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Nearly Three in Four Schools in Breach of the Education Act

Published: Thu 21 Feb 2019 09:03 AM
Nearly Three in Four Schools in Breach of the Education Act Report Finds
A new report released today by Regan Cunliffe finds that 72% of schools Boards of Trustees have not made their latest annual reports available online as required by the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017.
In more than 99% of schools reviewed, the Education Review Office (ERO) did not detect this non-compliance.
This report uncovers a systemic nationwide failure involving school boards, ERO and the Ministry of Education.
Section 87AB of the Education Act requires school boards to ensure their annual report is available to the public on an internet site maintained by or on behalf of the board.
The Auditor General noted in his recent 2017 school audit report that it was not clear how many schools had met the requirement to put their annual report on their website.
This research addresses that gap and is extremely important in providing transparency and knowledge to all parents, caregivers and state agencies for the first time.
In October 2018, Regan Cunliffe released a report into widespread systemic failure by school Boards of Trustees, principals, NZSTA, ERO, and the Ministry of Education in relation to the Vulnerable Children Act 2014. During the course of that research, further compliance issues were discovered.
In November 2018, Regan Cunliffe made a request under the Official Information Act after it was discovered that Helensville Primary School had not provided the required annual report online.
Earlier this month, the request was refused. Complaints are with the Ombudsman and the Ministry of Education.
Regan Cunliffe says, “At the beginning of every year, schools ask parents and caregivers to dip into their pockets and make a donation. This is in addition to the more than six billion dollars in taxpayer funding they receive. For schools to not make their annual reports available publically online when the law requires them to is not good enough. For Helensville Primary School to go a step further and refuse to provide them is deeply suspicious.”
“It appears that the Ministry of Education are powerless to enforce compliance with the Act that they administer.”
“The results of this investigation are sobering. Despite all the efforts made by lawmakers to do what they can to increase transparency, too many Boards of Trustees have failed their communities by not making their annual reports available online.”
In light of this report, the author requests that the Minister of Education Hon Chris Hipkins launches a formal inquiry into New Zealand schools’ compliance with the Education Act 1989, the Education Review Office processes, and Board Assurance Statements made by Boards of Trustees.
The report, Public Availability of School Annual Reports Education Act - Compliance by New Zealand State Schools and the list of schools not in compliance is available at:
improbable.co.nz
ENDS

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