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When head of mathematics Misbah Sadat arrived at the school in 2017, the NCEA Level 1 programme was spread over three types of classes: MATH1 (which includes algebra and graphing) and the lower level MAAP1 (applied mathematics) and MATC1 (third tier) classes.

"In 2017, Year 11 mathematics had 47 European students, 32 Māori students and eight Pacific students," says Misbah.

Due to streaming, she says, the school had no Pacific students in the MATH1 class, and only 11 Māori students, compared with 33 European MATH1 students. In contrast, there were only three Europeans in the MATC1 class and 11 in the MAAP1 class.

MATH1 is the class that leads to algebra and graphing, and Misbah says that essentially all Pacific and 21 Māori students were unable to go on to enroll in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses. 

"Denying these students access to STEM courses means you have divided society into 'haves' and 'have nots'," she says.

“Everybody needs to be given opportunities to succeed. I am not saying that everyone has to go towards STEM courses to succeed, but everyone should be given the opportunity to make that choice for themselves. My problem with streaming is that, unfortunately, many Māori and Pacific students end up in the bottom classes.

“If you decide that at 14 or 15, someone is incapable of doing algebra, you are saying they can’t have careers in engineering, medicine, computer science and other STEM professions, and I think that’s too early. 

Misbah says that New Zealand has a crisis in that there aren’t enough people in STEM courses and yet we are still streaming in mathematics and science. She says there isn’t a ‘shred of evidence’ that says streaming works for students at the bottom or the top. 

Removing barriers to achievement

At the end of 2017, the college decided not to stream Year 11 mathematics and English. 

“Instead we used differentiation in our classrooms and proved that it is possible to teach different standards in the same class,” says Misbah. “Yes, it was hard work, but totally possible.

“I was very lucky I had a senior leadership team who took the risk to do this and I had a team of incredible teachers who were behind this 100 per cent. We had multiple standards happening in the class at the same time. We taught everyone but we offered an additional standard for those who didn’t want to sit externals,” she explains. 

At the end of 2017, instead of streaming, all students were put in mixed classes for 2018.

“We were quite prepared that we may not get stellar results but, in actuality, students surprised us,” says Misbah. “Previously, because they had been placed in those lower classes, we had put a glass ceiling on their achievement.”

It has been hard work getting students to feel confident, Misbah says.

“It didn’t matter what we said to our students in MATC or MAAP classes. This is what we heard over and over – ‘Nah we can’t get merit or excellence, Miss’.  It broke our hearts because even though the data and the placement of these students told us these students were not capable, we found no evidence of that in our teaching.”

Misbah and her team are particularly proud of one bright Māori student who, despite being in MATC1 in Year 11, carried on in mathematics and is now taking STAM3 (Level 3 Statistics). 

Motivation is catchy

One of the most noticeable benefits of abolishing streaming was that there are now fewer behavioural issues in the Year 11 mathematics classes.

“The level of engagement went through the roof. When students see other students motivated, they follow. The whole atmosphere is now towards learning and what the students can, and will do.”  

Another side-effect of removing streaming was that all mathematics classes could be scheduled across the timetable so that students were in more evenly sized classes. 

What success looks like

Horowhenua College has found itself punching well above its weight in terms of the achievement of Māori and Pacific students nationwide.

In 2017, the national average for these students getting excellence in mathematics standards was 8–9 per cent, but Horowhenua College’s average was 4.6 per cent. In 2018, the national average for excellence for Māori students remained the same; however, on average, 24 per cent to 33 per cent of Horowhenua’s Māori students achieved excellence in different mathematics standards. 

Non-streaming had no impact on grades for Pakeha students, but the gain in achievement for Māori and Pacific students was ‘astounding’, Misbah says. 

Originally a journalist in Pakistan, her country of birth, Misbah came to mathematics later in her career. She says she has seen no evidence that streaming in the subject works.  

“In 2017, we did heavy streaming, but only 10 students ended up in the MATH2 programme in 2018, which is the class that those students are supposed to go into. This means that in 2019, we only have six students overall doing Level 3 calculus.

