unqualified teachers

This tag is associated with 16 posts

More untrained teachers in the classroom

Last week, out of nowhere, government added a proposal to the Education Act update that would allow Teach First teacher trainees to be in the classroom unsupervised.

Yes, that’s right – a trainee with no qualifications in teaching would be allowed to be in charge of the whole class unsupervised.

You have to wonder why that would be proposed? What’s the justification?

Fishy goings on?

Before getting to the education issues, I first have to ask, how is it acceptable to add in such an important change to the proposed Education Act amendments without informing people so we have a chance to submit? That’s not democracy; it’s underhand, disingenuous and it’s railroading.

You have  to wonder what the process was that led to it being put in at the very last minute, too. The cynic in me can’t help but wonder whether it was purposefully held back just long enough to leave no time for people to put up submissions about the plan. If that’s not the reason, then why the last-minute appearance? Something’s fishy, and this time it’s not MPI’s catch quotas.

Lowering the bar

As with any proposals, we should ask who this proposal benefits and who it impacts.

We have a glut of well-trained, qualified primary trained teachers as it is, so where’s the need to lower the bar this way? What’s the imperative to have trainees in front of classrooms with no supervision?

Better Training?

I’d love to hear how unsupervised time in the classroom is better for the trainee than supervised training and co-teaching, where a teacher with years of experience observes and gives feedback and where the student can see the teacher at work and reflect on what works well and why.

Good self reflection on one’s pedagogical practice is something that develops over time, guided initially by mentors and becoming deeper and more meaningful as you grow as a teacher. It’s not something you can just do. After all, to begin with, you don’t know what you don’t know.

So how is being unsupervised/unmentored /unsupported a good move?

Better Trainees?

Teach First often cites that its trainee teachers have high degrees or Masters qualifications. But being a good teacher isn’t just about knowing your subject, and even more so at primary level where your subject will be only a tiny part of what you teach anyway.

Just as important as book smarts is knowing how to engage students, how to create a productive environment, how to plan effectively, how to adapt planning on the fly when you have to, how to deal with upsets, what to do to support those who struggle or who find a task easy, how to spot those who are not pushing themselves and what to do to help them, how to deal with parents’ concerns, what to do about the wriggler or the weeper or the kind that has a tendency to disrupt things. How to teach kids to analyse their own work and improve it, what to do about the kids who never push themselves and the ones who are too hard on themselves. How to help the kid that has started stealing things. How to stay calm and deal with  vomit, wees and a’code brown’so that the child involved isn’t stigmatised. What to do when a lunch box is empty or insufficient. Or when a child is taking other kids’ food. How to stick to timings, how to teach students to care for their environment and pack up the classroom equipment properly and efficiently. How to encourage and support reluctant readers. And what to do when the fire alarm goes or when a kid suddenly runs out of your classroom and keeps running.

While you’re learning those things, you need a mentor on hand.

Guinea pigs

Most pertinently, it is important to ask how this impact students.


Image courtesy of joannawnuk at

Government keeps telling us that to give students the best change of success teachers must be excellently trained. How is this excellence?

I’ve seen some good and great initial teacher trainees but also some absolute shockers, including ones with lots of classroom experience, so it concerns me that this proposal allows not just seasoned trainees but also brand new trainees to go into classrooms unsupervised. How someone with no teaching experience or training (practical or theoretical) can be expected to do a good job of teaching without guidance is mind-boggling.

As a teacher it concerns me: As a parent I am fuming.

My child is not a guinea pig. My child deserves a qualified teacher. And so does yours.

Government continues bid to remove political independence of teachers – NZEI

stressThe government has ignored the overwhelming concerns of New Zealanders in its bid to quash the political independence of the teaching profession.

The Education Amendment Bill has been reported back to the House with a recommendation that it be passed.

The legislation will makes it easier for unqualified and unregistered people to act as teachers in charter schools as well as removing the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body.

“The government has completely disregarded the overwhelming number of submissions which called on it to allow the new teacher representative body to remain professionally rather than politically driven,” says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.

“Instead, once the legislation is passed, the Minister will handpick representatives for the new EDUCANZ body being set up to replace the Teachers’ Council.

“What other professional body has their representatives chosen by the Minister of the day rather than electing their own representatives?”

“This legislation is about ideology and undermining the teaching profession – not about addressing the needs of all New Zealand children and ensuring their right to quality public education.

“The government has also disregarded the views of New Zealanders who have made it clear they don’t want unqualified and unregistered people teaching in our schools.

“This is a major step backwards and will put the education of many children at risk.

“I am sure that New Zealanders will see how this legislation completely contradicts the government’s rhetoric about wanting to improve the quality of education.”

Resist Teach For America (and Teach First NZ?)

resist TFAThe article below highlights concerns with Teach For America (TFA) and speaks to many of the concerns regarding Teach First NZ:

Article Reblogged from Cloaking Inequity:

“Have you ever found yourself trapped in the insufferable position of having to tolerate a Teach For America true believer relentlessly bombarding you with justifications for Teach For America’s placement atop the corporate org chart of educational excellence?

