The Ministry of Education is seeking public feedback on proposals to amend the current Education and Training Act 2020.
Public consultation has begun on eight proposed changes to the Act which include how school board elections are run, ensuring all education employees are Police vetted before they begin work, strengthening and clarifying Teaching Council of Aotearoa processes dealing with teacher conduct, and enabling the Education Review Office to review professional learning and development services.
The Ministry is also consulting on possible changes to the priority categories for out of zone enrolments in state schools. If there are any changes to priority categories resulting from this consultation, these would not be introduced until 2022 at the earliest. This means that the current priority categories will continue to apply for students and schools for the time being.
Andrea Schöllmann, Deputy Secretary Education System Policy, said the diverse changes are intended to make a range of improvements to strengthen opportunities and protections for students and ākonga in early childhood services, schools and tertiary education. The changes will also impact whānau, education staff, education organisations and government agencies
“The proposed changes are designed to encourage greater and more diverse participation in the governing of our schools, will strengthen student voice in our schools, and improve the safety and wellbeing of all learners. They also support continuous improvement in education services and suggest some possible alterations to the current priority categories for out of zone enrolments.”
Andrea Schöllmann said other proposed changes would enable vocational education to respond better to the needs of industry and learners.
These include giving Government greater flexibility to make changes to the requirements on tertiary providers charging a Compulsory Student Service Fee (CSSF); using the National Student Number to support workplace-based learning, and giving the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) greater discretion around cancelling a Private Training Establishments (PTE) registration.
Consultation on the proposed changes closes on Wednesday 16 June 2021. If agreed the changes will form part of the upcoming Education and Training Amendment Bill (No 2).
Members of the public can read about the proposed changes in more detail and have their say at https://conversation.education.govt.nz/conversations/education-and-training-amendment-bill/.
In addition, the Education and Training Amendment Bill has received Cabinet approval and will be introduced shortly.
The Bill’s content includes expanding the timeframe that prohibits tertiary providers from charging trainees a compulsory student services fee, and ensuring that former teachers can only use physical restraint if they are approved by the school that employs them, along with other technical changes to the Education and Training Act 2020.