“By contrast, with no streaming in Year 11 in 2018, we currently have 24 students in MATH2 who opted in, compared to 10 the previous year. Hopefully this will lead to a higher number of students studying Level 3 calculus next year.

“This is a total team effort,” says Misbah. “I am incredibly proud of what my team was able to achieve last year.”  

Horowhenua College Principal Grant Congdon says, “After taking the brave step to not stream Level 1 mathematics students, Misbah and her team have then worked extremely hard to develop the mathematics potential in our students. 

“The results speak for themselves and we are very pleased with the gains our students have made – especially our Māori and Pacific students. As such, we will continue to non-stream our Level 1 mathematics classes.”

Souce: Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero

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In Budget 19, the Ministry received $11.7m in funding to develop one or more employment-based ITE programmes to attract 240 more teachers into the teaching profession over the next four years.

The aim of the programmes is to bolster staff numbers in secondary schools while attracting a wider diversity of trainees into teaching. We want new trainees to be able to learn while they earn – so schools can gain the skills and knowledge of more career-changers, Māori, and people from diverse backgrounds.

The Ministry will be holding sessions with interested parties. These sessions will be held in three locations:





29 July 2019

15:00 – 17:00


Ministry of Education, 33 Bowen Street (Room 1:01), Wellington 

31 July 2019

11:00 – 13:00


Mount Richmond Hotel, 676 Mount Wellington Highway, Mt Wellington

02 August 2019

11:00 – 13:00


Commodore Airport Hotel, 449 Memorial Avenue, Christchurch


If you would like to attend one of these sessions:

Request for Information documents

Download the Request for Information document in English

Download the Request for Information document in te reo Māori

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The early learning centre is blocks away from the foreshore of Lake Wanaka but there are many links to it for the children. 

Dane loves playing in the rain and puddles.

During planning consultation, parents said that they wanted adventurous risk to be encouraged and wanted children to have rich interactions with nature and the local landscape. 

The outdoor space at Aspiring Beginnings reflects those wishes. Water is visible throughout, and the children talk about family activities like skiing, boating and mountain biking. 

Manager Jen Rawson says, “Nature contact and family life inspire conversation and language development in children. Our culture of learning includes supporting the growth of social competence, holistic wellbeing and responsible risk-taking.”

Locally sourced schist and rocks, gravel and alpine plants are part of the outdoor area, as are the many contributions from families, such as a huge log from a farm, milk crates, and pots and pans that were donated for the mud kitchen. A picnic table has been made from recycled farm wood.

“We are teaching the children about the importance of making the best of what we can source locally,” Jen says. 

Outdoor play all year round

Beau and Marlisse on the water slide. Water is a feature of the outdoor space at the centre.

The outdoor area is used all year round and that means children play amongst indigenous plant life, such as tussock and flaxes. The additional land was bare until two years ago, but did have some established trees, which the children are encouraged to climb, knowing that teachers can help them if necessary.

“Parents said they wanted a place where children could get their hands dirty,” Jen says. “Our children love playing in the mud kitchen, climbing, and splashing in the rain and puddles.” 

During the initial community consultation, the children said they wanted a water slide. As a result, a parent built one, and it is used even in winter. Mountain biking is big in Wanaka, so there is a lot of space for this.

Landscaping reflects environment

Parents helped with landscaping work such as laying paths, and they created a living tepee out of sticks of willow, bent into shape, which the children love because it is a small, enclosed space. The tepee is another reflection of the local environment, as mature willow trees line the lake edge.

Marlisse inside the living willow teepee.

The centre is largely on a flat site surrounded by houses. Parents wanted the children to be able to see the lake and mountains as they played, so a small raised area was built at the back of the site, with a fort which they can climb and from which they can see the view. 

A raised mound was created at the front of the site beside the drop-off zone. This is called the “tooting mound” because parents in cars toot goodbye to their children who wave them off while standing on top. It is also a perfect slope for tumbling down.