Teach For America is a $300 million “non-profit” organization that executes a highly sophisticated integrated marketing communications strategy that includes traditional and digital advertising, a wide range of experiential and special event initiatives, and plenty of public and media relations.

With millions spent on corporate communications, it’s to be expected that Teach For America has crafted a concise list of focus-group tested talking points. With discipline matched only by GOP pundits, Teach For America’s “brand evangelists” (from the corporate communications team all the way down to the on-campus recruitment interns) stay “on message” by relentlessly repeating the same lines. The only problem? Many are deceptive at best, while others are downright false.

Here are some suggested replies for eight of Teach For America’s most tried arguments.

1. When a Teach For America supporter says: ”Teach For America might not be the answer, but it’s a part of the solution.”

This is how you might respond: To overcome the challenges associated with educational inequity, Teach For America’s standard of training would require it to be vastly superior to any school of education or alternative route – not less. Corps members would need the ability to deconstruct their own privilege, fully understand their own role in historically oppressed communities, and develop strong relationships with true veteran teachers (not Teach For America corps members who only taught 2 or 3 years). Unfortunately, with only a few weeks of training, and often zero student-teaching hours within the placement community or assigned grade, Teach For America corps members receive nothing close to the unparalleled training that would be required to systemically reduce educational inequity. In all likelihood, by providing the least prepared teachers to the students with the greatest needs, Teach For America corps members may be doing more harm than good.

2. When a Teach For America supporter says: “Teach For America corps members are more effective teachers. The Mathematica study shows that Teach For America corps members produce gains equal to 2.6 extra months of learning.”

This is how you might respond: This is how you might respond: First, there is no such thing as a test that measures months of learning. That would mean all students learn at the same pace. As any parent or teacher knows, that’s not true. In fact, the “gain” was just .07 standard deviations (miniscule in statistics). By comparison, reducing class size can increase learning by .20 standard deviations (3x more effective). Second, the study only included Teach For America secondary math teachers (136 of them), but claims that this is true for all Teach For America corps members regardless of whether they teach secondary math or not. In most communities, the majority of Teach For America corps members teach elementary, not secondary. Therefore, the miniscule test score gains in this study do not apply to the vast majority of Teach For America corps members. Using the Mathematica study to imply that all Teach For America corps members are more effective than other teachers is patently deceptive. (This entry was edited on 3/19/2014 to make a correction in response to a critiqued levied by Teach For America)

For more information on the Mathematica study check out:

How I teach 2.6 months more of math in a year than the rest of you slackers
New Mathematica TFA Study is Irrational Exuberance
“Does Not Compute”: Teach For America Mathematica Study is Deceptive?

resist TFA 23. When a Teach For America supporter says:  “Teach For America doesn’t take jobs from other teachers. Teach For America just provides corps members for regions that have teacher shortages.”

This is how you might respond: School districts run by politicians who are pushing for the corporate takeover of public education sign contracts with Teach For America to hire Teach For America corps members each year regardless of whether there is a qualified teacher shortage in the region or not. Chicago is a perfect example. In 2013, after closing 49 schools and laying off 850 teachers and staff because of “budget concerns”, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s hand-picked school board authorized an increase of 325 new Teach For America corps members at a cost to Chicago taxpayers of $1.6 million in addition to the salaries that the schools will pay Teach For America corps members. Teach For America corps members are now in direct competition with displaced teachers for available jobs at district schools and charter schools. Similar situations have occurred across the country includingBostonNew Orleans, and Newark.

4. When a Teach For America supporter says:  “Teach For America doesn’t take jobs from other teachers. Teach For America just provides teachers for subject areas that have teacher shortages.”

This is how you might respond: Teach For America’s school district contracts make clear that Teach For America teachers are to be considered for all open teaching positions in a district, not just hard to staff subject areas. Teach For America’s contract with Louisiana’s Jefferson Parish Public School System explicitly states, “Teach For America Teachers will be hired by School District for vacancies across the full range of grades and subject matters and not restricted or limited to so-called ‘critical’ or ‘shortage’ subjects or grade level vacancies.”

5. When a Teach For America supporter says: “One third (33%) of Teach For America corps member alumni are still teaching.”

This is how you might respond: Teach For America’s data comes from their annual alumni survey. Unfortunately, Teach For America won’t provide that survey data to outside researchers to verify their claims. However, peer-reviewed research studies show that roughly only 20% of Teach For America corps members are still teaching anywhere after five years (the national average is approximately 50%).

6. When a Teach For America supporter says: “Two-thirds of Teach For America alumni remain in education”

This is how you might respond: Teach For America’s data comes from their annual alumni survey. Unfortunately, Teach For America won’t provide that survey data to outside researchers to verify their claims. However, it is widely accepted that many Teach For America alumni, including those who only taught for two or three years, go on to become principals at privately managed charter schools and run school districts. This begs the question, “Are novice teachers with 2-3 years experience really qualified to be running schools and districts?”

TFA cartoon7. When a Teach For America supporter says: “Teach For America is not a part of a conspiracy to privatize education.”

