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Hubs gone, but more questions than answers

Media Release

Tuesday 12 November 2019


Hubs gone, but more questions than answers in 10-year proposal

The Labour-NZ First Coalition listened to parents, school communities, trustees, principals and teachers with today’s announcement by Education Minister Chris Hipkins that controversial Education Hubs will not proceed, the Community Schools Alliance (CSA) said today.

However, the CSA says today’s announcement involves more questions than answers with no detail over important aspects of the Government’s proposed school reforms, particularly around the management of school property, enrolment schemes and zoning, and the role of Leadership Advisors.

“We are pleased the Government has recognised New Zealand’s 2341 self-managing community schools are offering the very best education available to students anywhere in the world but a minority needs significant extra help,” Pat Newman, Principal of Hora Hora Primary School in Whāngarei, said today on behalf of the CSA. “Our first read of the Minister’s announcement is that that community-elected Boards of Trustees will continue to govern schools which is very good news.”

Tim O’Connor, Headmaster of Auckland Grammar School in Epsom, agreed. “There’s no doubt the Government should be commended for removing Education Hubs. However, after such an extensive process the government has sadly failed to present a definitive way forward for school administration, and instead has presented just another consultation document with more questions than answers.”

Glen Denham, Principal of Massey High School in West Auckland, said questions remained over the management of school property and zoning, and also over the role and legal powers of the proposed Leadership Advisors. “It is disappointing that two years into its term, the Government still seems not to have clear policy over these crucial matters of school administration. For example, how school property is built and managed has a very significant influence over how teachers teach and students learn in the classroom. We will need to read today’s announcements very carefully before giving them a final grade.”

Pem Bird, Principal or Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Motuhake o Tāwhiuau (Murupara) said community control over school property was particularly important for kura and other schools seeking to deliver education in a way specifically targeted at the cultural and other needs of their students. “Today’s announcements appear to maintain the autonomy of Māori education, which is essential, but we will need to wait for a few weeks to digest all the proposals before reaching a final conclusion.”

John Kendal, Principal of Northland College in Kaikohe, said he hoped today’s announcements would enable the education sector to move away from arguing over administrative matters to working out to improve the teaching and learning of all teachers and students. “We’ve spent two years talking about administration, which is important, but we now seem to have 10 years ahead of further debate about admin. We need to put our main focus back on teaching and learning where it belongs.”

The CSA was launched in March to promote and defend the strengths of the existing school system and oppose the idea of Education Hubs. More than 40 schools became part of the CSA with every member making a contribution to the campaign from locally raised funds on behalf of themselves, their communities and the 2431 state and integrated schools in New Zealand.

A New Zealand Herald report of its launch can be found here.

Members of the Community Schools Alliance as at Tuesday 26 March 2019-03-25

Westlake Boys’ High School

Wakaaranga School

Te Kura Kaupapa Māori Motuhake o Tāwhiuau

Taieri College

St Peter’s College

St Paul’s College Auckland

St John's College Hastings

St Dominic's Catholic Primary School

South Auckland Middle School

Sacred Heart College

Rotorua Boys' High School

Rangitoto College

Pigeon Mountain Primary School

Palmerston North Boys’ High School

Owairoa Primary School

Otahuhu College

One Tree Hill College

Northland College

Northern Southland College

Murray's Bay Primary

Murray's Bay Intermediate

Mt Hobson Middle School

Mt Eden Normal Primary School

Mt Albert Grammar

Middle School West Auckland

Maungawhau School

Massey High School

Marist College

Macleans College

Liston College

Kohia Terrace School

King’s High School

John Paul College

James Hargest College

Hutt International Boys' School

Hora Hora Primary School

Hamilton Boys’ High School

De La Salle

Chanel College

Campbells Bay Primary

Bucklands Beach Intermediate

Baradene College

Auckland Grammar


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