This tag is associated with 9 posts

The ministry of education and Whale Oil: an introduction

This is a must read:

“This posting is just a brief introduction to something that, for the fabric of our democracy and the successful functioning of our school system, needs to be out in the open. Only some things can be confirmed in this posting – the degree of collusion between the education ministry and Whale Oil has yet to be established and the level of insidiousness.”

Read the whole thing here: The ministry of education and Whale Oil: an introduction.


NZ Teachers Council Sector Elections – The Candidates

vote blackboardA total of 37 nominations have been received for the one vacancy on each of the four sectors. Elections will be required in each sector.

The candidates are as follows.

Early Childhood Education Sector
ANDREWS Tiffany – Tauranga
CONNELL Bevan – Upper Hutt
EDGELER Clair – Auckland
IVES Phillipa – Christchurch
JEUNE Margaret – Levin
SHEARSBY Viv – Christchurch
SPRAGGS David – Gisborne
TREWEEK Julie – Matamata
VARNEY Jenny – Upper Hutt
WALL Josie – Papakura
WILSON Cathy – Porirua

Primary Sector
BLAKEY Shelley – Tauranga
CRONIN Brenda – Auckland
HIWINUI SOLOMON Arna Rose – Raglan
MACKIE Sarndra – Rotoura
ORMANDY Sally – Christchurch
ROBINS Susan – Auckland
SARICH Shell – Northland
SHORTLAND Jim – Moerewa
TAMAMASUI Pena – Auckland
TUIONO Teariki o te Maka – Auckland

Secondary Sector
AMOS Claire – Auckland
CASSIDY Megan – Christchurch
CRUDEN John – Timaru
FLAVELL Will – Auckland
GOULD Jan – Wellington
KAHL Jo – Wellington
KING Stuart – Auckland
MCGRATH Fiona Gaylene – Whangarei
MITCHELL Karen – Auckland
OTTO Pennie Vaione – Auckland
PIERCE Gregory – Havelock North
SHEPPARD Doug – Lower Hutt
TARRY Michael – Auckland

Principals Sector
BRUCE Linley – Auckland
MALCOLM Anne – Auckland
NEWMAN Pat – Whangarei

The elections will be conducted by internet and postal voting, using the First Past the Post (FPP) voting system.

Voting information together with information about the candidates will be sent to all registered teachers on Wednesday 3 September 2014.

Voting closes at 12 noon on Friday 3 October 2014.

Candidate names will be listed on the voting documents in pseudo random order.

Any queries are to be directed to the Returning Officer on the Election Helpline on 0508 666 001



Boards and Principals United in Statement to Peter Hughes

speak up not silenceFollowing 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)

 NZEI strongly urges continued boycott of PaCT trials

just say no


A number of school principals have recently been invited by NZCER to take part in national PaCT tool reading and writing trials.

Last year, NZEI and other sector groups successfully fought Government plans to make the PaCT tool mandatory from 2015, as part of the drive to embed National Standards into schooling.

After NZEI Te Riu Roa, NZ Principals’ Federation, the NZ Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools, and the Catholic Principals Association called on schools to cease any involvement in the further development of PaCT, the Minister back-tracked on her decision to make PaCT mandatory.

However, we have become aware that schools have again been approached to take part in a further round of trials beginning in June.

We strongly encourage you not to take part in these trials. The PaCT is an attempt to give credibility to dodgy National Standards and to create a “value added” modelling tool. PaCT data could be used to provide spurious data to underpin future policies aimed at ranking teacher performance against student achievement. It could also be used to make high stakes decisions about school funding, and/or to identify and review the “value added” performance of Executive Principals, Expert Teachers and Lead Teachers in the Government’s proposed $359 million “Investing in Educational Success” scheme.

NZEI recommends you meet with your boards and teachers to discuss the implications of the IES so you can work, where possible, towards a unified “whole school” approach to the initiative. 

Principals urge government to put our children first

We wish to add our voices to the growing number of New Zealand’s principals expressing concern over the government’s direction, implementation and timeframe of its Investing in Education Success initiative.

While acknowledging the commitment in making New Zealand’s education system second to none, pumping $359 million into schools without transparency and meaningful engagement with the sector is throwing the money away. We urgently ask that the government first lift its constraints already placed around the funding and secondly, consider without prejudice, the overwhelming evidence around what can best be done to support our children and ultimately our society as a whole.

invest wiselyNew Zealand evidence based research provides a clear pathway for governments to follow if they are to effect real change for our children, particularly the ones who comprise the tail. The first three years of a child’s life clearly determines future outcomes for that child and ultimately our nation. Research shows clearly that poor patterns of behaviour, disconnectedness, failure to provide for adequate bonding, limited economic involvement etc., all have an effect on a child’s potential and achievement at school. Targeting resources to developing consistent, sustainable support for our children from birth to three years old will be a better spend than on the leadership proposals of the government. If positive patterns are not supported in these early years then the negative patterns are set for the future.

While the support for schools and the education sector is welcomed, we urge the government to meaningfully and collaboratively engage with the education sector without the straightjacket, in order to determine where best that resource can be applied, to effect real change.

Democracy should not exclude or restrict those who are directly engaged in the delivery of service from informing decisions – decision-making needs to be inclusive and transparent. The government’s willingness to provide significant financial resources to lift achievement around supporting change should be the catalyst to engage with the profession to effect the best possible outcomes. Unfortunately the format for this expenditure has been set with deliberately minimal opportunity for input from the sector – consultation being an ‘added extra after the fact.’

Rather than inject a large single resource at the top via salaries, we say give the money to the kids as early as possible in a real effort to effect long term change that will benefit children, families, and society as a whole.

