whatever ways best suited their own needs.

And now to Chris Hipkins (Labour)

Chris started by saying he got a top rate education in a state school, and thanked his maths teacher who he had spotted at the back of the room.

He won the crowd over further by quoting Beeby:

“…every person, whatever his level of academic ability, whether he be rich or poor, whether he live in town or country, has a right, as a citizen, to a free education of the kind for which he is best fitted, and to the fullest extent of his powers.” C E Beeby

Without a pause for breath, Hipkins said charter schools would be repealed under Labour. National Standards would be gone. IES would be gone.  School donations would be addressed. 

He then said the Advisory Service would be put back in place, and the audience erupted into applause and cheers.

He went on – ECE would be funded to 100% qualified staff – more clapping

– and EDUCANZ would be ditched – HUGE applause and cheers, again, from the audience.

Hipkins sat down with the clapping still going.

Miriam Pierard was next up

Pierard explainsed that until very recently she was a teacher, and she believes once a teacher always a teacher.  

It is, she says, time to take the education system back.

Pierard was clear that poverty and education need to be addressed together and that any government must work alongside teachers to find solutions.  She stressed that the Internet Party want to hear from teachers about what they believe needs to be done. 

Pierard reminds the crowd that ACT Party describe teachers as “vile” and says not all politicians feel that way.

Pierard ends by asking how many teachers in the room have been stuffed over by Novopay? Over half the hands went up.  There’s applause for the recognition of the scale of the problem. She nods, sagely.  

We all nod.  

And sigh.

And with that, the candidates’ speeches are over, and we are onto Question Time… which deserves a post all of its own….

________________________________________________

Other articles about the event:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10378693/Hekia-Parata-put-in-corner-at-debate

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11307961

https://storify.com/Dianne_Khan/tick-for-kids-education-forum-wellington-12-8-14

http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/election-2014/252029/crowd-puts-tough-questions-to-parata

Political heavyweights go head to head on children’s issues

Key political figures will debate the rights and interests of children at a forum to be held at Ponsonby Primary in Auckland next week.

The event promises to be a lively one with Education Minister Hekia Parata facing off against a full complement of party spokespeople and candidates.

Those taking part alongside Hekia Parata include:

  • Jacinda Ardern (Labour)
  • Denise Roche (Greens)
  • Miriam Pierard (Internet Mana)
  • Tracey Martin (New Zealand First Deputy)
  • John Thompson (ACT President)

The event is being run under the banner of ‘Tick for Kids’; a collective that seeks to put the interests of children at the centre.

Spokesperson Anton Blank says, “We want New Zealanders to engage with politicians about issues for our children. These local events provide platforms for everyone to articulate these concerns to political candidates directly.”

With so many important politicians involved the debate is bound to be vigorous and wide-ranging, covering education, health, housing and child poverty.

“We know that the New Zealand public is concerned about increasing rates of child poverty,” says Anton Blank.

He states that the ‘Tick for Kids’ movement, which is less than a year old, is becoming an important non-partisan force in New Zealand and the engagement of politicians in ‘Tick for Kids’ events is proof of that.

When: Wednesday August 6th

Where: Ponsonby Primary School, 44 Curran Street, Herne Bay, Auckland

See event information.

.

——————————————————-

For more information:

http://tick4kids.org.nz/

https://www.facebook.com/tickforkids

 

Survey Of Political Parties On Child Well-Being Issues

Bryan Bruce - Inside child povertyby Bryan Bruce, Knowledge is Power

Last week I surveyed all the political parties on where they stood on 10 issues  directly or indirectly  related to child well-being in New Zealand.

They were asked which of them they would or would not support  in principle  should it come to a vote in the upcoming parliament.

Bill English on behalf of National refused to take part in the survey saying the questions were ‘hypothethical”.

National are also now the only party not to commit to cross-party talks after the election to see if some long term solutions to issues surrounding child poverty can be found.

Some parties chose to give ‘No Answer’ to some of the questions because their party had not yet formed a view. National’s refusal to respond has also been listed as ‘No Answer’ …..

1. Warrant of fitness to be compulsory for all rental properties within three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

2. Progressively extend the paid parental leave period to 12 months within the next six years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Maori Party

3. Free healthy lunches to be made available to all school children within the next 6 years. The scheme to be introduced first to decile 1, 2 and 3 schools and then rolled out progressively up to decile 10 schools.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party

United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

Labour

ACT

Conservative Party

NO ANSWER

National

4. Free 24 hour medical care be made available to all children and young people up to, and including, the age of 18 within the next three years.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Maori Party

Mana

NZ First

United Future

Alliance

Conservative Party

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

Labour

5. One health nurse for every 300 school children and a free doctor visit to schools once a week

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Mana

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Labour

National

NZ First

6. Create low interest initiatives to allow families to build or buy affordable healthy housing.

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

NO ANSWER

National

7. The introduction of a “living wage” rather than a “minimum” wage?

WOULD SUPPORT

Green Party Labour

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Internet Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Conservative Party

Democrats For Social Credit

United Future

NO ANSWER

NZ First

National

8. Remove GST from food.

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

Maori Party

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

United Future

NO ANSWER

Internet Party

NZ First

National

9. Repurchase the electricity system to be run as a public utility and not for profit?

WOULD SUPPORT

Mana

NZ First

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

WOULD NOT SUPPORT

ACT

Green Party

Labour

Maori Party

United Future

NO ANSWER

Conservative Party

Internet Party

National

 

10. Does your Party undertake to take part in cross party talks after the election to reach long term solutions to child poverty related issues?

