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Review announced for central Northland schools


Review announced for central Northland schools

Education Minister Trevor Mallard announced today a review of central Northland schools aimed at ensuring that sustainable quality education will continue to be delivered to local students well into the future.

"I urge people to get actively involved in this process. This review is an opportunity for schools, their communities, parents and boards to contribute to the future shape of local education," Trevor Mallard said.

"If there is substantial change to the network of schools in the area, it will also result in considerable amounts of money being ploughed back into schools for the benefit of the whole community.

"I am aware that central Northland schools are served by varying ethnic, social and religious communities. It is a good time now to take a look at the bigger picture and make sure the needs of all these communities can continue to be met. It is vital that our schools are adequately staffed and well managed.

"Surplus capacity in the schools under review is running to about 347 surplus student places and about 14 surplus classrooms. By 2008 this area is expected to see a roll decline of about 9 per cent, if roll projections are followed.

"I would like to see everyone contributing their ideas about possible future education in the region. We need to make sure education resources are spent on teaching children, and not on maintaining underused or empty buildings," Trevor Mallard said.

The schools involved in the review are: Te Kura O Awarua, Hukerenui School, Maromaku School, Te Kura O Matawaia, Moerewa School, Motatau School, Orauta School, Otiria School, Tautoro School, Towai School, Te Kura Kaupapa Maori O Taumarere and Kawakawa School.

A review starts with the Ministry of Education naming facilitators and a community reference group being formed. They then work through a process with all concerned parties to assess the future options for local education.

"The review process is expected to take around nine months to ensure that there is adequate community consultation and that I receive the best possible information and advice on which to make my final decision.

"I will visit each review area to meet with and listen to the views of the school communities at some stage during this process.

"The Ministry of Education will work closely with schools to make sure their requirements for a smooth changeover are met and that changes resulting from the review are implemented in time for the 2005 school year," Trevor Mallard said.

Questions and answers are attached. For more information: www.minedu.govt.nz

Background To Network Reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a network review?

A network review is a process undertaken by the Ministry of Education and directed by the Education Minister. A review assesses the way education is currently being provided in a particular area and what re-organisation is needed to make sure a high quality of education can be provided for the next 10-15 years.

How do review areas get chosen?

The reasons for choosing to review a particular cluster of schools vary depending on the local situation. Any issue that presents a risk to providing quality education that could be resolved or partly resolved by a re-organisation could indicate the need for a review. Situations that may generate a network review are:

· Suggestions for change from one or more schools;

· Resources not being fully utilised;

· Falling rolls;

· A significant number of small schools in close proximity;

· Concerns over the quality of education being provided;

· A desire to find more effective ways of meeting the diversity of student needs; and

· In some instances growing rolls could generate a network review, to decide which combination of schools best meets the needs of a growing population.

What schools are involved?

State schools, kura and wharekura can be part of a network review. Integrated schools may involve themselves in network reviews but it is not possible to make changes to integrated schools through reviews because of the legislation under which they are created. Private schools are not included.

What can result from a network review?

The issues that led to a review can't be ignored so usually keeping the status quo isn't an option. A review could mean fewer schools (through closures and/or mergers), more schools, new schools or different types of schools.

How are reviews run?

The form of a review will be adapted to the particular area being covered. All are likely to work through these stages:

· Ministry identifies need for a network review and makes a recommendation to the Minister, who announces the review;

· Ministry contacts schools to be involved, and a community reference group is formed;

§ The reference group is set up to provide a platform for discussion, oversee the process of a review and to present the community perspective on education provision.

§ Membership of the reference group is shaped by community needs.

§ The composition of the reference group will include school trustees and principals, NZSTA (New Zealand School Trustees Association), NZEI (New Zealand Educational Institute), PPTA (Post Primary Teachers Association) and iwi and may include local Pasifika groups, early childhood groups, local government representatives and community organisations. Every school involved in the process must be represented.

· Reference group's facilitator is identified;

· Facilitator presents data and information and suggests some potential future schooling models for the community to discuss;

· Facilitator consults with individual Boards of Trustees. facilitator and/or Boards then consult with communities;

· Facilitator produces stage 1 report summarising all discussions and setting out possible options;

· Boards consult with their communities on report. Facilitator consults with Boards. facilitator summarises all the discussions in a report to the reference group;

· Ministry produces submission 1 for the Minister, taking the reference group's report into account;

· Minister makes a proposal and communicates this to Boards, and announces it publicly;

· Boards consult their communities and facilitator consults with Boards;

· Ministry analyses the reference group's report and produces submission 2 for the Minister presenting the results of consultation and any changed recommendations;

· Minister considers all feedback and communicates his decision to Boards;

· Boards of schools that may close then have a further 28 days to comment.

How are school re-organisations funded? The Education Development Initiative (EDI) policy has been developed to manage school closure and merger funding. Additional money is made available to schools that remain after the review.

The amount of funding is generated from a formula based on school rolls. The same formula applies schools in all network reviews so all schools are treated equally.

The different parts of this funding are:

· a cash grant for individual schools;

· property entitlements; and

· in most cases resources for future shared school education projects.

The board of trustees, with Ministry input, then plans for the best use of the money to enhance teaching and learning in their school.

Who gets a say? The process of a network review involves a significant amount of community consultation. When proposals are put to the Minister, there are legal requirements for consultation, depending on the changes proposed.

This means at least two periods of consultation with the community.

Once the Minister announces the review there is about a month of consultation before he announces his proposal. There is another month of consultation before the Minister makes a decision. If the decision includes a school closure then those Boards have a further 28 days to comment.

Boards of trustees may also do their own consultation with parents and communities.

Why are school reviews needed? The Minister wants the Ministry to ensure all children have access to a quality education well into the future, whatever their background and wherever they live.

The size and make-up of communities change that means schools must also change to meet their students' needs.

The Ministry has access to a great deal of data and information relating to school and early childhood provision, performance and participation. The Ministry also provides demographic data and projections.

Across many parts of New Zealand there is a primary school roll decline which impacts on the way education is provided. This will flow through into the secondary sector. A review allows the community to assess this information, to reflect on its implications and to assist in deciding how to address the local issues.

Why do them now? If change is necessary the best time to address the issues and to plan for the future is now. It is better to begin planning early rather than delaying until issues have become so difficult to deal with that options are limited.

This doesn't mean that all change has to be immediate.

A decision could be that some things remain as they are for now but that future changes are needed and must be planned for. If there is uncertainty about whether change is necessary or desirable, a review can help to clarify that question.

What benefits can result from a review?

· Ensuring local students have access to quality education into the future;

· Planning that takes account of demographic change and its impact on schooling requirements;

· Educational resources being used wisely and well;

· Release of under-utilised school resources back into the school communities;

· More money available to invest in better teaching and learning resources;

· Schools having workable rolls for many years;

· More co-operation between schools;

· Consideration of new models for the delivery of education;

· More viable and supportive professional communities for teachers to enhance their development and benefit their students; and

· Increased community involvement in educational debate and decision-making.

How long do reviews take? The review timeframe is flexible to allow for all parties to have a say. Approximately it should take nine months from the first announcement to the final decision.

How can I find out more? Information, processes and timeframes specific to a network review are provided at community meetings and discussed in detail with schools and Boards. Local Ministry of Education offices also have information on reviews in their area. Information is also available on the Ministry's Website http://www.minedu.govt.nz/

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