Trucks are a constant sight in Wanaka because of the town’s growth and children use little dump trucks in the play area to move rock, sand and gravel around. Recently a group of parents did some moving of their own – wheelbarrowing in fresh sand for the sandpit.

One of the parents, Anna, is new to Wanaka. She says, “A big effort is made here to connect with parents. We are encouraged to participate fully and the play space is exceptional. The whole site is a classroom, but it’s the community values that brought me in the door. It’s one big whānau.”

Design helps learning

The layout, both inside and outside, was designed to maximise the amount of protected space where spontaneous play can develop without interruptions. 

Teacher Michael Gilbert with Dane being creative

The flow-paths for movement are clearly separated from the play areas, nooks and crannies.

In planning the centre, Jen and her team worked with educational consultant Robin Christie of Childspace in Wellington. Robin says playing is the way children make sense of the world and the layout of an early childhood centre is very important. 

Jen says, “Robin was only involved in the initial draft plan, he sparked our excitement and opened our eyes to what we could possibly achieve. The plan then evolved through consultation with whānau, tamariki and wider community.”

Making sense of experiences  

Te Whāriki describes this as ‘working theories’ – evolving ideas and understandings that children develop as they use existing knowledge to try to make sense of new experiences.

“Look at a playground as you would look at a house – as a series of rooms joined by a corridor,” Robin says. 

“Huge open spaces are confusing for young children who are trying to learn, as it interferes with their play. If they are having to look over their shoulder to watch out for a frisbee coming at them, or someone approaching in a horse suit, it’s distracting and they can’t focus.”

Risky play is vital

Risky play is vital, he says. “Adult-supported risky play is an important part of children’s development. They need to know how their bodies work in space, to develop their motor skills, and experiment with how they can influence and respond to the world around them.” 

If children are not allowed to do risky play, they will seek it out, Robin says. “Risky play is thrilling and exciting for young children, and it is safer to do it in an early childhood environment than elsewhere.

“The role of kaiako is to help them assess those risks through negotiation and conversation, including questions such as, ‘How can you do this safely? What do you think could go wrong?’ These questions stimulate thought, analysis and assessment by the children.”

“The layout and design of a space is incredibly important as a platform to enable learning and agency. For example, lowering the height of swinging equipment allows babies to get onto it by themselves without needing an adult to lift them up, and that is very empowering.”

Design reflects community

An early learning environment should also reflect its community and geography, Robin says. 

He works with early childhood centres around the country to design spaces. Recently he partnered with Mt Cook Preschool in central Wellington, which is close to the Pukeahu War Memorial Park where national Anzac Day services are held. A small version of Pukeahu (Mt Cook) has been included in the preschool grounds. 

“It helps children discuss the meaning of the memorial, and to connect with it, and that expands their vocabulary and knowledge,” he says.

Robin has also worked on the design for an early learning service in Ruatoria, which has a model of its maunga, Hikurangi, as part of the playground.

He says the Wanaka partnership between the families and the preschool team has been important.

“The community in Wanaka has really nailed it, and that will be incredibly empowering for children learning there.”

Tips for designing a learning space
  • Maximise the number of protected spaces where children will not be interrupted as they explore spontaneous play.
  • Empower children and give them agency to make decisions and access areas they will be using, such as water areas and storage facilities. 
  • Connect children to nature, including animals and plants of the local area.

Source: Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero

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Students have created and completed projects using digital technologies and computational thinking skills to express their identity, language and culture.

"In the beginning, we asked them what they wanted to do, and they took it from there," says Otara Community of Learning | Kāhui Ako leader Kallie Ngakuru Syder. "It was student-led."

The initiative was developed by the two local Kāhui Ako, Otara O’Te Rererangi and Te Puke ō Taramainuku. One of their key goals is for the language, culture and heritage of local students to be incorporated into a local curriculum.

Sir Edmund Hillary Middle School is one of the partners, alongside Ferguson Intermediate and Flat Bush Primary School. The project began at the start of term 2, so the students have come a long way in a short time, using readily available digital technologies.

The topics chosen reflect the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko curriculum (DT&HM) content in developing computational thinking and designing and developing digital outcomes. 

