Saturday, July 13, 2024

First reading for education Bill

The Government’s proposed Education and Training Amendment Bill, which will set up charter schools, encourage more early learning centres, and provide increased transparency on school attendance, has had its first reading in Parliament.

Associate Education Minister, David Seymour says the new Bill will serve to make New Zealand’s education system more flexible and responsive to family and student needs.

“Every child deserves an education that enables them to flourish,” said the Minister.

The Bill will: 

  • Set out a framework on how charter schools will be set up and operate, including the application and approval process, monitoring, property, staff, and the establishment of the Charter School Authorisation Board;
  • Repeal early childhood education (ECE) network provisions, which were introduced last year making it hard to open new centres;
  • Establish enabling provisions for the creation of rules about how and what type of student attendance data is provided by schools.

“Many students are not responding well to the existing ‘one size fits all’ school system and New Zealand is facing a crisis with school attendance and achievement at record low levels,” says Mr Seymour.  

“Charter schools are publicly funded and provide students and families with more schooling choice.”

Under the Bill, educators at charter schools will be given autonomy to respond to student needs in innovative ways while being held to account for outcomes much more stringently than state schools.

“This will raise educational achievement, especially for students disengaged from school.”

“Now that the Bill is introduced, applications for new and converting schools will open in July. There has been overwhelming interest from educators exploring the charter model and I expect schools will open from term 1 2025. 

“Removing the early childhood network approval provisions will simplify the process for providers wanting to establish new services. Removing this barrier will ultimately reduce costs and waiting lists for early childhood services. This supports parents being able to leave their children at an ECE where they are happy, safe, and well cared for while they go out to work or other activities.  

After regulatory changes are made, daily attendance data will be required from schools from term one next year, and from selected kaupapa Māori education providers by mid-2025.

“High-quality and timely data will help parents, schools and parties assisting with attendance to identify absence in a timely manner and decide appropriate interventions to support students back into school,” said Mr Seymour.

“The future of New Zealand will be bleak if we are unable to transfer knowledge from one generation to the next. The research is clear that education is intrinsically linked to economic growth – both personal and gross domestic product. These changes are to give every New Zealand child every opportunity to succeed.”

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