This is how you might respond: In districts across the country, pro-business politicians are closing down public schools and replacing them with privately managed charter schools. Many recent court decisions have concluded that charter schools are not public schools even though they receive public money. A public entity is accountable to the public. A private enterprise is accountable to its board of directors and shareholders. Therefore, as public schools are closed and replaced by privately managed charter schools, the public school system is becoming privatized.

Teach For America’s role in this privatization agenda is by providing corps members to teach at the newly opened charter schools for wages that are often well below the first-year salary of local public school teachers. Recent documents revealed that many charter school management organizations are so dependent on Teach For America to provide them cheap labor that charter managers are reluctant to open new schools without Teach For America.

For more information on Teach For America’s connections to other agents in the privatization and corporate takeover of public education, read the report Mapping the Terrain: Teach For America, Charter School Reform, and Corporate Sponsorship by Teach For America alums, Kerry Ketchmar and Beth Sondel.

8. When a Teach For America supporter says: “Teach For America corps members will now have one year of training.”

This is how you might respond: This is a step in the right direction, but no details have emerged. Furthermore, it is being launched as a pilot program and will most likely not include all corps members. Therefore, Teach For America will still send thousands of the least prepared teachers into classrooms with children who have the greatest needs.

This article is reblogged from Cloaking Inequity

For all of Cloaking Inequity’s posts on Teach For America click here.

Strong opposition to Teachers Council revamp

Teachers have expressed strong opposition to the government’s plans to change the Teachers Council, because of concerns it will undermine quality teaching for New Zealand children, said NZEI today.teamwork

As submissions to the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) closed this week, more than 450 NZEI members had made submissions opposing the legislation.  The Bill makes it easier for unqualified people to act as teachers, removes the right of teachers to directly elect their own professional body and replaces a high trust model with a low trust, compliance-based framework.

NZEI President Judith Nowotarski said all students deserved to have a qualified and registered teacher.

“The legislation undermines quality teaching by extending the status of people with limited authority to teach and allows for unqualified people acting as teachers in charter schools.”

“There is no place for unqualified people acting as teachers in schools or early childhood centres.”

“The Minister of Education claims to be creating a more independent body, valuing teaching and fully trusting teachers. But this Bill is really undermining the teaching profession. It is putting students at risk by lowering teaching standards for staff in charter schools. To top it off, the Bill expands government control by introducing the right for the minister to directly appoint every member.”

“Extensive consultation last year showed the sector clearly wanted an independent body whose members were directly elected out of the profession by the profession, along with appointments made in the public interest,” said Ms Nowotarski.

The new Education Council will replace the Teachers Council as the regulatory and professional body of teachers.

Boonman’s education pop quiz 2013

quizI do love a good quiz, and Mr Boon has some excellent questions for us:

“As the curtain comes down on 2013 I have just a few questions:

  1. If it took a new school in Wellington a year to set up (principal and teachers working behind the scenes for 12 months before a student set foot in the place – heard them speak at a conference), how can the 5 new charter schools the government issued licences to just a few months back be ready for the 2014 school year with a school that will successfully deliver education to kiwi learners?
  2. Why won’t the government accept that the under-achieving 20% tail they keep talking about is actually the same 20% of kiwi kids living in poverty (according to the report by the Children’s Commissioner that figure is now 25%)?
  3. How can the government reconcile its continued calls for improved teacher quality with the regulation allowing charter schools to hire unregistered, unqualified staff to teach in their classrooms?
  4. Will the New Zealand public drop their love-affair with the bafoonering of John Key and vote in a Labour/Green government this time next year?”

What are your answers?  Boonman’s are pretttty good… Here are Boonman’s answers.

David Shearer’s Labour Party Conference Speech – The Education Bits

David Shearer, Labour Leader

What is Labour promising to do for education if elected in 2014…

The approach to education will change.

I started my working life as a teacher. So I have an appreciation of the valuable job teachers do.

And I know a gimmick when I see one.

Bigger classes, unqualified teachers, charter schools and performance pay will achieve nothing.

The intelligent approach, the one I will follow is the one that asks:  what will it take to make this education system the best in the world?

Our teachers are demoralised. Yet we all know they are critical to equipping our kids for the modern world.

We know too that shutting schools in Christchurch destroys communities and causes heartache for already distressed families.

I went to a public meeting there after receiving a moving letter from Christchurch mum Sonya Boyd.  She’s devastated that her local school will close and is worried about the impact on her son Ben, his friends and in fact the whole community.

At that meeting a parent told me: Hekia Parata is doing what 10,000 earthquakes couldn’t do – destroying our school.

I say to the people of Christchurch: we are committed to helping you rebuild your city from the grassroots up – not the Beehive down.

You want, more than anything, to get your lives back, and on your own terms.

It’s time you had a government that stood alongside you.”


Closing Statement

“We won’t be taking office to tinker, we’ll be taking office to remake New Zealand.

So I am asking you.

To rise up.

To take a message of hope to New Zealanders.

To fight for our future.

To say loud and clear that there is a better way. There is a Labour way.