Building confidence

A video about drumming in the Cook Islands was made by Edward Neale, Year 7, using Scratch, Makey Makey, stop motion and green-screen techniques.

As part of building their digital confidence and capability, 600 students explored aspects of their culture such as Cook Islands drumming, the layout of their family villages in Samoa, and building an interactive model of a wharenui made on a 3D printer.

They learnt to programme and control robots, and some used drones. Among their creations was a video, The Legend of the Cook Islands Drums, which required the use of stop-motion and green-screen techniques.

Y7 student Limafitu Lealiifano

Coding, Makey Makey, Scratch (a free programming language for children), Tinkercad, Google Expeditions and Tour Creator, Minecraft and Xbox were some of the digital tools and applications used. Artificial intelligence was used to create virtual tours of Pacific Island destinations. Some students coded, while others were responsible for art and design. 

"It teaches me a lot and it’s much more interesting than studying maths by itself in class," says Year 8 Ferguson Intermediate student Crenshaw Wilson.

Merging culture and technology

"Games and Xbox are perfect ways of getting information across," says Iqbal Hussein, Deputy Principal of Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate Middle School. "The technology the children are using is low cost but exciting. Two years ago, we introduced them to coding as a first step, but this year it is full-on.

"Usually, culture and technology are seen as separate things,” he says. “But the children have shown that both can go hand in hand, and they can learn about their culture in an integrated way using digital technology."

The students designed artefacts and objects and printed them on a 3D printer. They used block coding to design and make the wharenui, which includes audio content explaining the significance of each part.

The students used technology to express their own culture.

No achievement data is available yet but Iqbal says that the students have shown much greater engagement because they are gaining ownership of their learning, using technology that is exciting, and doing something of their own choosing. "Having that choice gives the learning meaning," he says. 

Different robots require different coding, apps and programmes. Ferguson Intermediate students explored picture coding, java scripting and block coding. The school has 10 robots, including a Land Raider robot, which uses MBlock software. The students learnt to programme and control the robots’ movements. 

Skills passed on

Year 8 student Aisa-Jane. The students’ work included creating virtual tours of their family’s villages in the Pacific Islands, which can be viewed using Google Expedition.

Through collaboration and tuakana teina – the concept of an older person helping a younger one – once a group masters a skill, they pass it on to others through scaffolding. Flat Bush School learners from Years 5 and 6 shared their coding expertise by teaching a series of games using small domed robots known as lightning bolts. 

A Code Avengers programme prepares all students for basic coding, gives them feedback, and allows them to self-monitor their learning. 

"All coding serves the same purpose,” says Deputy Principal Imteeaz Mohammed, “but our message is ‘don’t just play around – be content creators'."

STEAM learning journey

Four weeks after beginning their projects, the students’ achievements went on display as part of an event to inspire other students and raise awareness of where their skills can take them in future. 

Ferguson Intermediate student Tevita demonstrates how he uses an Xbox and block coding to create a koru on the screen.

The Kāhui Ako-led initiative ‘Otara STEAM Innovation Event’ was held during Techweek 2019 at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, with support from the Ministry of Education. 

The event highlighted that collaboration and partnerships can support the awareness and importance of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics).  It also showed how the Digital Technologies and Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) curriculum content can be integrated into different learning areas, link to students’ identity language and culture, and drive the development of key competencies.

Career pathways highlighted

Other goals of the event were to connect students with potential employers and career pathways and give them an idea of what skills employers are looking for in their future workforce. 

Seven businesses and agencies took part, including the  NZ Defence Force, Mercury Energy, 21 C Skills Lab, Rush Technologies, GameTan, MyRver and Joy Business Academy. The students co-created the theme – ‘Communicating culture through technology’ – and were involved in organising the event.

Learners and employers co-presented workshops. In introducing and talking about their work, the students were confident, knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and the atmosphere was electric as hundreds of students got a glimpse into their future. 

The workshops introduced students to the world of work, including communication. For example, Defence staff ran a search and rescue operation exercise based on a plane crash.