YES

Green Party

Labour

Mana

NZ First

Maori Party United Future

ACT

Alliance

Democrats for Social Credit

Conservative Party

Internet Party

NO ANSWER

National

 

Source: Knowledge is Power

See also: www.facebook.com/InsideChildPoverty

NZ Political Parties’ Education Policies – a guide

vote buttonAs it’s election year, you will want to know the education policies of the people clamouring for your vote.  The rhetoric and mainstream media reporting doesn’t always give a clear picture.  Mind you, policies sometimes don’t either… but it’s still a good idea to read, think and discuss them.

After reading, I’d love to hear what your thoughts are.  Is there anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Anything you’re pleased to see, or think is missing?  Also, feel free to add your comments or links to additional party policies at the bottom.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies below may be out of date.

 

ACT logoACT

While education for many children is among the best in the world, we have a well-known “long-tail” of underachievers, who become the next generation of under skilled, unemployed, disengaged citizens.  After 70 years of state controlled and mandated education, we have a situation where around 20% of our children left school last year unable to read or write sufficiently to fill out a job application.

ACT believes that if we continue to do what we’ve always done, we will continue to get the same results that we’ve always had.  The education system must do better for these New Zealanders.  What we have done for too long is run education as a centrally planned, Wellington-dictated bureaucracy that gives little autonomy to schools and little choice to parents.
Meanwhile, education policy in Australia, Sweden, parts of Canada and the United States, and Great Britain is showing the benefits of making education more market-like and entrepreneurial.  Such policies lead to a wider range of education opportunities being available.   ACT supports decentralisation in education, giving more autonomy to principals and teachers and more choice to students and parents.
In the last parliamentary term, with ACT’s pressure and support, the government:
 Introduced Aspire Scholarships, allowing disadvantaged children to access any school of their choice, public or private;
 Undertake a review of education in New Zealand, leading to the ACT Party’s minority report Free to Learn, a comprehensive roadmap for reforming education towards a more market-like and entrepreneurial service;
 Increase the subsidy for private schools, to reduce the extent to which those who send their children pay twice (once in taxes and once in school fees);
 Value the special education sector more, with a special education review resulting in new directions described in the report Success for All: Every school, every child.
ACT will keep working for a more vibrant and dynamic education system.  A Party Vote for ACT is a vote to:
 Continue awarding Aspire scholarships to underprivileged children;
 Increase the autonomy that local principals and staff have in running their school.  Boards and principals should be able, for example, to set teacher remuneration at their discretion like any other employer, rather than having a rigid, seniority based pay scale;
 Further increase the subsidy for independent schools so that parents who choose independent schools for their children do not lose so much of their child’s share of education funding;
 Encourage choice in assessment systems, whether they be NCEA, Cambridge International Examination, International Baccalaureate, or other qualifications.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Green party logoGreen Party 

Key Principles

  • A free education system that fosters participation, sustainability, equality and peace.
  • High quality teaching, learning environments, and curriculum that fosters peace in our communities.

Specific Policy Points

  • Ensure state schools are fully funded such that high quality education is not dependant upon fees, private donations, fundraising, nor private investment.
  • Increase the Operations Grant to reflect the real cost to schools of educating children.
  • Change the staffing formula to enable incremental reductions in class sizes, and improved teacher-child ratios in early childhood services.
  • Centrally fund all teacher and key support staff salaries.
  • Review the governance structure in Tomorrow’s Schools and trial alternative models of school governance.
  • Support pay parity for early childhood, primary and secondary educators.
  • Support the continued improvement of the NCEA, and work with teachers to review the three levels of NCEA assessment.
  • Retain and support local and rural schools.
  • Better and safer transport services to rural schools.
  • Set standards and guidelines for healthy food provided in schools.
  • Incorporate ecological sustainability into the core curriculum at all levels.
  • More funding for Maori language, immersion and bilingual programmes.
  • Work towards te reo and tikanga Maori being available to all learners.
  • Ensure that Correspondence School has the capacity to deliver quality education to its diverse students.
  • Use an independent authority for appeals in the case of enrolment, stand-downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions.
  • Allocate Special Education Grant based on numbers of enrolled children with special needs, and increase ORS funding.
  • Resource schools and Group Special Education to fulfill government obligations to children with special education needs.
  • Ensure schools have adequate provision to meet the needs of their ESOL students.
  • Establish support for networks of ‘not for profit’ early childhood services, including playcentre, kohanga reo, Pacific Island language nests.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

Labour party logoLabour

Labour on dyslexia and learning difference

The Labour Party stands for an inclusive education system in which every New Zealander is given the opportunity to achieve to their full potential. We recognise that everyone is different, we all learn at different rates, and we all have different strengths and abilities.

