The Education (Update) Amendment Bill has passed its first reading by 63 votes to 58 and is now referred to the Education and Science Committee for consideration.
Education Minister Hekia Parata describes it as the biggest update to education in New Zealand for nearly 30 years.
“This Bill is about putting the achievement of our children and young people at the heart of the education system," she says. "It’s about making clear the expectation on every publicly funded education provider that they will raise the achievement of every New Zealand child.”
The Bill provides for a new statement, called the National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP), to be made periodically, setting out the Government’s objectives for educators, focusing on student achievement.
There is also an option for parents and schools to enrol new entrants on the first day of the term closest to the child’s fifth birthday. Other key proposals enable schools and kura to work together, including an option of shared governance for a Community of Learning, as well as expanding the current power for school boards to work for others.
The Bill also includes the development of the controversial Communities of Online Learning, a proposal that allows online learning centres to be set up, which parents can choose to use instead of schools. The proposal has sparked concern and debate across the education sector.