Te Puke ō Taramainuku Lead Principal Banapa Avatea says the intention is to run similar events and strengthen further connections with the local champions in business sector.

Learning essential skills

"It was a chance to lift the community by showcasing their children’s skills and what they can achieve,” says Otara Community of Learning Leader Kallie Ngakuru Syder. 

"We are supporting students with knowledge, skills and capabilities that are transferrable to the workforce they will be joining. 

"We know that digital skills, such as coding, are going to be essential. But they will also need enterprise skills (often called soft skills), such as communication, critical thinking and problem solving, which they are also learning."

This event was a first for the schools, and for the Ministry. Links established on the day between schools and the employers will be built upon in the future.

Connecting with employers

"Employers connecting with schools and schools aligning their curriculum and teaching with the future needs of the workforce are critical for student pathways into employment," says Kallie. "This approach helps students to understand why they’re studying something and become aware of the opportunities available. 

"Self-directed learning, which is what they have been doing with the STEAM project, is what they will need once they enter the workforce.

"The event was also innovative in that it broke down barriers between our two Kāhui Ako, so that together we could begin to address the needs of the entire Otara community by supporting the development of valuable work skills in our students."

Watch a video of the Otara steam innovation event.

Connect to Sir Edmund Hillary Middle School on Facebook 

Support and ideas

Want help to secure future pathways for your ākonga? 

Would you like to discuss some ideas and strategies to implement DT&HM curriculum content within your own local curriculum? The Ministry is keen to support you. Part of this can be through supporting schools to build connections with businesses, employers and other agencies. 

Make sure your school is taking advantage of the range of free professional support available.

Check out: Hangarau matihiko / Hei Āwhina

Contact details: digi.tech@education.govt.nz or employer.engagement@education.govt.nz

Learn more about the DT&HM content in The New Zealand Curriculum/Te Marautanga o Aotearoa at www.education.govt.nz/digitech.

Be curious, aim high, keep learning

Student Crenshaw controls an MBot, which he programmed using robot coding.

One of the business people who attended the Otara steam event and gave a presentation to the students was Louisa Plumpton, a senior manager with Mercury Energy. She is the programme manager responsible for digital and technology projects in an organisation that is developing amongst other things new sources of renewable energy, such as wind and solar. 

Louisa is originally from Samoa and was raised in Otara. "When I told the children about what I do in my job, and that I came from Otara, they were amazed," she says. "They had not realised where their new skills could take them. I said to them, 'Be curious, aim high, keep learning – and the world’s your oyster'

"The STEAM event was a great hands-on opportunity for them. Essentially, the work they have done in planning, developing and implementing their digital projects is the same process we undertake at Mercury, but on a smaller scale."

Louisa says discussions are under way in Mercury about how they can build a long-term relationship to support the students’ STEAM-related learning. 

How the curriculum is preparing students for work

The new DT&HM curriculum content is about developing digitally capable thinkers and creators. It is not about teaching students how to use digital devices; it’s about giving them an understanding of the computer science principles that drive digital technologies.

The aim is to enable them to learn how to design and create their own digital solutions.

Learners will need to be equipped with the skills they’ll require to succeed in a world of unprecedented change – skills such as communication, teamwork, and ethical and safety awareness. 

Schools and kura will need to have incorporated this new content into their local curricula from 2020.

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Waiheke High School sits beside Te Huruhi Bay, on Waiheke Island in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf. Until recent years the school was unaware it owned a patch of land beside the sports grounds – a wetland reserve with a stream running through it into the sea. 

The marine environment around Waiheke Island provides contextualised science opportunities for students.

The land was overrun by weeds, including a jungle of pampas grass, and the stream water quality was poor. Tyres and other material had been dumped there and marine life in the bay had suffered as a result.

Runoff into the stream from nearby building projects in the past, and the creation of the school’s sports ground in 1984, had also fouled the bay. 

Local resident Tony King-Turner is working with the school on the restoration project.

A community group, spearheaded by local resident Tony King-Turner, gained funding support to restore the wetland as an action project, clearing, replanting and cleaning up the stream.

