New Zealand still has a way to go in providing every student with the quality of education they need and deserve, the Minister of Education Hekia Parata told school trustees at their conference held at the weekend, “but we are closing in on it”.
Addressing almost 900 people at the NZSTA 25th anniversary conference in Auckland, the Minister said the biggest challenge for school boards and principals in trying to meet the Government’s target of five out of five students achieving was to take the step from talking about collaboration to actually practising it.
“Practising collaboration means not just collaborating with the people you already get on with, but with those you don’t,” the Minister said.
Statistics show that students are already starting education earlier, staying longer, and leaving better qualified than they used to, and boards of trustees are critical in making that happen. At the same time, more work is needed.
“Schools are funded for an average of one teacher for every 21 students and teacher numbers have increased significantly faster than student numbers over recent years. The most valuable thing we can do now is to invest more in the teachers we already have,” the Minister said.
“At the same time, the Government has recognised the need to also provide more resources to support boards of trustees and trustees are already seeing better access to professional development and employment advice as a result.
“Tools like National Standards and six-monthly plain language reporting to parents still need more work, but we are now producing real-time information for parents and boards of trustees so they know what is happening in their local community and for their children.”