We can do it, standing strong together.

We can make the change.

And we’ll do that in 2014.”


For the whole speech, click here.

What’s Even Dafter Than Unqualified and Untrained Teachers?

Answer:  Unqualified and untrained teachers being given Qualified Teacher Status.

Catherine Isaacs’ latest ridiculous idea is  to give official teacher registration to people who have no teaching qualifications at all.

Yes, that’s right – NONE.

No research, training or prior learning in pedagogy of any description.

Nothing about different educational psychology, learning theories, multiple intelligences, behavioural practices, cognitive research, constructivist theory,  issues around motivation, assessment of students’ learning, or behaviour and classroom management.

Zip, diddly, squat.

And yet Isaacs is proposing these people (I refuse to call them teachers) are recognised as qualified teachers by the Teachers’ Council.

Does she seriously think that subject knowledge alone is all it takes?  Some of the cleverest people I have known cannot explain a darned thing to those at a lower level of understanding, failing to grasp what is needed to break the information down, let alone impart it to a room full of different students, some who are interested, some not, some who are clever, some who are not, some who learn by thinking, some by doing, and, well, you get the idea.

I am not arguing against experts being in classrooms, far from it – but if someone truly wants to teach then they surely should be happy to invest in learning the ins and outs of the whole job, which is a darned sight more than just having a high level of subject knowledge.

Would you be happy for your child to receive a diagnosis or injection from someone with a degree in biology or chemistry but no medical training?   It’s madness, pure and simple.


Further reading

PPTA Responds to Education Amendment Bill

“Education bill for privateers not pupils

16 October 2012

The government appears to be ashamed of its latest attack on public education, shunting out its education amendment bill at 5pm yesterday.

Unregistered teachers, double-bunking and the usual spin were all characteristics of the bill which PPTA president Robin Duff said favoured privateers over pupils.

“It appears the government is not proud of the steps it is taking towards privatising New Zealand’s education sector. Why else introduce the bill the night before parliament actually sits?”

The bill was yet another step towards the privatisation of New Zealand’s education sector, Duff said.

“It claims to introduce a different type of school – a ‘partnership’ school – which is just a private school with 100% public money. It might be more accurate to describe these as ‘parasitic schools’,” he said.

Parents, teachers and students in Christchurch should also be very worried, Duff said.

“Not only will they have to contend with unwanted charter schools but the bill’s reference to ‘multiple timetables’ seems to open the door to more ‘double bunking’.”

Two schools sharing the same site at different times was a measure taken during a disaster situation, but it was fraught with difficulty.

“It is not a practice we would advocate being rolled out across the country,” Duff said.

“The minister of education’s crowing about the importance of teacher quality rings hollow when she is now legislating to excuse charter schools from employing registered teachers.

“It invites questions as to whether the minister has any belief at all in the need for teachers to be trained and qualified. If this is okay for charter schools then perhaps this is the plan she has for all teachers?”

Duff said it was disappointing that with all the serious issues facing education in New Zealand the minister insisted on focussing on a red-herring solution like charter schools.

“After 20 years of operating in the USA there is no evidence of charter schools providing better outcomes for students.

“It’s not better, it’s not innovative and it’s not for New Zealand,” he said.

 CONTACT: PPTA PRESIDENT ROBIN DUFF 04 913 4227 OR 021 636 108″


NZEI Responds to Charter Schools Bill

“New Zealand opening the door to dangerous era in education

Legislation introduced into Parliament this week sets New Zealand on course for a dangerous new era in education.

The legislation paves the way for the establishment of charter schools which will be allowed to employ unqualified people to act as teachers.

NZEI Te Riu Roa National President Ian Leckie says the Government has no mandate to introduce this failed Act party policy.

“New Zealanders did not vote at the last election to allow people who are not qualified or registered as teachers to work in our schools as teachers.”

“All New Zealand children deserve to be taught by qualified and registered teachers”, says Mr Leckie.

He says the move is clearly designed to de-professionalise teaching and will have negative consequences for children’s learning.

“We need to focus on retaining and improving equity in our public education system so that all children get access to a good education.”

“Unfortunately, the Government is putting flawed ideology ahead of best teaching practice and this will be very damaging for quality public education in this country,” he says.”

Education Amendment Bill – NZ Charter (or Partnership) Schools

The minute I saw it had been released I knew my night, week, month and possibly whole year were ruined.  But read it I did, and here for your delight are the bits that relate to partnership schools (charter schools ) in full, without comment from me, so you can read them and make up your own minds:

(The full Bill is linked at the bottom, should you wish to read about other areas covered by it, also.)

FACTSHEET 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL (quoted in full, verbatim and without comment)

Where can the Education Amendment Bill be found?

What are the Bill’s goals?

  • The Education Amendment Bill: provides for a new type of school, which brings together the education, business and community sectors to provide new opportunities for students to achieve education success safeguards learners by establishing clear surrender and retention provisions for schools makes assorted amendments to a number of other provisions.

What does the Bill cover?

