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Education issues under spotlight

Education issues under spotlight

More than 600 school trustees from all over New Zealand are expected to converge on Christchurch next month to tackle some of the big education issues.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association conference is being held from July 18-20 at the Christchurch Convention Centre and is expected to attract the largest number of delegates yet.

The conference will be addressed by Education Minister Chris Carter.

NZSTA president Lorraine Kerr is rapt so many trustees are taking advantage of the professional development opportunities the conference will offer.

“Trustees are there to make a difference for students – they set the vision for their school and guide its direction. What they learn at this conference can only benefit their students and schools alike.”

The conference is based on the theme “Effective governance: leading change for high student achievement” and delegates will focus on a range of important issues facing schools and boards.

Ms Kerr expects the five percent boost, or $171.6 million, in operational funding announced in the Budget last month to be an issue for discussion among delegates.

While Ms Kerr says the money will help alleviate some financial pressure, the increase represents only a 1.9 percent rise in real terms after allowing for expected inflation. It means schools still face a shortfall over ICT funding in particular.

“On top of that, the significant increased costs schools are facing in funding non-teaching staff has yet to be addressed by Government.”

Being election year, Ms Kerr anticipates trustees attending the conference will come armed with some strong issues they will want to raise themselves.

Over the three days other subjects affecting trustees will be covered in the 35 seminars and workshops.

Topics range from: The critical process of appointing a principal Student discipline The challenges of developing cyber citizens Children and exercise The Ombudsmen’s role in reviewing board of trustee decisions.

Keynote speakers include Iowa Association of School Boards executive director Ron Rice, who will talk about how good governance influences student achievement; Sue Suckling, a fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Directors, who will discuss boardroom achievement; and opera singer Geoff Knight, who will tell his inspirational story about going from a fisherman and gang member to an international performer.


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