Term 2

The Brief

Winds of change are transforming education, with principals leading schools and their communities using their professional expertise.

The winds of change continue to blow through the education sector but most principals I speak to are holding firm to what they know, what their communities ask of them and are letting their professional knowledge guide them.

I attended a Principals’ Council meeting last week and there was a call to support the 800+ new principals across the country as they navigate these waters. Please reach out to your new colleagues and support them as the changes come thick and fast.

Thank you to those who completed our Lunches in Schools survey. The information you shared highlighted our sector concerns but also reflected the issues everyone is facing. I raised the issues we face at this week’s Peak Bodies hui with the Secretary of Education. She welcomed the
information we had gathered, and I am now working with a member of her staff on how to address the concerns raised in our survey. I was pleased to hear of a wide-reaching independent implementation group working on this issue. It gave me more confidence that some good outcomes
might come from the changes proposed. But then again…

It was great to hear the voice of some of our colleagues on the issue of attendance. Many of us have been supporting the research on attendance in recent months. The findings confirm what most of us know – local solutions work best to solve or mitigate a very complex problem. There is no one single issue contributing to poor attendance and certainly no silver bullet. Knowing your community, sharing attendance data with whanau sooner rather than later and building strong relationships with everyone involved in the attendance space all contribute to better outcomes.

NZAIMS had the responsibility for the PB4L conference this year. We are one of the PB4L trust partners. You will all be aware of the major public sector restructuring that is currently underway and know that the Ministry of Education is severely affected. Unfortunately, due to the wider impact of this change process, the decision has been made to
postpone the PB4L Conference to 2025. The conference needs Ministry support to be most effective and be delivered in its renown format. Organising this conference is an extra commitment for our organisation as we must also focus on our own conference priorities. I do wonder if NZAIMS should remain in this space moving forward?

Several members of our executive attended the leadership conference in Banff over the April holidays. A link to the notes and reflections from this experience have been shared with you.  Who knew Ted Lasso leadership was a big thing!  

Three of us also visited schools in Montreal and talked about integrating the language and culture of indigenous students into mainstream public schooling. It was a sobering experience for us all.

I look forward to seeing many of you in Queenstown.

Angela Lowe

School Lunches

Significant anxiety among IMS leaders was apparent after the Ka Ora, Ka Ako revision announcements.

Lunches Questionnaire Summary
Significant anxiety among IMS leaders was apparent after the Ka Ora, Ka Ako revision announcements, which included several media appearances and an online seminar with school leaders by associate minister David Seymour. Concerns expressed by member schools to NZAIMS Ngā Kura Takawaenga o Aotearoa resulted in a questionnaire to IMS leaders. The responses are summarised in this document.
Provision of School Lunches
School lunches are provided to approximately 220,000 (app 25%) of children daily in 947 schools (app 40%) of schools.
Approximately 25% of students in Yr 7-10 receive this entitlement
Through the aggregation of primary school communities, IMS schools, although not exclusively, cluster among the mid-to-lower EQI group of schools, not the upper EQI group of schools that receive school lunches.
Questionnaire Response
A remarkably high and rapid response was received. More than 50% of school leaders responded to an unsolicited survey sent on Friday afternoon. This is, an incredibly strong indication of major concern to IMS school leaders whether affected or not. Many principals openly state, “ I do not complete surveys as I consider them a waste of time and energy.” The rapid and wide response to this questionnaire indicates this issue is of grave concern to many.
Questionnaire Messages
“Its not the kids fault, it’s an equity issue for children in need.”Equity opinions