  • The Education Amendment Bill covers:Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua surrender and retention the identification of the primary purpose of school boards of trustees the introduction of a new category of national student numbers the introduction of third party leasing arrangements for early childhood centres the introduction of more flexible school timetabling arrangements for learners the streamlining of processes for alternative board constitutions the introduction of electronic publishing of schools’ annual financial statements.

Where can the Regulatory Impact Statements be found?

  • The Ministry of Education produced four regulatory impact statements to inform the Government’s main policy decisions on matters covered in the bill. These are: “Developing and Implementing a New Zealand Model of Charter School” “Education Amendment Bill (No 2) 2012 including search and seizure in schools” “Amending the assignment of National Student Numbers” “Legislation on School Boards of Trustees”.

Copies of the regulatory impact statements can be found at –

FACTSHEET 2 (quoted verbatim without comment)

Where can the Cabinet Decisions regarding Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua be found?

  • The Cabinet paper outlining the model for Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua is available on the Ministry of Education’s website at

Why is the Government making changes to legislation?

  • The Government is making changes to legislation, through the Education Amendment Bill, to allow for the freedoms, rights and protections stated in the Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua model. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be a third type of school in the system (the other two being state and private schools). The Education Amendment Bill sets out the legal framework for this new type of school. The Bill also sets out the provisions for the relationship between the Sponsor and the Crown.

Why is the Government introducing Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua?

  • We already have a number of different types of schools operating in New Zealand, such as state, state-integrated, or private schools.
  • Partnership Schools will be another option for parents and students, giving them more freedom to choose the type of education that best suits their child’s needs.’ Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua are one of the new approaches needed if we are going to address educational underachievement and ensure that five out of five young New Zealanders succeed.
  • There is an emerging body of research from overseas that shows well-run, well-led schools of this type can successfully lift achievement for learners from minority groups and low socio-economic backgrounds.

Why aren’t these schools called charter schools?

  • The term “charter” is already defined in New Zealand legislation and all state schools have a charter.

Why isn’t the part of the Act relating to the Education Review Office amended? Does this mean that ERO staff will not review Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua?

  • Section 324 of the Education Act 1989 already allows the Education Review Office (ERO) to review any educational service (other than those solely for students 16 or older) that are funded by public money or regulated by statute. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will therefore be reviewable by ERO.

Why hasn’t the State Sector Act been amended?

  • The State Sector Act does not currently cover all registered schools (it specifically only relates to State schools) so adding a third type of registered school does not impact on the existing provisions of the State Sector Act.

Why are Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua not subject to the Ombudsmen Act and Official Information Act?

  • Not applying the Ombudsmen or Official Information Act is consistent with the status of a Sponsor as a community or commercial organisation.

I have heard that Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will not need to employ registered teachers? Is this true?

  • The number or percentage of registered teachers required at the school will be agreed to in the partnership school contract (with all non-teaching and unregistered employees also being Police vetted). There is already a number of unregistered teachers working in the education system – there are early childhood educators, volunteers, teachers under the Limited Authority to Teach category, tertiary educators, trade courses, and staff at Private Training Establishments that are teaching but are not registered with the Teachers’ Council. Sponsors will have to illustrate how they will ensure that any non-registered teaching staff have the skills, knowledge and competencies required to deliver their chosen curriculum.  All staff at a Partnership School/Kura Hourua who are not registered teachers will be police vetted.

GUIDE TO THE EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL 2012 (highlights only, again without comment)

2. The Education Amendment Bill:
Sets out the necessary legal framework for the introduction of a new type of school into the schooling network, alongside state schools and private schools. These schools will be known as Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.

The Bill sets out the necessary legal framework for the introduction of a new type of school into the schooling network, alongside state schools and private schools. These schools will be known as Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. The name Kura Hourua has been derived from Waka Hourua, which is the Māori name for the traditional sea voyaging double-hulled canoes. The two hulls joined together created a stronger and more versatile vessel better able to cope with all of the challenges of the vast Pacific Ocean.

Kura Horua has been chosen as the term that best represents the intent behind the Partnership Schools, with hourua encapsulating the notion of the partnership and journey the Government and community are embarking on and kura being commonly used for „school‟.

Because the term “charter” already has a specific meaning in the Education Act, a new term has had to be used.

Although Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua have similarities to charter schools or free schools in other countries, the model in the Bill has been developed specifically for the New Zealand context.

Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be accountable to the Crown for raising student achievement through a contract to deliver a range of specified school-level targets. The contract will be with a sponsor who can run the school not for profit or for profit.

Sponsors will have more freedom over how they run their school to meet the needs of their students and achieve their school-level targets. Partnership Schools will be open to all students who apply for entry, regardless of background or ability, and will have no tuition fees.

The Bill deals with only those aspects of the policy that need to be put into legislation. Other aspects are dealt with in the relevant Cabinet paper at:

Provisions in the Bill fall into three categories:

  • a new Part of the Education Act 1989 (Part 12A) that sets out how Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua come into existence, how sponsors are held accountable, a sponsors obligations to parents and learners and for the rights of learners
  • amendments to make it clear whether or how existing sections of the Education Act 1989 apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Horua
  • amendments to clarify the relevance of other legislation such as the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the Privacy Act, the Official Information Act and the Ombudsmen Act.


