The Education Amendment Bill has been reported back to the House with a recommendation that it be passed.
The legislation will makes it easier for unqualified and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools as well as removing the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body.
“The government has completely disregarded the overwhelming number of submissions which called on it to allow the new teacher representative body to remain professionally rather than politically driven,” says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.
“Instead, once the legislation is passed, the Minister will handpick representatives for the new EDUCANZ body being set up to replace the Teachers’ Council.
“What other professional body has their representatives chosen by the Minister of the day rather than electing their own representatives?”
“This legislation is about ideology and undermining the teaching profession – not about addressing the needs of all New Zealand children and ensuring their right to quality public education.
“The government has also disregarded the views of New Zealanders who have made it clear they don’t want unqualified and unregistered people teaching in our schools.
“This is a major step backwards and will put the education of many children at risk.
“I am sure that New Zealanders will see how this legislation completely contradicts the government’s rhetoric about wanting to improve the quality of education.”
The minute I saw it had been released I knew my night, week, month and possibly whole year were ruined. But read it I did, and here for your delight are the bits that relate to partnership schools (charter schools ) in full, without comment from me, so you can read them and make up your own minds:
(The full Bill is linked at the bottom, should you wish to read about other areas covered by it, also.)
FACTSHEET 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL (quoted in full, verbatim and without comment)
Where can the Education Amendment Bill be found?
What are the Bill’s goals?
What does the Bill cover?
Where can the Regulatory Impact Statements be found?
Copies of the regulatory impact statements can be found at –
FACTSHEET 2 (quoted verbatim without comment)
Where can the Cabinet Decisions regarding Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua be found?
Why is the Government making changes to legislation?
Why is the Government introducing Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua?
Why aren’t these schools called charter schools?
Why isn’t the part of the Act relating to the Education Review Office amended? Does this mean that ERO staff will not review Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua?
Why hasn’t the State Sector Act been amended?
Why are Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua not subject to the Ombudsmen Act and Official Information Act?
I have heard that Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will not need to employ registered teachers? Is this true?
GUIDE TO THE EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL 2012 (highlights only, again without comment)
2. The Education Amendment Bill:
Sets out the necessary legal framework for the introduction of a new type of school into the schooling network, alongside state schools and private schools. These schools will be known as Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
D. PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS|KURA HOURUA
The Bill sets out the necessary legal framework for the introduction of a new type of school into the schooling network, alongside state schools and private schools. These schools will be known as Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. The name Kura Hourua has been derived from Waka Hourua, which is the Māori name for the traditional sea voyaging double-hulled canoes. The two hulls joined together created a stronger and more versatile vessel better able to cope with all of the challenges of the vast Pacific Ocean.
Kura Horua has been chosen as the term that best represents the intent behind the Partnership Schools, with hourua encapsulating the notion of the partnership and journey the Government and community are embarking on and kura being commonly used for „school‟.
Because the term “charter” already has a specific meaning in the Education Act, a new term has had to be used.
Although Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua have similarities to charter schools or free schools in other countries, the model in the Bill has been developed specifically for the New Zealand context.
Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be accountable to the Crown for raising student achievement through a contract to deliver a range of specified school-level targets. The contract will be with a sponsor who can run the school not for profit or for profit.
Sponsors will have more freedom over how they run their school to meet the needs of their students and achieve their school-level targets. Partnership Schools will be open to all students who apply for entry, regardless of background or ability, and will have no tuition fees.
The Bill deals with only those aspects of the policy that need to be put into legislation. Other aspects are dealt with in the relevant Cabinet paper at: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/PublicationsAndResources/RIS/NZModelCharterSchool.aspx
Provisions in the Bill fall into three categories:
DETAILED ANALYSIS OF THE BILL Clause 4 Definitions
37. This clause includes a number of definitions related to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
38. It defines a Partnership School contract, a Partnership School|Kura Hourua, and a sponsor.
39. A primary Partnership School is defined. Although there will be secondary and composite partnerships schools, these are not defined here because those definitions are not necessary for Part 1 of the Act.
40. The definition of “registered school” which is used throughout the Act to refer to both state schools (including integrated schools) and private schools is expanded to include a Partnership School|Kura Hourua.
Clause 5 Right to free education
41. This extends a domestic students right to free education in state schools to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
Clauses 7 and 8 Exclusions and expulsions
42. The Education Act gives the Secretary of Education power to direct a state school that is not an integrated school to enrol a student who has been excluded or expelled. This is to ensure that the student has the opportunity to continue with their education.
43. Clauses 7 and 8 provide that the Secretary can also direct a Partnership School|Kura Hourua to enrol such a student. Because Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua can be schools with special characteristics, the student‟s parents have to agree to the enrolment.
44. Stand downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions from Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua are dealt with in Part 12A.
Clauses 9 and 10 Attendance
45. Students enrolled in a Partnership School|Kura Hourua have the same obligations to attend their school as students in state schools. A sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua will be able to appoint an attendance officer in the same way as state schools. The sponsor has an obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a student attends school when they are required to.
