Developments for both IES and Better Plan

2015

 

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Last weekend saw developments in both the Government’s Investing in Educational Success (IES) policy and primary teachers’ union NZEI Te Riu Roa’s Better Plan Joint Initiative with the Ministry of Education.

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Education Minister Hekia Parata yesterday announced the first five schools under the IES policy to receive the Principal Recruitment Allowance.

The allowance is for $50,000 per year for an initial three-year period to help each school recruit a high performing principal to help them address their challenges.  It is part of the Government’s $359m IES policy, which focuses on creating communities of schools to allow teachers to share expertise and support each other.

The schools announced yesterday are Opononi School and Mangamuka School in Northland, Ngaruawahia High School in Waikato, Kimi Ora Community School in Hawke's Bay and Aranui Community Campus in Canterbury.

To qualify for the allowance, a school’s board of trustees must show that the school meets a number of criteria including significant student underachievement, serious safety or wellbeing issues for staff or students, high principal turnover or a number of statutory interventions.

Applicants for the principal positions must demonstrate experience in “turning around a challenging school” and maintaining strong engagement with the community, as well as an ability to use resources effectively to meet goals. Appointed principals will be evaluated on areas such as progress made against targets, and staff turnover and morale.

The appointment is for an initial three-year term, although the board can seek to renew this for up to an additional two years. It cannot be renewed more than twice.

Parata says schools that receive the allowance must provide evidence of successful performance.

"We're supporting schools with significant challenges to do one of the two most important things they can to lift educational achievement, which is get the right leadership in place," she says.

The Ministry told Education Review they have received further expressions of interest in the allowance from other schools, and expect to receive more.

Meanwhile, the NZEI also took a step forward with its alternative policy in the weekend. The union has contested the IES policy from the outset and has agreed an alternative initiative with the Education Ministry. The ‘Better Plan Joint Initiative’ involves working parties looking at evidence of best practice among schools.

The NZEI released on Saturday an academic review of the evidence used to support IES. The review, carried out by Massey University, highlights a number of inconsistencies between the research and the IES policy, supporting the NZEI’s view that the policy is flawed.

The authors of the review, presented their findings to a group of education professionals in Wellington, followed by group discussion and a Q&A panel.


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