37. This clause includes a number of definitions related to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.

38. It defines a Partnership School contract, a Partnership School|Kura Hourua, and a sponsor.

39. A primary Partnership School is defined. Although there will be secondary and composite partnerships schools, these are not defined here because those definitions are not necessary for Part 1 of the Act.

40. The definition of “registered school” which is used throughout the Act to refer to both state schools (including integrated schools) and private schools is expanded to include a Partnership School|Kura Hourua.
Clause 5 Right to free education

41. This extends a domestic students right to free education in state schools to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
Clauses 7 and 8 Exclusions and expulsions

42. The Education Act gives the Secretary of Education power to direct a state school that is not an integrated school to enrol a student who has been excluded or expelled. This is to ensure that the student has the opportunity to continue with their education.

43. Clauses 7 and 8 provide that the Secretary can also direct a Partnership School|Kura Hourua to enrol such a student. Because Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua can be schools with special characteristics, the student‟s parents have to agree to the enrolment.
44. Stand downs, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions from Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua are dealt with in Part 12A.

Clauses 9 and 10 Attendance
45. Students enrolled in a Partnership School|Kura Hourua have the same obligations to attend their school as students in state schools. A sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua will be able to appoint an attendance officer in the same way as state schools. The sponsor has an obligation to take all reasonable steps to ensure that a student attends school when they are required to.

Clauses 11-14 Secondary/ tertiary partnerships
46. These provisions allow Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua and their students to become involved in secondary-tertiary programmes such as trades academies.

Clause 17 Enrolment records
47. The provisions for keeping enrolment records that currently apply to state and private schools will also apply to Partnership Schools|Kura hourura. The amendment to this section defines the principal of a Partnership School|Hura Hourura because such schools may not have a staff member who meets the traditional definition of a principal already used in the Act.

Clauses 23-26 Teacher registration
48. This clause contains amendments necessary to ensure that sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua do not have to employ registered teachers in all teaching positions. (Provisions in new Part 12A make the number or percentage of registered teachers a matter to be determined when the contract is negotiated.)

49. Since sponsors will be able to employ registered teachers, these clauses also ensure that sponsors have the same duties as boards of trustees in respect of those teachers. Because the leader of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua may not be an educationalist, there is a need to clarify that the person given responsibilities for overseeing teacher registration requirements need not be the principal. There is therefore an amended version of “professional leader” as being the person to whom the sponsor has assigned the role of supervising teaching practice.”

50. Sponsors will not be able to employ in teaching positions persons who have had their registration cancelled or who have been suspended.
Clause 27 Corporal Punishment

51. The same provisions forbidding corporal punishment that apply to state and private schools apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.
Clause 28 Surrender and retention

52. The new provisions governing surrender and retention will apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua (refer s158T in new Part 12A).
Clause 29 Information to the Secretary

53. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be subject to the same requirements as other schools, state and private, to provide information to the Secretary of Education for the proper administration of the Act.

54. This new Part covers the establishment of Partnership Schools| Kura Hourua, the accountabilities, powers and duties of sponsors,
New section 158A Interpretation

55. The new section 158A defines the different types of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua that can be established – primary, secondary and composite. There is no specific definition for a special education Partnership School as any such school would be established as a primary, secondary or composite school and the focus on special education would be part of any distinguishing characteristics of the school.

56. The section defines a “body” and sponsors must fall under this definition. Individuals cannot be sponsors unless they adopt some form of incorporation. This is to help manage financial risk. Sponsors can be for-profit or not-for-profit organisations.

New Section 158B Approval of sponsors
57. This new section sets out the process whereby a body can be approved as the sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua. The Minister will do this through a notice in the Gazette that also sets out things such as the name, location, and type of school; the Year levels that will be catered for; whether it will be single-sex; and any religious, philosophical, or other distinguishing
characteristics. The Gazette notice can also provide for different Year levels to be phased in. This is useful when a new school is being set up and may want to build up its student body gradually.
New Section 158C Minister to appoint advisory group

58. This section requires the Minister to appoint an advisory group to provide advice on the approval of sponsors and the educational performance of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. This is to enable the availability of expert advice around the viability and likely success of possible schools and their ongoing provision of quality education once they have been approved.
New section 158D Partnership School contracts

59. A Partnership School contract defines the relationship between a sponsor and the Crown and sets out the undertakings and obligations agreed to by each of the parties. This section describes some of the fundamental items that must be included in every Partnership School contract and allows for the inclusion of other matters on which the parties are agreed.

60. Some matters which must be included are the performance standards, the curriculum and qualifications, the maximum roll, the numbers of registered teachers to be employed and reporting requirements. The contract must also provide for reporting requirements and the circumstances when the Minister and the Secretary can intervene (note that section 158L provides for intervention to deal with emergency situations).