Clauses 11-14 Secondary/ tertiary partnerships
46. These provisions allow Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua and their students to become involved in secondary-tertiary programmes such as trades academies.
Clause 17 Enrolment records
47. The provisions for keeping enrolment records that currently apply to state and private schools will also apply to Partnership Schools|Kura hourura. The amendment to this section defines the principal of a Partnership School|Hura Hourura because such schools may not have a staff member who meets the traditional definition of a principal already used in the Act.
Clauses 23-26 Teacher registration
48. This clause contains amendments necessary to ensure that sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua do not have to employ registered teachers in all teaching positions. (Provisions in new Part 12A make the number or percentage of registered teachers a matter to be determined when the contract is negotiated.)
49. Since sponsors will be able to employ registered teachers, these clauses also ensure that sponsors have the same duties as boards of trustees in respect of those teachers. Because the leader of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua may not be an educationalist, there is a need to clarify that the person given responsibilities for overseeing teacher registration requirements need not be the principal. There is therefore an amended version of “professional leader” as being the person to whom the sponsor has assigned the role of supervising teaching practice.”
50. Sponsors will not be able to employ in teaching positions persons who have had their registration cancelled or who have been suspended.
Clause 27 Corporal Punishment
51. The same provisions forbidding corporal punishment that apply to state and private schools apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
Clause 28 Surrender and retention
52. The new provisions governing surrender and retention will apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua (refer s158T in new Part 12A).
Clause 29 Information to the Secretary
53. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be subject to the same requirements as other schools, state and private, to provide information to the Secretary of Education for the proper administration of the Act.
CLAUSE 31 NEW PART 12A PARTNERSHIP SCHOOLS|KURA HOURUA
54. This new Part covers the establishment of Partnership Schools| Kura Hourua, the accountabilities, powers and duties of sponsors,
New section 158A Interpretation
55. The new section 158A defines the different types of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua that can be established – primary, secondary and composite. There is no specific definition for a special education Partnership School as any such school would be established as a primary, secondary or composite school and the focus on special education would be part of any distinguishing characteristics of the school.
56. The section defines a “body” and sponsors must fall under this definition. Individuals cannot be sponsors unless they adopt some form of incorporation. This is to help manage financial risk. Sponsors can be for-profit or not-for-profit organisations.
New Section 158B Approval of sponsors
57. This new section sets out the process whereby a body can be approved as the sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua. The Minister will do this through a notice in the Gazette that also sets out things such as the name, location, and type of school; the Year levels that will be catered for; whether it will be single-sex; and any religious, philosophical, or other distinguishing
characteristics. The Gazette notice can also provide for different Year levels to be phased in. This is useful when a new school is being set up and may want to build up its student body gradually.
New Section 158C Minister to appoint advisory group
58. This section requires the Minister to appoint an advisory group to provide advice on the approval of sponsors and the educational performance of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. This is to enable the availability of expert advice around the viability and likely success of possible schools and their ongoing provision of quality education once they have been approved.
New section 158D Partnership School contracts
59. A Partnership School contract defines the relationship between a sponsor and the Crown and sets out the undertakings and obligations agreed to by each of the parties. This section describes some of the fundamental items that must be included in every Partnership School contract and allows for the inclusion of other matters on which the parties are agreed.
60. Some matters which must be included are the performance standards, the curriculum and qualifications, the maximum roll, the numbers of registered teachers to be employed and reporting requirements. The contract must also provide for reporting requirements and the circumstances when the Minister and the Secretary can intervene (note that section 158L provides for intervention to deal with emergency situations).
61. The contract is for a fixed term and must set out arrangements for an orderly end to the contract, so that the education of the students is not unduly compromised.
New Section 158E Prohibitions on operation of Partnership School|Kura Hourua
62. This section prohibits anyone from operating or purporting to operate a Partnership School|Kura Hourua who has not gone through the prescribed approval and contractual processes.
New section 158F Sponsor’s duties
63. The sponsor must provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students and keep parents informed of their progress. If the school does not use the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the sponsor must ensure that the curriculum is aligned with the foundation curriculum policy statements upon which both the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are based.
64. The sponsors must also allocate certain statutory responsibilities to appropriately qualified people. This allows the freedom to adopt a different management structure from that for other schools where the principal is both the professional leader and the chief executive.
New section 158G Sponsor to control management of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua
65. This new section parallels section 75 for state schools, including the new requirement included in this Bill that the primary focus is to be on student achievement.
New section 158H School rules
66. The sponsor has the power to make school rules. This contrasts with private schools where the power to make school rules derives from the contract with parents. Because Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua cannot charge fees, there can be no such contractual relationship between family and school.
New section 158I Sponsor’s power to delegate
67. The section contains standard provisions for delegation.
New section 158J Annual financial statements
68. The details of the provision of annual financial statements from sponsors are set out in this section.
New Section 158K Partnership Schools may participate in risk management scheme
69. The Secretary of Education has a duty to provide a risk management scheme for state schools. This covers insurance for contents and legal liability. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua can be considered for this scheme if they wish and if the provider of the scheme agrees (their risk management profile may be different from state schools)
New section 158L Intervention in Partnership Schools by Secretary.
