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The story so far

In 2014, 93% of NZEI members voted no confidence in the Ministry's Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative, and we asked for genuine discussion with educators. We asked for flexible, locally-driven ways to support collaboration. We asked for resourcing to support kids and their learning, not just for new roles. We rejected top-down, one-size fits all models and said we should build off existing successful practice. We voted against National Standards being the determinant of resourcing or roles. We asked for evidence-based approaches.

And we came up with a better plan—one that was detailed and costed out—for the Government's planned $359 million of funding.

Both the union and the Ministry agreed that it's in the best interests of students and the education system to recognise our differences, but to make progress where there is agreement—in particular, keeping students at the centre of teaching and learning, supporting successful collaboration and transitions and developing improved career pathways.

Our Better Plan

In 2014, the Government planned to spend $359 million on a highly-paid cadre of managers to oversee groups of schools. But parents and educators had a better plan to make a real difference to our children.

1: Smaller class sizes to ensure individualised learning

A phased in programme of improved teacher:student ratios, starting with years 4-8, was estimated to cost from $50 million a year.

2: Ensure all children are attending ECE services with 100% qualified and registered teachers

The Government dropped the target of 100 percent qualified and registered ECE teachers and associated funding in 2010. ECE services are currently only required to have 50% of teachers qualified and registered. Restoring funding for 100% qualified and registered ECE teachers was estimated to cost $32 million a year.

Better funding for children with special needs to support 20,000 more kids

In 2014, around 3% of school learners (30,000 children) had high special education needs, but ORS funding is rationed to 1%. Increasing the ORS fund to 3% was estimated to cost $180 million a year to support 20,000 more kids.

4: Sustainable funding for support staff so teachers can focus on teaching and learning

Teacher aides and other school support staff are funded through schools' operations grants, which means they have insecure work and low wages. Sustainable funding is needed to ensure there are enough teachers aides to support children with learning needs and enough administrative support so teachers can focus on teaching and learning.

5: Support initiatives that make a real difference for Māori and Pasifika students

Children who can access their own culture and language do better at school. But bilingual and rumaki units in schools are under pressure because of the limited numbers of teachers with language fluency. We need more resources for recruitment, training and retention of teachers of te reo Māori and for bilingual education for Pasifika students. 

The Joint Initiative

The Joint Initiative is a process for the Ministry and NZEI to work together to identify:

  • flexible models of collaboration
  • improved transitions for children and students from early childhood education through their schooling, and
  • the possible resourcing and career pathways required to support this.

The initiative is comprehensive, looking at what resourcing and roles are needed throughout early childhood education, primary, support staff and special education.

The Joint Initiative Governance group continues to meet regularly. We aim to use this process to:

  • monitor and evaluate the implementation of the joint Initiative recommendations including pushing for ECE and support staff to be included and resourced as equal partners
  • keep pushing for more “stretch” in the Community of Learning model so that CoLs can be genuinely responsive to their students’ needs and ECE and support staff
  • provide feedback from the ground into re-design of the education system so that authentic collaboration and what children need for successful transitions drive change rather than a one size fits all hierarchical model

Today, with a new government, the work we did together is even more relevant. NZEI leaders in the Joint Initiative group continue to advocate for children and their learning.

Read the full Terms of Reference

Work we've done

Working parties were established to look at collaboration, transition and success for Maori and Pasifika learners.  These working parties looked for examples of successful practice throughout New Zealand. The Joint Initiative working party made visits around the country, meeting with researchers and processing 1300 survey responses from NZEI members.

See more about what we learned.

How the Joint Initiative working group interacted with the governance group and local presences. (Click to expand)