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Education Amendment Bill tabled

30 November 2004

Education Amendment Bill tabled

A bill designed to reform education legislation and improve the administration of policy was introduced into parliament today by Education Minister Trevor Mallard.

“The Education Amendment Bill 2004 is an omnibus bill which implements a number of significant policy changes and cleans up outdated sections of existing education legislation,” Trevor Mallard said.

“One of the key things this bill does is to put the outcomes of the early childhood regulatory review into legislation. This regulatory review was part of the government’s ten-year strategic plan for early childhood education, Pathways to the Future: Ngâ Huarahi Arataki. The plan reflects our government's commitment to increase the quality of early childhood education, and to lift participation in early childhood education, making it more affordable and accessible for families.

“The legislative amendments allow a new system to be put in place that gets rid of the ambiguities in the current system of licensing of early childhood education centres, so that it’s easier for services to understand what is required of them to meet licensing standards.

“Previously charters were used to set the required standard for centres to receive funding. Under the new legislation licensing or certification will be the key regulatory means for meeting the standards required for government funding.

"New Zealand is one of the first countries in the world to have a national curriculum for early childhood education. This bill allows the Minister of Education, after thorough consultation, to prescribe a curriculum framework and require early childhood services to follow it. This recognises the importance of the curriculum for children’s learning.

“These amendments will provide the legal underpinning for high quality education and care for our children in their early years,” said Trevor Mallard.

Another policy change in the bill is the extension of the National Student Number to the school and early childhood sectors.

The National Student Number is already used in the senior secondary school and tertiary areas to ensure that information such as a student’s academic record is aggregated and accurate. It is also used to collect data from tertiary providers for analysis and funding purposes.

“Extending the use of the number will facilitate more efficient transfer of information between schools when children change schools.

“It will also improve our ability to do longitudinal research and analysis to see how well our students are doing and how we can help them to do better,” said Trevor Mallard.

The bill also makes a number of minor policy changes designed to enhance the efficient administration of the education system covering governance and management changes for the Teachers Council and Boards of Trustees, and in the international and tertiary education sectors.

Trevor Mallard said the bill was also the first stage in tidying up education legislation to make it appropriate for the administration of education in the 21st century.

Legislation relating to the education sector is spread across a number of Acts and some of it is outdated or no longer used. For example this bill repeals the School Trustees Act 1989, a transitional act between the old system of education administration and the era of “Tomorrow’s Schools”. Unused sections and regulations in the Education Act 1964 are also repealed.

Attached is a set of background notes outlining the key changes.

ENDS


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