It seems a long time for educators since 2016 started and there appears there will be no let-up for 2017. The restructure rush led by the Government has meant that educators have faced a barrage of changes – often a curious mix of ideology and zeal.
The sector remains unconvinced of both the substance of the restructure and the processes used to implement them. For example, if there is a genuine desire to move away from the Tomorrow’s Schools model of independent, self-governing schools to a model based on schools collaborating and eventually that shaping a new model for schooling, then why is the sector not engaged in that conversation?
Rather the sector faces a raft of changes – legislative, administrative, carrot (funding) and stick that all head in that direction but without the open and transparent conversation about why and what could replace it.
Ultimately there is a widespread lack of trust about all this change. And without that trust there will not be substantive change.
A good example is the existing Communities of Learning model. While the Government desperately tries to get the numbers up, they ignore the widely pointed-out flaws in their one-size-fits-all model.
NZEI is quite clear – CoLs must be truly voluntary without any risks or sanctions for schools which choose not to participate. They must be “demand-led” – that is the participating schools and ECE services must have enhanced flexibility to choose (demand) their resourcing, their structures and their challenges based on the simple proposition they know best. And they must have time – time to truly learn how to effectively collaborate.
Our Joint Initiative CoL review is a good opportunity for the sector to begin to build some of that trust.