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Rights to school-based data supported says NZSTA

13 February 2006

Rights to school-based data supported says NZSTA

The New Zealand School Trustees Association supports the idea of parents being able to freely access student data, and it wants even more information to be shared with parents.

NZSTA President Chris Haines says the association would like to think that the Avondale College initiative of posting detailed student information on their website for parents and caregivers is only the start of a wave of a far greater sharing of information available within schools and held centrally.

“Currently the Ministry of Education collects and holds a raft of school data, much of which is aggregated and made available back to contributing schools/boards, but much of which is currently withheld from parents/caregivers and other interest groups.

“Given that one of the fundamental cornerstones of continuous improvement is about building an “information foundation” from achievement and other data in order to support effective decision making, we would look forward to a wider sharing of school data,” Chris Haines says.

He says the Avondale initiative is a really good example of a school board of trustees utilising data in a way which informs parents, and which is focused on lifting student performance.

“For too long parents have been the “after thought” within the education system. While the Tomorrow’s Schools’ reforms have, at least technically, altered the balance, it is always really good to see positive actions by boards of trustees to really engage parents/caregivers in their children’s education.

“Undoubtedly many schools committed to the principles of continuous improvement would like to follow this lead and the Association would take this opportunity to encourage all boards of trustees to seek similar innovative ways to better engage the parent community.”

However money is still an issue for many schools, he says.

For many boards of trustees, a lack government funding remains a big issue and one which can act to stifle innovative, but potentially expensive, change. The NZSTA has long campaigned for operations grants to be funded at a level which better reflects the demands on school boards, and which allows innovations such as Avondale has introduced, and is hopeful that the operations funding review will address current concerns, says Chris Haines.

“The Avondale initiative is a good example of local governance/management in action, with the focus on student achievement. It supports the self management philosophy of ‘give us the tools and let us get on with the job of providing a high quality education to our school communities’ young people’,” he says.

ENDS

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