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Education Transformation Has Been A Long Time Coming

The system update contained in the Education and Training Act 2019 has been a long time coming.

The New Zealand School Trustees Association is welcoming news that the new legislation has passed its third reading as schools around the country observe Matariki / Puanga, the traditional season of renewal.

There is a lot to celebrate in this new legislation - including the focus on more robust consultation and collaboration to strengthen the connections between boards of trustees, their principals and staff, their school communities and Ministry officials.

Many of the best parts of the system remain unchanged, including the important role school boards of trustees have as elected officials, representing their local community and governing their local school in a way that effectively balances local needs with national policy goals.

Starting as we mean to continue will be important for all stakeholders in the schooling system including local school communities over the next few years as we work together to embed the best possible interpretations and practices in response to the changed provisions.

This will be particularly visible as boards work with their communities and staff to give effect to the Treaty of Waitangi, and to reach a workable understanding of the balance between behaviour management and being a genuinely safe and inclusive school for every student.

"As Minister Hipkins has acknowledged in the House, the Act is not necessarily perfect - but there is truth in the saying that ‘perfect is the enemy of good’," says NZSTA President Lorraine Kerr.

This is the beginning of a new year and a new look for our education system. Parliament has done its part. The responsibility now rests with all of us to make the reality under this new Act better each year than it was the year before.

"Everything has its season, and everything evolves, including our ideas about what’s good enough for our children and young people in terms of their education. Matariki is the perfect time to be marking the next stage in our evolution."

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