70. This section provides “step-in” rights for the Secretary if there is an emergency affecting the education or welfare of the students and the sponsor is unable or unwilling to address the emergency. This power is in addition to the powers of intervention contained in the contract and could only be used in extreme circumstances.
New section 158M Enrolment in Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua
71. If there are more applications for enrolment than the maximum roll set in the contract allows for, the procedures set out in this section apply. First priority is to be given to siblings of current students followed by siblings of former students. All other places are to be allocated through a ballot.
Sections 158N and 158O Special education
72. These sections parallel section 8 and parts of section 9. The first gives students with special education needs the same right to enrol and be educated at Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua as all other students. The second addresses circumstances where the parents and the Secretary agree that a student with special education needs should remain at primary school beyond the age that such a student would be required to move to secondary school, or can stay at secondary school until age 21. These are the same rights as special education needs students have at state schools. Students will not need the agreement of the Secretary to enrol at a Partnership School|Kura Hourua that has special education as one of its distinguishing characteristics.
Section 158P Multiple timetable arrangements
73. The sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua can choose to run multiple timetable arrangements but has a duty to let students and parents know in writing the times that the student is required to attend school.
Section 158Q and Section 158R Exclusions and Re-enrolment
74. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be required under section 158T to follow the same procedures for stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and
exclusions as state schools. These two sections deal with the Secretary‟s power to direct the enrolment, or in some cases reenrolment of a student who has been excluded or expelled from a Partnership School| Kura Hourua. The powers parallel those for state schools.
Section 158S Courses and visits
75. This section makes it clear that off-site courses and trips or visits outside the school premises can legitimately be part of the school day or curriculum. It is similar to section 71.
Section 158T Application of this Act to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
76. This section sets out those sections of the Education Act 1989 that will be applied to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. They include, for instance, provisions relating to foreign fee-paying students, enrolment at The Correspondence School, stand-down‟s, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions, reasons for release from class, police vetting of staff and surrender and retention.
Section 158U Application of Secretary’s Rules for stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions
77. The Act gives the Secretary the power to make binding rules about the procedures to be followed by state schools in cases of stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions. These help both boards and students and their parents through a serious and potentially litigious process. They will apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua with necessary modification to account for difference in governance and staffing of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua.
Sections 158V –158X Application of other Acts
78. The Bill of Rights Act will apply to sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in respect of their activities as the sponsor of the school. Provisions of the Privacy Act which allow for access by individuals to personal information free of charge will apply to sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in respect of their activities as the sponsor of the school.
79. The Ombudsmen Act and the Official Information Act will not apply.
Clauses 32 and 33 New Zealand Qualifications Authority
80. The functions of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in the same way as they do to state schools.
81. There is no need to amend the part of the Education Act that is related to the functions of the Education Review Office as the ERO already has the power to review any educational service funded by public money or regulated by statute (other than those solely for students aged 16 or older who are not enrolled at school).
82. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will therefore be reviewable by the ERO.
Clause 41 Local Government (Rating) Act
83. There is a consequential amendment to the Local Government (Rating) Act that means that Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua that are not run for profit receive the same relief from rates as not-for-profit private schools and all state schools.
I will leave it there – I’m sure if you got this far, you have lots to ponder as it is. My final word, though, is this:
Sometimes we just want to run and hide rather than find out the nitty gritty of something we’re sure we won’t like. But in all honesty, we can’t.
“Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep.” (Gandhi)
References and further reading:
The Ministry of Education’s recommendations, released yesterday, are that all teaching staff in charter schools be qualified and registered, asserting that this would be the best way to ensure students get the best learning opportunities.
It stated that “Teacher registration is one the most influential levers in raising teacher quality across the profession in both state and private schools. Allowing charter schools to stand outside this work will significantly damage the credibility of the Crown.“
Parata happily spouted that “…there will not be a requirement that 100 per cent of the teaching staff have registration as a full teacher.”
I am yet to meet anyone, anywhere that can see any good educational reason for this.
First of all, the government itself has gone on and on and on about needing to raise the standard of teachers. They’ve spent ages trying to convince anyone who will listen that it’s all about quality, quality, quality. So just how does that tally with this move? It’s beyond bizarre. All of the usual suspects, including John Banks, Hekia Parata and John Key have curiously failed to offer anything even approaching an explanation or justification for this rather random decision.
Secondly, there is already the ‘limited authority to teach’ provision, for people who want to teach and are deemed to have relevant skills but who have not been through formal teacher training. Yet charter school staff won’t even have to pass the criteria for ‘limited authority’. Why not? How come there is going to be one rule for charter schools and another for other schools? What possible reason is there?
Why would the Government ignore its own Ministry, teachers, unions, parents, professors of education and lord knows who else and just forge ahead with this folly?
Could it be that Charter Schools can be run for profit and therefore cost cutting is deemed of more importance than quality?
Is it okay to use our children as guinea pigs in an experiment that is not succeeding world-wide?
Or are our children being sold down the river for a profit?