96.3% saw this as an equity issue for year 7 and 8 students in Aotearoa New Zealand.
3.7% disagreed, but supported lunch provision on an individual student EQI basis,not the school-wide EQI basis. The rationale is, that individual provision will support students in need with greater precision across many more education settings.
For example, a large school where 450 students enter each year from contributing schools where lunches are provided but move on to an intermediate school where there is no provision for lunches. This creates a significant burden for these students and social disparities for families.
Most respondents indicated that the planning, implementation, and preparation costs had been shifted from the MoE School Lunches budget to the school operations budget as no provision had been made to fund the on-site school costs. These costs are currently paid within contracts to provide lunches to schools. This cost is significant in the published $107 million savings.
While the minister says, “Food will be yummy and nutritious,” the proposed funding level and budget has raised serious concerns regarding the nutritional quality and substance of food to be provided. The minister has made numerous references to KIDS CAN $2 per child food provisions. People believe the proposed centralised system will deliver long shelf life and snack food rather than nutritionally substantive prepared lunches, as is currently the case.
When asked to identify the positives of the proposal
The most common themes were
Theme One – “None,” many school leaders stated there were no positives in the proposal.
Theme Two – “While not fit for purpose it is better than nothing”
When asked to identify the negatives of the proposal
The theme 1 – year 7 – 10 students are undergoing dramatic changes in the human growth cycle and this policy proposes to provide nutritionally inadequate resources to these students at a crucial time in their physical growth.
Theme 2 – Many pointed out that the volume of nutritious calories required for sustenance is high during this time of high activity and development age and stage of learning.
The theme 3 – School leaders believe that for many, these 5 meals are the most nutritious and, in some cases, the only nutritious and substantive meals students receive in a week.
Theme 4 —The planning, implementation, and preparation costs have been shifted from the MoE School Lunches budget to the School Operations budget as there is no provision to fund the school’s on-site personnel or plant costs. This may be a relabeling in order to transfer the actual costs in this necessary provision of 5 out of 21 meals learners need each week.
Theme 5: The evidence clearly shows that students learn better when fed substantive, nutritious food. Research on behaviour, student achievement, school culture, and classroom environments explicitly identify food security as an essential condition for learning.
Theme 6: Many sighted the ERO Behaviour research that identified IMS school programmes success in creating and maintaining effective learning environments.

School Attendance – beyond the soundbites

We share the RNZ in-depth article published on May 21st. It looks beyond the “sound bites” to reveal the realities of school attendance in Aotearoa New Zealand schools.

Due to ownership issues, we can not publish this article; however, we can share the link to this outstanding Kate Newton article, which has already been published.

Kate Newton – RNZ article on Attendance

The scariest driver of school non-attendance: more parents who just don’t care | RNZ News

ITE – Focus on Solutions

Teaching Council signals, it’s time for major change in the way primary teachers are prepared to enter the teaching profession

Radical system changes and investment required to prepare teachers for classrooms 23 May 2024.

The Teaching Council has signalled that it’s time to ‘grasp the nettle’ of major change to the way primary teachers are prepared when they enter the teaching profession – and that’s going to cost.

  • A post-graduate qualification becoming the benchmark for entry to the teaching profession.
  • Ensuring that the programme design, quality, rigour, and expectations meets the expectations of an advanced qualification.
  • Attracting higher calibre candidates into teaching through higher entry requirements;
  • Ensuring all graduate teachers have subject knowledge relevant to the curriculum, in particular English, maths, and science.
  • Providing greater opportunities to undertake practice-related research and lift data literacy.
  • Rationalising the range of programmes and ensure greater consistency across provision.

“We welcome the interest that the Government and others are bringing to the area of teacher preparation,” said Teaching Council Chief Executive Lesley Hoskin. “Now let’s knuckle down and make the changes that we know are needed.”

Initial Teacher Education (ITE) providers have been working hard to ensure their graduate teachers are well prepared, and the mentor teachers in schools are heroes of our system. The Council believes teachers, both new and experienced, are passionate, dedicated and capable. But for too long they have been let down by a system that doesn’t give them the structure or the resources they need.

Hoskin continues, “the teaching profession, including the Teaching Council, has been advising Governments for many years about the changes that are needed. In 2017 we set out the following roadmap towards Positioning Teaching as a Postgraduate Profession”:

To make it work requires investment – in programme design, delivery, paying teachers what they need during placement and after they graduate, and resourcing schools to deliver a high-quality coherent programme on induction and mentoring.

“Our country has got to stop cutting corners on teacher preparation (pre- and post- qualification) to fit the amount of money that’s been made available,” says Hoskin. “I’m signalling today that the Teaching Council is going to ‘grasp the nettle’ and set out the system we want and need. Then, of course, we’ll work with Government about how to pay for it. But the cash needs to fit what’s needed, not the other way around.”

The Teaching Council wants to start with a focus on primary teaching. A number of particular challenges have been identified with the preparation of teachers entering primary schools. The Teaching Council also believes we have an historic opportunity, because we’re in a rare demographic ‘sweet spot’ where teacher supply isn’t a binding constraint at primary level now.

The Teaching Council will work with the teaching profession and everyone else involved in teacher preparation to re-test our roadmap from 2017 and update it to take account of changes in technology, impacts and learnings from COVID-19, and the latest research. We’ll ensure that programmes incorporate a strong and well-supported experience component and maintain a focus on diversity of new teachers, by creating more pathways into teaching. We will work with the Māori-medium sector to ensure the approach is appropriate and suited for their needs.

Hoskin says, “we’ll present this to Government as a bold way to achieve the step forward we need. This is the change that people have been calling for, and no one more so than the profession itself. How fast we can move towards it will depend on the ability and willingness of the Government to make the necessary financial commitment.”