Kelvin Woodley – Principal, Tapawera Area School

Bruce Pagan – Principal, Kaikoura Primary School

Ernie Buutveld – Principal, Havelock School

Christian Couper – Principal Little River School

Peter King – Principal, Maruia School


For more information contact:
Kelvin Woodley – Principal Tapawera Area School

021 024 75147 or 03 522 4337

A message from Kelvin Smythe

Dear reader,

What a weekend.

Both my computer went down and then my website became unworkable. (If the posting alert come out strangely: the cc not working, or some other matter, I would appreciate you getting in touch with me. I sent out this posting alert last night but only a few worked.)

I now have Windows 7 installed; Allan Alach has put up a new website – and is now associated with me on our new venture:

I am quite excited about it all.

Networkonnet and Allan and I are now ready to be there for the children of New Zealand and their teachers (as we see it) in the years ahead.

There are two postings up:

Who can teachers rely on? This posting sets the scene back in 1990, then has an article I wrote in 1990 in the first issue of Developmental Network Magazine. How did my predictions work out? Back then I was a pretty lone voice.

Who can teachers rely on?

Ernie Buutveld delivers: When a person of his stature speaks out, we should all listen intently

He speaks for an informal cluster of Marlborough principal of his deep concern for the education directions of the government and of the importance of last Friday’s moot. As I report briefly in this posting it was a slanted shambles.

The informal cluster that was a regular event for the Marlborough principals concerned could, in the absence of NZPF being properly organised at the centre and it seems in regard to the moot in many districts, could be an idea for groupings of principals throughout New Zealand to organise against the government’s cluster proposals.

Why don’t you ring up some like-minded principals and meet to discuss, lobby, and act against those proposals?

All the very best,


NZEI reaction to the Government’s announcement on new principal and teacher roles

Fight the GERMNZEI Te Riu Roa will be participating in the Minister’s working group on the $359 million initiative to ensure there is fairness and transparency for members and the best outcomes for children and their learning.

Members will be fully engaged in ways similar to collective negotiation processes to ensure robust negotiations around the creation of the roles and allowances proposed.

NZEI will not accept students’ National Standards outcomes as criteria for selecting or reviewing the performance of either “expert” or “lead” teachers or “executive” or “change” principal roles.

Change Principals – must have own cape

super hero change principals

I am all for helping struggling schools.  So the idea of Change Principals seems okay, even positive. What concerns me a little, however, is who decides what constitutes a failing school and what the Ministry says these principals will be recruited to do.

Is it to improve children’s love for learning?

Is it to foster lifelong learning?

Is it to engage the community in the children’s learning?

Well who knows – None of those things are mentioned.

Just how is student achievement to be defined, I wonder?

Wait, it says on the MoE web site that the principals “will be particularly focused on lifting student achievement”.   Achievement … is that some sort of measured thing, some kind of score-based doohicker?  It rings a bell… tip of my tongue … wait… almost there…


Ahhhhh, I”ve got it:

National Standards!


Okay.  So they are going to improve schools by improving their National Standards scores.

Is now a good time to mention that the NS data from the first two years was so shonky that even the PM admitted they weren’t up to much?

Or to mention that this year results for whole subjects were moved down, en bloc, despite the levels returned by schools?  No?

Maybe instead I could mention the RAINS report from the University of Waikato, that showed a narrowing of the curriculum in order to focus on the areas NS looks at…

No?  Okay.

Well look, let’s be positive – we all want schools to do the best they can for their students, and there are indeed always going to be some schools that need help and guidance.  That much is not a bad idea.

But there is scope here for political bullying such as that we have already seen around National Standards, with principals and boards harangued by Ministry.  It’s essential that any move to improve a school is done as a cooperative thing, not forced on a community or done by someone with a big stick to wave, but how can we be sure that’s not going to happen?

And to focus improvement only on higher scores in standards that are unreliable is very dicey.

I note that nowhere in John Key’s speech today nor on the MoE web site about the new roles is there any mention at all of the effects of home life, of poverty, or unemployment and despondency on student achievement, and consequently there is nothing to address those issues.  It’s as if  someone would like us to buy into the idea that somehow schools stand alone in a bubble and can magically erase all other social problems. This is of course, another farcical notion.

But the message is clear, no matter who sends them in, or why, we are to accept the caped crusaders – and as long as they push up scores, everything will be good in the world…




Collaborative strategy good news for schools, says PPTA

ppta logoGovernment plans to put resources into teaching and learning rather than finance and administration are being greeted with optimism by PPTA.

President Angela Roberts said Prime Minister John Key’s announcement that $359 million would be invested in teaching and school leadership over the next four years was a positive one.

She praised his commitment to ““support a culture of collaboration within and across schools” and said the creation of principal and teacher positions to provide leadership and support across communities of schools marked the beginning of a collaborative approach long sought by PPTA.

“Enabling schools to support each-other rather than compete against each-other is a good response to a problem that has bedeviled our education system since the introduction of Tomorrow’s Schools,” Roberts said.

Acknowledging that this required resources to sustain was also a positive step, she said.

Roberts praised the strategy’s focus on providing time for principals and teachers to share their resources instead of dangling a financial carrot.

“It’s not just about rewarding individuals it is about providing them with time and enabling them to share what they know to support their colleagues across schools – and that rewards everyone.”

While Roberts was supportive of the new proposals she cautioned they would not solve all the problems New Zealand education faced.

poverty - bare feet“We still need to address inequality and poverty and support schools to become hubs for their communities to better meet their health and welfare needs.

“This policy won’t be a silver bullet, but it will be a very good place to start.”

Roberts also welcomed Key’s commitment to consult with unions about the proposals.

“We look forward to being involved in the development of these roles,” she said.

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