Joint Initiative: What we've learned so far

The Big Ideas

These are some of the big ideas that came through consultation with educators around the Joint Initiative.

1: Set guiding principles

The first big idea that NZEI Te Riu Roa members on the working party identified is that our ongoing development work in the Joint Initiative should be guided by a set of principles.

  • Be child centred and focus on what will effectively enhance and support children's learning
  • Be flexible enough to cover different contexts and not one size fits all
  • Produce a model that provides ongoing, non-contestable funding
  • Be applicable across the education sector-including teachers and leaders as well as support staff
  • Build capacity (provide access to relevant PD)
  • Allow for change rather than producing a single static model
  • Build on evidence of what really works
  • Be responsive and adaptable for Maori and Pasifika students and contexts
  • Identify a variety of ways of evaluating/reflecting, assessing success
  • Be voluntary for schools and centres to opt into

2: Supporting transition between early childhood education and school

The working party visited several groups with transition programmes for children leaving early childhood education and starting school.

Although each model was different, there were some common features, such as a focus on the child as an individual, shared responsibility between the school and early childhood education service, mutual professional learning for teachers, and the use of both Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum.

Ideas that were discussed include:

  • Release time for teachers from primary and early childhood to get together during contact time to get to know children, do observations and undertake professional development.
  • Professional learning and development programmes based around Te Whāriki and the New Zealand Curriculum to identify how they can influence practice in both early childhood and primary education.
  • Review resourcing so students with special learning needs can access resources and support staff that move with the child from early childhood education into primary.
  • Develop 'navigator' type roles to support children, families and teachers in the transition process. This could include a community liaison focus.
  • Resource teachers to undertake research and development into effective transition programmes.
  • Publish resources, including examples of effective programmes developed to support children, families and teachers with transition processes.

3: Making more funded release time available for teachers to collaborate

Effective collaboration develops over time, through people building trusting, purposeful relationships. It also takes time - people involved in collaboration need to meet together. This can't always happen in non-contact time. Many schools and centres told us that more time was the main thing they needed to deepen collaborative practice.

Practically this means money for schools and centres to employ relievers or release teachers.

Although this is a relatively simple idea, it throws up potential issues that must be thought through.

What do you think about:

  • Who does the release - are there additional teachers available everywhere to do this?
  • How would more release time affect programmes in schools and centres?
  • How could release time be arranged so the impact on the learner was positive rather than negative?

4: Collaboration is a process, not a static model

We have identified three key elements that we believe should form the cornerstones of any models that we develop. They reflect that collaboration is a process, not a static model.

The three elements are:

  • A 'One Stop Shop' of information, resources, support for infrastructure, criteria, principles, guidance and options for developing processes to enhance collaboration, planning resources, frameworks
  • A "Menu" of roles and resources that schools and centres could use to identify what they need for their collaboration. The creation of many different, optional roles and ways to use resourcing (including release time) could provide considerable flexibility to schools and centres in the way they develop, structure and support a model of collaboration.
  • Processes and Systems that support sharing about learning, development and outcomes of collaborative practice between many different schools and centres. This could be developed in many different ways that include on-line as well as face to face processes and the production of hard copy resources. This would allow for people to learn from one another and would help inform the 'one stop shop'

Phase 2 workstream reports

During Phase 2 of the Joint Initiative, NZEI Te Riu Roa members and Ministry of Education staff focused on six core areas to help shape Communities of Learning to ensure they genuinely meet the needs of children.

NZEI's goals were to:

  • grow opportunities for our support staff and early childhood teacher members to be recognised and involved in Communities of Learning,
  • develop understanding about how Maori and Pasifika children's success can be enhanced through Communities of Learning,
  • ensure the alignment of proposed professional learning and development with other changes in the sector, and
  • recognise the importance of inclusive education practices.

See reports from each of the workstreams below.