Every school a great school
Every New Zealand child has the right to attend their local school and to have any individual learning needs they may have catered for at that school. Labour wants to ensure that every school is a great school, and every teacher a great teacher. We will invest heavily in teacher professional development, including programmes that equip teachers to cater to the diverse range of learning needs our students have.

Equal opportunity for all
Labour is increasingly concerned about the growing inequality within our education system. No one should have their options limited because of the part of society they are born into. Labour is committed to addressing the issue of child poverty.

Equal access to support 
We have been vocal in raising concerns about unequal access to Special Assessment Conditions for NCEA candidates and have made clear out commitment to ensuring that every student gets the support they need, regardless of what school they attend. No student should be denied access to SAC because their parents are unable to pay for the specialist assessments required to apply for it.

A change to special education funding
Labour is concerned that the current funding system for special education relies too heavily on individual learners meeting the criteria imposed by the system, rather than the system catering for the individual needs of each learner. We want to turn that around so that every student with an identified learning need gets the support necessary for them to achieve to their full potential.

Chris Hipkins
Education spokesperson
March 2014

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

National party logoNational

National’s unrelenting focus is on raising achievement for all our students.  Most of our kids are successfully getting the qualifications they need from school and going on to enjoy the opportunities a great education provides.  But our plan is about getting all of our kids achieving education success and raising achievement for five out of five.

We believe high-quality education is vitally important. It provides the opportunity for any child from any background to get ahead and make the most of their life. Research and experience show that providing an intensive package of support for students with complex needs in their local schools results in better outcomes for students.

National’s aim is to achieve a fully inclusive education system with confident schools, confident parents, and confident children.  We want to see all schools demonstrating inclusive practice.

The wraparound service approach supports the findings in the Special Education Review 2010, the Government’s key themes for special education, and the Ministry’s commitment to achieving inclusive practices through improved systems and support as outlined in the Positive Behaviour for Learning action plan.  This plan focuses on supporting parents and providing teachers in all schools with the skills and knowledge to deal with behavioural issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

NZ first logoNZ First

UPDATED – Latest policy as at 5/9/14 is HERE: http://nzfirst.org.nz/sites/nzfirst/files/manifesto_2014_final_version_3.pdf

New Zealand First is very aware of the current lack of support for students with the educational challenges faced by those with Dyslexia.  And while there have been some steps towards providing support for these students at NCEA level.   It is our view that not only should these supports in the later educational years be strengthened but that these solutions must be delivered down into the earlier education years.

New Zealand First is a strong advocate for “front ending the spend”.  And I am currently working on a policy presentation around enhancing the collection of School Entry Assessment data so that children with educational needs can be identified earlier and provided with these supports, along the lines of the Finnish education system, earlier rather than later when damage to self-esteem has already taken place.

It is our view that it is inappropriate for any students family to have to privately fund an educational psychologists report in order for their child to access academic support for dyslexia.  At a recent financial review of NZQA I raised the topic of digital independence from human reader/writers for our NCEA students.  For example, a screen reader is an essential piece of software for a blind or visually impaired person which could be also be of use to those with dyslexia. Simply put, a screen reader transmits whatever text is displayed on the computer screen into a form that a visually impaired user can process (usually tactile, auditory or a combination of both).  It does not take a large stretch of the imagination to see that this technology could be used to “read” for those with dyslexia.  And the fact that there are several screen reader programmes that are free to the user and we see that cost now no longer becomes a factor.  What about the challenge of writing for our dyslexic students – well voice recognition has been around for a very long time now and with many schools moving to a “bring your own device environment”  a headset microphone and cool earphones should not even raise an eyebrow in a modern learning environment.

It is our view that National Standards has not identified anything new for these or other New Zealand students.  New Zealand Teachers were already aware of those children who were having difficulty due to a variety of reasons.  New Zealand First would have preferred to spend the close to $38 million budgeted to date for National Standards on the actual identification of children with challenges and providing the appropriate resources to support them participate to their best ability inside our schools.   While current and recent governments have finally acknowledged that Dyslexia exists they have taken no concrete steps to assist these students as early as possible through the appropriate resourcing of schools to support these students with identification testing (as you are aware dyslexia has an enormous range and require very individual assessment) and digital resources so that the student, at the earliest possible time in their development, can learn alongside their peers with pride, can meet success inside an educational environment that supports their specific challenge while celebrating the alternative and creative perspective these same students bring to the classroom environment.

Should New Zealand First have influence after the 2014 election this is an area we would seek to invest in. (end)

So there you go – the main parties’ policies and statements on education.  What are your thoughts after reading them?  Anything more you would like to ask?  Anything you want to challenge? Any other policies or information to add? Comment below.

If it inspires to you to ask more, or to share your thoughts, you can use these links to reach your local MP and the main NZ newspapers:

Click here for a list of  New Zealand MPs’ email addresses

Click here for email addresses of NZ Newspapers

And last but not least … do remember to VOTE.

IMPORTANT NOTE

** ALL THE LATEST POLICIES AS AT 5/9/14 ARE HERE

The policies here may be out of date.

 

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Sources and further reading:

Party policy information and links

Labour Party – Education

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