Keep Our Schools Local

Local communities have controlled schools through parent-elected Boards of Trustees for thirty years. That local control is under threat from the biggest education reforms in a generation.

The Government’s Tomorrow’s Schools Review proposes that all powers held by Boards would be transferred to new ‘Education Hubs.’

These Hubs could move schools in and out of zones, move principals to other schools, and impose new rules on a school regardless of their community’s wishes.

The Government may genuinely want to help underperforming schools, but you don’t achieve that by tearing down those that are working.

ACT believes parents and communities should be free to shape the future of their schools. If you agree, the Government needs to hear from you.

Add your name to stand with ACT and Keep Our Schools Local.

Sign the Petition to Keep Schools Local

The Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce has grouped its recommendations into eight categories. Here are the changes that could affect you the most.

The Taskforce says: The Board of Trustees model has failed.

The reality: By the Taskforce’s own admission, only 13 per cent of schools are placed on one or two year review. The other 87 per cent are judged to be successful and reviewed every three to five years.

The Taskforce says: New Zealand’s education system is falling behind because of the Tomorrow’s Schools model.

The reality: There is little evidence for this claim. The education system is also affected by funding levels and policies made by the Government and Ministry of Education. The introduction and removal of bulk funding and zoning, NCEA, National Standards, union contracts, to name a few, are all things boards have had to work with.

The Taskforce says: Boards of Trustees would be relieved of mundane tasks and freed up to focus on things that really matter.

The reality: Education ‘Hubs’, responsible for approximately 125 schools each, would assume all of the powers currently held by parent-elected school boards, including schools’ rules, curriculums, qualifications, zones, property, and the appointment of principals, even for schools that are clearly succeeding. Boards of Trustees would effectively become advisory boards with no legal rights or responsibilities and the real power would be vested in the local Hub. Capable people would be less attracted to such a position.

The Taskforce says: Local people could still have control over their schools.

The reality: Unlike Boards of Trustees, the Hubs would not be elected by any community, but appointed by the government of the day.

The Taskforce says: Many boards don’t have the capacity and capabilities to do what is required of them. The Hubs could help.

The reality: The Ministry of Education employs 2,600 people, more than the number of schools. The average salary is $82,000, more than a senior teacher. Calling the Ministry’s regional offices ‘Hubs’ and giving them more power at the expense of community control is unlikely to help.

The Taskforce says: Students choosing to leave a school is ‘destructive competition’.

The reality: Education Hubs would reduce competition by taking away student choice. They would have the ability to move schools in and out of zones, or change the rules of enrolment schemes completely.

The Taskforce says: The proposed reforms would make education more equal.

The reality: With no obvious way of supporting poor performing schools, and with autonomy being taken from successful ones, equality will be achieved by dragging down successful schools rather than empowering underperformers.

The Taskforce says: Principals’ appointment and performance management is not robust because boards don’t have the capability to carry out such tasks. There are few opportunities for principals to move into leadership positions in other schools. School leaders would have better pathways within a Hub.

The reality: Education Hubs would appoint principals and would be able to move principals to other schools where the Hub thought they were needed more. School leaders would no longer work for their local community, but for the wider regional Hub which controlled their long-term prospects.

The Taskforce says: The Ministry of Education doesn’t have the capacity and capability to influence schools’ teaching and learning due to schools distrusting them.

The reality: Schools may not trust the Hubs any more than the Ministry of Education, but they will have little choice in interacting with them. The Ministry of Education will have a greater say over what happens in schools, and parents and communities will be sidelined.

About the Review

The Government is proposing the most radical changes to education since 1989.

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Parents & Communities

Control of schools would be transferred from parents and communities to new Education Hubs.

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Schools would be made more equal by dragging down top performers.

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