In doing so it developed its local curriculum across chemistry, biology, and maths, and collaborated with many partners in the community, the local scientific community, Auckland Council and the Waiheke Local Board, who assisted with developing the scientific method.

Biology student Nahanni Bliss, originally from Canada, says, “It’s unusual for a school to have a wetland, an unprecedented resource for us to use, within walking distance of classrooms. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Authentic scientific research

Head of science Katherine Cole says the students are taking part in authentic scientific research, working together and communicating their findings to monitoring agencies. 

Year 13 student Aneirin tests for water clarity. The students use their school stream for their work in science and biology.

“The aim is to make science meaningful and relevant to students’ lives. The curriculum links to diverse science strands, giving the students the chance to work like scientists, including deciding on a methodology, collecting the data and then analysing it.”

The junior students’ units of work link to local environmental contexts, including plant and animal biodiversity, stream health, marine science, pest/predator monitoring, and eradication. They also contact suppliers and organise resources or assistance where needed.

Senior students use the project in a variety of ways, including monitoring of stream water quality, shellfish numbers and ocean acidification. 

Level 2 biology students focus on ecology and collect and upload data to an Auckland Council database. Longitudinal data is completed for year-on-year comparison to evaluate effectiveness of their work. Water testing results are uploaded to the Wai Care website. 

Results that students gather and analyse contribute towards their NCEA internal assessments for Level 3 biology (AS91601), Level 2 biology (AS91153) and Level 1 science with numeracy (AS90951). 

Improved water quality

Data gathering by the students is used for environmental monitoring by local authorities.

Over time, the project has produced higher quality stream water and improved water quality of the bay it feeds into. Now, after years of decline due to pollution, shellfish numbers and other elements of the marine ecosystem are slowly recovering. There is a larger diversity of species in the bay, more seagrass growth, and an increased number of shellfish.

Regular testing at three sites on the stream is carried out by the students, to measure the amount of dissolved oxygen, as well as temperature, turbidity, and clarity. 

Over the past 15 years, 1,200 trees have been planted in the wetland to help restore the ecosystem and reduce runoff, and birdlife is returning to the area because of the trees. Fruit trees have been planted in the wetland and will be bearing fruit soon. Foundation North has helped provide funding to buy trees and Year 7 students have helped with planting each year.

An action plan for beach improvement has been drawn up as part of a Waiheke Local Board-funded marine issues project, with Year 8 students doing beach clean-ups and raising funds for their work. 

Another group of students has put in a litter trap on the drains from the road to stop plastic going down the stream into the ocean. After researching the options, they chose a product from supplier Stormwater 360. They also examined single-use plastics and held a workshop which came up with alternatives to plastic for supermarket shopping and other activities. 

Learning opportunities for all students

The project has also created learning opportunities for students in the Year 11 science and numeracy course. These students monitor macro-invertebrate numbers in the stream, in a cross-curricular context, using maths and science.

One of the school’s community partners is Waiheke Trust, which works to restore wetlands on the island, and educates on community sustainability and resilience. The students also hold a community collaboration day to share information about what they’re doing. 

Assistant Head of Science Julie Campbell says, “We’ve had numerous community partners, and lots of help from the scientific community. We are fortunate to have a high number of scientists living on Waiheke, and the island is a very environmentally aware community. 

“The students are having a real impact on biodiversity through the action plan related to their studies.”

What students think

Student Bonnie examines water taken from the stream that runs through the school’s land.

“The water testing of our wetland stream allows us to track and measure the health of the stream and plays an important role in our community.” Bonnie, Year 13.

“I hope that other schools around the world see what we are doing and follow in our footsteps so we can all make a difference.” Lola, Year 8.

“I feel really privileged because I realise other people around the world don’t have the same opportunities that we have. I feel like sometimes with big things like this you can feel helpless, but it’s good to do something so you can feel like you are helping.” Delilah, Year 8.

“It’s been fun knowing we can make a difference. We are so lucky to have our own wetlands and it’s cool using them for our projects.” Olive, Year 8.