61. The contract is for a fixed term and must set out arrangements for an orderly end to the contract, so that the education of the students is not unduly compromised.
New Section 158E Prohibitions on operation of Partnership School|Kura Hourua

62. This section prohibits anyone from operating or purporting to operate a Partnership School|Kura Hourua who has not gone through the prescribed approval and contractual processes.
New section 158F Sponsor’s duties

63. The sponsor must provide a safe physical and emotional environment for students and keep parents informed of their progress. If the school does not use the New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the sponsor must ensure that the curriculum is aligned with the foundation curriculum policy statements upon which both the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa are based.

64. The sponsors must also allocate certain statutory responsibilities to appropriately qualified people. This allows the freedom to adopt a different management structure from that for other schools where the principal is both the professional leader and the chief executive.

New section 158G Sponsor to control management of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua
65. This new section parallels section 75 for state schools, including the new requirement included in this Bill that the primary focus is to be on student achievement.

New section 158H School rules
66. The sponsor has the power to make school rules. This contrasts with private schools where the power to make school rules derives from the contract with parents. Because Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua cannot charge fees, there can be no such contractual relationship between family and school.
New section 158I Sponsor’s power to delegate

67. The section contains standard provisions for delegation.
New section 158J Annual financial statements

68. The details of the provision of annual financial statements from sponsors are set out in this section.
New Section 158K Partnership Schools may participate in risk management scheme

69. The Secretary of Education has a duty to provide a risk management scheme for state schools. This covers insurance for contents and legal liability. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua can be considered for this scheme if they wish and if the provider of the scheme agrees (their risk management profile may be different from state schools)
New section 158L Intervention in Partnership Schools by Secretary.

70. This section provides “step-in” rights for the Secretary if there is an emergency affecting the education or welfare of the students and the sponsor is unable or unwilling to address the emergency. This power is in addition to the powers of intervention contained in the contract and could only be used in extreme circumstances.
New section 158M Enrolment in Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua

71. If there are more applications for enrolment than the maximum roll set in the contract allows for, the procedures set out in this section apply. First priority is to be given to siblings of current students followed by siblings of former students. All other places are to be allocated through a ballot.
Sections 158N and 158O Special education

72. These sections parallel section 8 and parts of section 9. The first gives students with special education needs the same right to enrol and be educated at Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua as all other students. The second addresses circumstances where the parents and the Secretary agree that a student with special education needs should remain at primary school beyond the age that such a student would be required to move to secondary school, or can stay at secondary school until age 21. These are the same rights as special education needs students have at state schools. Students will not need the agreement of the Secretary to enrol at a Partnership School|Kura Hourua that has special education as one of its distinguishing characteristics.
Section 158P Multiple timetable arrangements

73. The sponsor of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua can choose to run multiple timetable arrangements but has a duty to let students and parents know in writing the times that the student is required to attend school.
Section 158Q and Section 158R Exclusions and Re-enrolment

74. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will be required under section 158T to follow the same procedures for stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and
exclusions as state schools. These two sections deal with the Secretary‟s power to direct the enrolment, or in some cases reenrolment of a student who has been excluded or expelled from a Partnership School| Kura Hourua. The powers parallel those for state schools.

Section 158S Courses and visits
75. This section makes it clear that off-site courses and trips or visits outside the school premises can legitimately be part of the school day or curriculum. It is similar to section 71.
Section 158T Application of this Act to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua.

76. This section sets out those sections of the Education Act 1989 that will be applied to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua. They include, for instance, provisions relating to foreign fee-paying students, enrolment at The Correspondence School, stand-down‟s, suspensions, exclusions and expulsions, reasons for release from class, police vetting of staff and surrender and retention.
Section 158U Application of Secretary’s Rules for stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions

77. The Act gives the Secretary the power to make binding rules about the procedures to be followed by state schools in cases of stand downs, suspensions, expulsions and exclusions. These help both boards and students and their parents through a serious and potentially litigious process. They will apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua with necessary modification to account for difference in governance and staffing of a Partnership School|Kura Hourua.

Sections 158V –158X Application of other Acts
78. The Bill of Rights Act will apply to sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in respect of their activities as the sponsor of the school. Provisions of the Privacy Act which allow for access by individuals to personal information free of charge will apply to sponsors of Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in respect of their activities as the sponsor of the school.

79. The Ombudsmen Act and the Official Information Act will not apply.
Clauses 32 and 33 New Zealand Qualifications Authority

80. The functions of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority apply to Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua in the same way as they do to state schools.

81. There is no need to amend the part of the Education Act that is related to the functions of the Education Review Office as the ERO already has the power to review any educational service funded by public money or regulated by statute (other than those solely for students aged 16 or older who are not enrolled at school).

82. Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua will therefore be reviewable by the ERO.

Clause 41 Local Government (Rating) Act
83. There is a consequential amendment to the Local Government (Rating) Act that means that Partnership Schools|Kura Hourua that are not run for profit receive the same relief from rates as not-for-profit private schools and all state schools.


I will leave it there – I’m sure if you got this far, you have lots to ponder as it is.  My final word, though, is this:

Sometimes we just want to run and hide rather than find out the nitty gritty of something we’re sure we won’t like. But in all honesty, we can’t.

