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$359m boost for student achievement moves forward

$359m boost for student achievement moves forward

Education Minister Hekia Parata has welcomed advice from sector leaders on the Government’s $359 million initiative to raise student achievement, saying it maintains momentum and strengthens the path forward.

Ms Parata has released a Working Group report that provides support and advice on the Investing in Educational Success initiative announced by the Prime Minister in January.

“Raising student achievement is one of our Government’s top priorities. This investment strongly supports that by building quality and consistency of teaching and leadership across the system,” Ms Parata says.

“Like us, parents will be very pleased we’re making such good progress on something that will make a real difference in our schools and classrooms.

“Unions and groups representing teachers, principals, boards of trustees, and others in the sector have worked closely with the Ministry of Education to produce a report that demonstrates very practical thinking.

“I want to acknowledge the expertise and experience Working Group members brought to the table to advance this work. I know they’re as committed as we are to raising achievement so five out of five kids succeed.”

Ms Parata says the Working Group was set up to work on the design of the initiative to help ensure it can be successfully implemented from next year.

“Many in the sector have been keenly awaiting the detail of the work, and the publication of the report and independent working papers will provide full transparency and insight to the Working Group’s considerations.

“The profession will be interested to see that the implementation of the initiative will build on communities of schools already collaborating around the education pathways in their neighbourhoods, as well as new communities. The new teaching and leadership resources will only be available to those who choose to work in this systematic collaborative way.”

“The advice of the Working Group is another step on the process of consultation and design that provides a strong foundation on which to continue work on the design and implementation of Investing in Educational Success.”

Ms Parata says members supported the main features and also identified areas where more work is needed.

These include:
• the professional standards base of the new roles
• the selection and appointment process to the roles
• the use of evidence to map progress towards the achievement challenges at the heart of this initiative
• how to set up and run collaborative communities of schools

“The Working Group welcomed the availability of both relief and inquiry time to support the growth of excellence across the profession, and it considered that the significant level of the allowances created an excellent incentive, demonstrating a serious commitment to better career pathways for teachers and principals.

“The Government has carefully considered the advice in the report and I have tasked the Ministry of Education with continuing to work with the sector to finalise the details. Working Group members have been invited to join an Advisory Group so they can remain closely involved in this work.”

Ms Parata says the Secretary for Education will also be initiating discussions with unions over how Investing in Educational Success will affect teachers’ and principals’ terms and conditions.

“It’s great we’re all travelling forward with this work, and I have asked the Secretary for Education to progress it with the new Advisory Group, through bargaining, or as priority work streams within the Ministry.

“I want to thank the Working Group for its constructive collaboration over the opportunity to design a big initiative with such far reaching potential.

“Having broad support as we look to raise student achievement is great for kids, parents, schools and our country as a whole.

“This investment is part of a comprehensive range of practical measures we’re delivering through Budget 2014 to help families and children and I look forward to seeing the first communities of schools from the first term of 2015,” Ms Parata says.

The Working Group report can be found at: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/theMinistry/EducationInitiatives/InvestingInEducationalSuccess.aspx

Frequently asked questions
What is proposed under Investing in Educational Success?
The Government is working with the sector to introduce three new roles within schools and an extra allowance to attract highly capable principals to schools that have the greatest challenges.
These roles are to support greater collaboration among teachers and provide a mechanism to share expertise across communities of schools. They will help recognise highly effective teachers and principals, and provide teachers with opportunities for advancement while remaining in the classroom.
To complement the new roles, a Teacher-Led Innovation Fund will foster new and effective teaching practices which can be shared across the system. Schools will also be supported with additional time for teachers to collaborate on ways to improve practice and raise student achievement.

Is this performance pay?
No. Investing in Educational Success is not performance pay. The new roles provide a leadership and career development opportunity for highly capable teachers and principals. The extra allowances are for delivering new functions. Pay is not dependant on meeting performance outcomes and there are no ‘bonuses’ for meeting targets.

Why is so much being spent on Investing in Educational Success?
The initiative is expected to make a significant contribution to raising student achievement.
New Zealand has an achievement challenge. Our top students are doing as well as students anywhere in the world but there is a big gap between our top performing students and those who aren’t doing so well. Too many Māori and Pasifika students, students from low socio-economic families and those with special education needs, continue to be under-served by the system.
Investing in Educational Success will respond to this achievement challenge. The Government expects it to accelerate achievement and to improve equity of educational outcomes.

Is Investing in Educational Success compulsory?
No. Schools can choose whether to take part or not. However, access to funding for the new roles and for Inquiry Time will be available only to schools that join a Community of Schools.

What's the timeline?
The Ministry of Education will continue to work with the sector over the next few months to finalise the details. It is expected the first Communities of Schools will be in place by the end of this year, and that teachers and principals will start being appointed to the new roles in time for Term One of 2015. Full implementation will happen by 2017.

What are the three work streams?
The three work streams are establishing Communities of Schools, developing professional standards for the new roles, and developing processes for selection, appointment and appraisal of the new roles.
As agreed by the Working Group, the Ministry will work closely with sector representatives and practitioners to make progress in these areas.

What will these roles be called?
The Working Group has asked for the names of the new roles to be further discussed, and this will be done with the sector.

Will there still be the same number of roles proposed back in January?
This will be finalised when once further discussions have been held with unions and the sector.

Will Executive Principals report to the Ministry of Education rather than their schools?
No. All principals, including those with new roles, will continue to report exclusively to their employing Boards of Trustees.

What is Inquiry Time?
Investing in Educational Success includes funding which will support schools to release teachers for Inquiry Time, providing teachers with an opportunity to learn from colleagues across their Communities of Schools.
Work will continue with the sector on how this will operate, including balancing the amount of Inquiry Time available against the allowances paid for the new roles.
What is Relief (or Release) time?
This is back-filling to cover the new roles working across Communities of Schools.

What is the Innovation Fund?
The $10m Teacher-led Innovation Fund will help teachers develop and put in place innovative and effective practice in their schools and communities. The Ministry will continue to progress design and planning for the Innovation Fund over the next few months.


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