Key project and curriculum objectives
  • Form community partnerships using local natural environment and resources.
  •  Contextualise the learning for students, with the intention of helping them to experience, understand and engage in local issues. 
  •  Establish monitoring programmes that contribute to data gathering and improved scientific outcomes.
  •  Encourage student-led action to protect and enhance the local Waiheke Island environment.
Using science in daily life

The science learning area in The New Zealand Curriculum Te Whāriki promotes the idea of developing citizenship capabilities. Students (citizens) need to be ready, willing, and able to use their science knowledge in their schooling and their everyday lives. 

This is important so that they develop the broad science capabilities they’ll need to participate as critical, informed and responsible citizens in a society in which science plays a significant role.  

For more information on:

Source: Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero

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We're running 26 regional hui in August, that are open to anyone wanting to learn more about the changes. 

  • What did we hear from New Zealanders last year that led to the changes?
  • Key things you need to know about the changes
  • How will the changes impact and benefit students, teachers and kaiako, parents and whānau, and the wider community?
  • When will the changes happen?

>> Register now to an event in your region.

The workshops will run from 6.30-8.30pm with catering provided. All ages welcome.

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Please attribute to Ellen MacGregor-Reid, Deputy Secretary for Early Learning and Student Achievement

Primary principals have voted to reject over $64 million in NZEI Te Riu Roa recommended pay rises.

This is a significant amount of money for just over 1,900 principals.

The rejected offer also included additional staffing to support principals of our smallest schools and a clear commitment from the Ministry, NZEI and the PPTA, through an accord, to working on the issues of workload, well-being and pay parity between groups of principals.

It is not new that teachers in large schools with leadership responsibilities do, in some cases, receive more money than principals of small schools. This reflects the fact that funding for schools has always been based on the number of children in a school.

We value the work principals do, and working with them on the improvements being made in our education system is important.

It is disappointing that this action is being taken. However, it’s reassuring that while principals will cease participation in Ministry-led activities, other school staff will not. This will reduce the impact on business-as-usual activities.

We will continue talking with the NZEI to understand how the offer might be adjusted within the $64m to best meet their members’ needs.

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Attribute to Secretary for Education Iona Holsted

NZEI Te Riu Roa recommended the offer to principals. We are meeting the President of the NZEI later this week.

It is important that the facts about principals’ pay and the latest offer are clear.

Principals’ pay is determined by school roll size. This has always been the case and remains so under the offer. In some cases small school principals are paid less than a teacher with leadership responsibilities in a larger school. This is not new and the current offer does not change this.

Our offer was weighted in favour of principals of our smallest schools who got proportionately bigger increases than other principals. The offer also included additional staff for small schools.

We have offered to look at a range of issues raised by principals through an Accord, including pay parity.

Notes to editors:

This offer included:

  • Pay rises on 1 July of up to 13% for over 500 principals of our smaller schools of fewer than 100 students.
  • Also over 900 principals moving to a minimum salary of between circa $132,000 and $143,000 after three years (approx. $14,000 extra).
  • Another 270 principals moving to a minimum salary of around $150,000 ($148,400) after three years (approx. $15,000 extra).
  • Principals of larger schools would have seen considerably higher increases after three years, up to a salary of over $175,000.
  • $1,500 for union members.
  • Establishment of the Accord to address pay parity and wellbeing
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The first round of funding opened in 2017 and so far has supported the development of over 100 resources sharing a range of local histories from across Aotearoa New Zealand.

This year, the fund opened on 1 July and we're looking for stories related to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and localised Māori histories.

Find out further details and how to apply. Applications are open now and close on 31 July 2019.

Te Aho Ngārahu


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The Ministry welcomes secondary teachers voting to accept their offer to settle their collective agreement.

We look forward to working with the PPTA to progress the Accord, to resolve complex issues in the education system, that secondary teachers also want addressed.

Notes to editors

Terms of Settlement – Secondary Teachers’ Collective Agreement


Accord between the Ministry of Education, NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA



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