“Democracy is not a state in which people act like sheep.” (Gandhi)


References and further reading:

What You Should Know About Charter Schools

After the 2011 election, Charter Schools seemed to come out of nowhere.   What are they all about?   Will they improve education?  How do they work?  Let’s look at some of the facts…


Charter Schools are run by sponsors and can be run for profit.  Most are run this way.  They are, effectively, businesses – private schools paid for in part by public money.

Qualified Staff

Worldwide, such schools are often run by people with no background in education, and often employ untrained and unqualified teachers.

Education Not As We Know It

Allowing charter schools (or partnership schools, as they have been re-branded here)  means a truly huge shift in our education system as a whole.   It makes children and their education into a commodity.

Do They Improve a Kid’s Chances?

Evidence that charter schools improve education standards is, to use John Key’s phrase, ropey.   They have not got a good record of dealing with poorer children or improving their education, their exam scores or their future chances.

Want To Know More?  

Assoc. Professor Peter O’Connor from the University of Auckland analyses why Charter schools are being introduced into New Zealand, in the video below.

Peter O’Connor’s YouTube Video about charter schools

Who will win and who will be the losers?

Watch the rather good presentation and see what you think.

Teacher Shortage Looming, says NZEI

Political footballs run for the hills

NZEI published this press release today, warning of an up-coming teacher shortage and questioning how Government will tackle this.

Given the recent spate of attacks Government has made on teachers, it’s no wonder people think twice before joining the profession, and even less of a mystery that people lose the will to carry on and leave in droves.  How very sad to lose so many wonderful teachers because they feel undervalued, bullied and constantly used as political footballs, always playing catch up with the latest mad-cap untested, unproven and often just plain daft initiative.

Instead of looking to the USA and UK, where education has nothing fabulous to offer us, maybe Government could take a long hard look at Norway.

Wouldn’t it be fabulous to see teaching valued and respected by those in power, well resourced, well paid, and with plenty of quality professional development – that’d be a great start to promoting the job to the next generation of high fliers.

NZEI Press release: Looming teacher shortage – wake up call for Government

The Government needs to work with the education sector to resolve the looming teacher shortage, says NZEI National Secretary Paul Goulter.Mr Goulter says it’s important that the Government makes a commitment to keep the best teachers in front of students rather than going down the path of increased class sizes and allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools.”Increased class sizes may have been put on hold earlier this year due to reaction from parents. But that doesn’t mean the Government has walked away from that policy, and it could still re-emerge as its preferred answer to any teacher shortage.”

“Instead, it is important that the Government commits to tackling the teacher shortage by good planning and maintaining good quality teaching and learning. That means keeping the best teachers in the classrooms.”

Projections show that school rolls will continue to increase steadily for the next seven years and this will be exacerbated by a large cohort of teachers reaching retirement age.

“Allowing unqualified people to act as teachers in charter schools is clearly another attempt to deal with the teacher shortage. But that will simply reduce both the quality of teaching and the number of qualified teachers in front of students.”

He says the early childhood sector is another area where the Government has shown short sightedness.

“Once again, the emphasis should be on ensuring good quality teaching instead of reducing the ratio of qualified teachers in our early childhood centres.”

Mr Goulter says the Government’s policy of attacking teachers and the politicisation of the sector has been a big turnoff for many student teachers.

“Instead of attacking teachers for political purposes, the Government should show leadership and work with the sector to attract good students into teaching.”

Who WILL Charter Schools Benefit?

ho do Charter Schools Benefit?

Media News Round-Up – NZ Charter Schools

If you want to know what the opposition to charter schools is all about, you would do well to spend half an hour watching/listening to the news below.  There are a wide range of people represented – teachers, union leaders, academics, and John Banks…

TV3 News – The proposed charter schools are already causing controversy, with one academic condemning them as being “pigs”.  Watch here.

TV3 news – The Government’s new charter schools scheme means the first sponsored schools are likely to open in 18 months.  Watch here.

TV3 News – The Government announces that charter schools will be allowed to employ unqualified and unregistered teachers.  Watch here.

Radio Live – John Banks Associate Minister of Education.  Banks said that the government has ambitious targets to meet and he feels that charter schools are the wat forward.  2 August 2012.  Listen here.

One News – Charter schools to employ unregistered teachers.  Watch here.

YouTube video – Packaged highlights of the New Zealand Ministerial Working Group on Charter Schools’ public meeting held at the Otahuhu College Hall in South Auckland on 21 May 2012. Don’t miss the next public meeting to discuss charter schools in NZ at 7pm, Wednesday 22 August, at the Shirley Intermediate Hall, Shirley, Christchurch. Watch here.    And there is a good speech by Brigid Raymond here.

Do feel free to add any further links of your own, as comments, no matter what your viewpoint.



Charter Schools Discussed on The Union Report

Charter Schools are discussed on the 20th August 2012 episode of The Union Report, with Bill Rosenberg & Frances Guy – see it from 11 minutes in.  There are some very good points made and covers the concerns well.

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