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Upper Hutt schools latest to unite against govt plan

Upper Hutt schools latest to unite against government’s $359m education plan

The opposition of all primary principals and Boards of Trustees from Upper Hutt to the government’s $359m Investing in Educational Success policy reflects the growing resistance to the controversial scheme.

Sixteen principals and their boards from Upper Hutt have issued a joint statement outlining their concerns about the proposed new tiers of management and bonus payment structure.

This follows mounting opposition from principals, teachers and school communities around the country including Otago, Auckland, Northland and Taranaki as well as leaders at a recent NZEI/NZ Principals’ Federation hui in Wellington.

The latest group to voice their concerns, the Upper Hutt principals and BoT Chairs say they do not believe the policy will meet the needs of their local children and have called for a rethink of the policy. Their concerns include:

• Lack of consultation

• The amount of money allocated for this initiative when other priorities for education have already been identified

• Lack of evidence about the effectiveness of this policy on improving outcomes

• The model porposed does not support the way that schools and principals collaborate – instead appears to promote competition between schools

• The inflexibility of the model

• Removing effective and experienced teachers and principals from schools and classrooms.

NZEI National President Judith Nowotarski said that it is clear these principals and their school boards have looked at the government’s proposal in good faith and spent considerable time evaluating its detail.

“All around the country principals and boards are discussing the proposal and what we’re hearing echoes these concerns.”

She said it is no surprise that these principals and boards are speaking collectively.

“Principals and teachers meet regularly to collaborate and share best practice and ideas. What’s surprising is that the government doesn’t seem to know that and that it thinks it has to impose an expensive corporate model on school communities.”

“Perhaps the mounting opposition around the country will show the government that it’s time they listen to educators and put the funding where it really matters – directly into kids’ education.

“Teachers and principals have been calling for 100 percent qualified teaching in early childhood education, better funding for children with special needs, smaller class sizes and more resourcing for teacher aides so that kids get more individualised and better quality teaching.

“We know those are key to improve quality teaching and learning for all students.”

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