The Education (Update) Amendment Bill, introduced in Parliament yesterday, signals the biggest update to education in New Zealand in nearly 30 years.
The Bill provides for a government statement, the National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP), setting out its objectives for early childhood education providers, schools and kura.
Education Minister Hekia Parata says the purpose of the NELP is to move to a system that is not just about delivering education, but about student achievement, with clear accountabilities for ECEs and schools.
“With this legislative change we’re making it clearer to our educators what success for students looks like. We’re also enabling them to be innovative and creative with how they deliver education in this digital age,” she says.
One of the proposals in the Bill is to modernise online learning through the establishment of Communities of Online Learning (COOLs) which will have “rigorous accreditation process alongside ongoing monitoring to ensure quality education is being provided”.
The Bill also opens the door for parents and schools to enrol new entrants on the first day of a term closest to the child’s fifth birthday. At the earliest children could start up to eight weeks before they turn five, although parents will still have the option to delay their child starting at school until their sixth birthday.
Another key proposal is to expand the current power for school Boards to include working for other education services in a Community of Learning. Another proposal gives the Minister the power to combine school boards if that would provide an effective route to resolving ongoing issues. The Bill also allows the Ministry to intervene where schools are struggling.
The Education Minister encourages people to have their say during the Select Committee process and make a submission.
“This is a once in a generation opportunity to create an education system fit for the future, focussed on lifting the achievement of all young New Zealanders.”