A response from the Minister of Education to the recent contribution by Steve Maharey (Can we finally agree on how to run schools).

I largely agree with Steve’s comments, in particular his desire to see a personalisation of learning, and a coming together by our educators.

The piece contained good suggestions, so I want to provide some assurances. For starters, this government has no interest in “building policies around 20th century questions”, but is absolutely committed to bringing all education stakeholders on board with our 21st century expectations of the education sector.

Firstly, all of our planned reforms and system-wide changes such as the funding review, and introduction of Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako have been consulted from the beginning with the core stakeholders, there is no lack of willingness to communicate on the government’s part.

This government places children, parents and whanau at the centre of education policy. Our education system is focused on ensuring that every child and young person is a competent connected learner, confident to achieve all that they’re capable of.

It’s designed to support students to build the knowledge, skills and capabilities they need to be successful in a globally facing digitally fluent world. Our curriculum offers a diverse and wide range of choices when it comes to subjects that students can study from the traditional to the more unusual.

We have made the biggest progress in a generation towards both the personalisation of a child’s education experience, and the coming together of schools, parents, and the wider community with an interest in the success of our children from early childhood through to the workforce. This progress is embodied in the establishment of Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako.

Through Kāhui Ako, educators will be able to use Te Whāriki once updated, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa to build shared understandings about valued learning, what progress looks like, and to design their own local curriculum with their parents and whānau to meet the needs of their children, providing richer learning opportunities for students.

Parents will be empowered with more data and engagement than ever, and they will no longer have to consider whether their local school is a decile two or decile six, because all schools in that local Community of Learning will have access to the same shared resources, skills, expertise and level of care.

As an example, Te Kāhui Ako o Waitakere, Waitakere Community of Learners in Auckland contains a diverse make up of schools from deciles 2–7  and a really diverse ethnicity makeup of 20% Maori, 28% Pasifika, 22% Asian and 24% Pakeha.

With improved data, the Ministry will be able to better target its resources and helps teachers and leaders plan coherent learning pathways and rich community-based learning experiences for their students as they progress from ECE to senior secondary and beyond.

Alongside all of this, parents have probably seen first-hand how schools are now being equipped with innovative learning spaces as a rule, not the exception, and receiving resources dramatically different to that of just a few years ago. The recently opened Haeata Community Campus in Christchurch East is an absolutely awe-inspiring example of the way the conventional classroom has been completely overhauled to allow for flexible learning.

I welcome more contributions such as Steve’s and encourage everyone who shares our expectations of educators to look at what we are doing with Communities of Learning, it really is exciting stuff.

Ngā mihi nui kia koutou katoa

Hekia Parata is the Minister of Education

Comments (3)

by Antoine on March 15, 2017

> the conventional classroom has been completely overhauled to allow for flexible learning

Which from what I've heard is pretty awful


by Jude on March 18, 2017

How are the charter schools going...?

by Megan Pledger on March 19, 2017
Megan Pledger

I see no point in the communities of learning.  All is does is add another layer of expensive bureaucracy that puts a barrier between schools and the Ministry of Education.  It means that the Govt can reduce funding and the leader of the "community" gets left trying to sort out where the money is going to be taken away from and cops the flack from the "community" when they don't get what they need - someone else is left taking the bullet for the govt.

And I don't like the sound of  "Parents will be empowered with more data" because someone has to decide what to collect, then collect it, store it, secure it and report it.  And from what we've seen in the USA is that private companies want to collect this data,  they want to collect everything and they want to use it for their own profit making and to onsell it.   These private companies have lobbied the USA govt, with success, to reduce the privacy restrictions on children's data. 


Luckily, US parents got spooked and that version of data collection fell over but you bet those "phillanthropists" and entrepreneurs are working to try again.


I am a parent and I have never been consulted about the communities of learning but then I guess I am not a "core stakeholder".  The penninsular I live on has 8 eight primary schools, with deciles from 2 to 10,  3 Christian schools, 1 Maori immersion school and 4 state schools.  They range from highly segregated to highly diverse.    One of these schools can raise $80k with a school gala and I would guess four of the schools wouldn't see any point in trying.  Not one of the principals from these schools would be able to head up a community of learning across these eight schools because they wouldn't have the skills to cope with the diverse range of schools and their diverse communities.   And while a community of learning may be able to achieve equality of funding and resourses across schools (which I doubt with one school being so well resourced by it's parent community),  I doubt that their will ever be equity of funding and resources.

A community of learning across these eight schools would add no value and just add an extra burden on schools "to fit in" rather then letting them do their own thing that suits their students best.



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