It is true that a number of our students do well in school and will continue to do so, but in spite of our school strategic plan continually outlining a goal to improve Maori/Pasifika and boys’ achievement we constantly struggle to meet this target. We also feel that we are seeing a larger number of students with physical and emotional needs which can’t be met based on current resourcing.
I would welcome the imperative that Boards of Trustees and principals focus on the core business of teaching and learning and our local community of whānau and students. Too often their time is spent on finance, property and policy. This would be much better to be outsourced to those with specific knowledge in these areas.
I also agree with the motion that Boards would not be responsible for decisions on suspensions etc. In a small community there are often conflicts of interest and/or a reluctance to exclude, despite the most extenuating of circumstances because there just simply are no other options for our students.
"Education Hubs would provide ongoing high quality curriculum, learning assessment and pedagogy advisory services and support for teachers…” This is I believe especially important to smaller schools where in many cases there is only one teacher in a department, someone who is often so busy coming to grips with the demands of the job, that there is no time to build on the existing knowledge that they have. Our teaching staff cry out for professional development and/or collaboration as well as reassurance that what they are doing is best practice.
Any support for principals would be of benefit to schools. As is stated in the document, a principalship is a very demanding and often lonely job. Most first time principals will never have experienced anything of the like. It is also my understanding that in New Zealand it is even more difficult to recruit deputy principals, so perhaps the recommendations for leadership could be extended to all senior leadership positions.
In terms of funding, we struggle to support our students with complex needs and often have to prioritise when we know that with the right programme or teacher aide, the disadvantaged students could definitely move further ahead. As a community school our facilities are already well utilised outside of school hours, but we recognise that this could be extended even more. Appropriate maintenance and care would need to increase accordingly.
Providing support for teachers to improve their own learning is a vital part of our current appraisal system. A coordinated approach and system across schools would be very useful for those teachers moving schools. It would also clarify the expectations for those whose delegation it is to manage professional development and appraisal.
* For the alternate argument against Tomorrow's Schools please click here.