INDEPENDENT NEWS

Education legislation later this year

Published: Fri 3 Mar 2000 04:48 PM
3 March 2000
Education legislation later this year
Education Minister Trevor Mallard today outlined details of education legislation to be introduced to Parliament this year.
The legislative programme for education was approved by Cabinet this week and includes two major education amendment bills
Trevor Mallard said the first bill to be introduced within a few weeks would cover the end of bulk funding of teacher salaries; school enrolment schemes; school governance; membership of student associations and human rights issues.
“All schools will benefit from the additional funding and flexibility that only bulk-funded schools have enjoyed
"School governance will also be made more flexible, particularly where schools wish to combine their boards, or where communities want a system of governance that is tailor-made to their circumstances.
"The bill will tighten existing enrolment scheme law to ensure that any school enrolment schemes include clearly defined geographic zones. Every student within that zone will have the absolute right to attend their local school, and out-of-zone places will be determined by ballot.”
A further Amendment Bill to be introduced later this year would strengthen further aspects of the Education sector.
Issues covered in that bill will include:
 Teacher registration requirements and the establishment of an Education Council
 The establishment of a Parent Advocacy Service
 Processes to report student achievement
ENDS
PURPOSE OF EDUCATION AMENDMENT BILL NO.1
Background paper from the Minister of Education, Hon. Trevor Mallard.
3 March 2000
This is the first of two proposed Education Amendment Bills this year. The Parliamentary Counsel Office has been instructed to start drafting the amendments to give effect to the following policies:
 Strengthening governance arrangements in schools
 Fairer school enrolment scheme arrangements
 Abolition of bulk funding
 Membership and fees for tertiary students associations
 Minor amendments to human rights provisions within education legislation
Strengthening governance arrangements in schools
 Boards of trustees play a critical role in the administration of state schools. The Government seeks to make certain boards can organise themselves more effectively by enabling them to control the turnover of trustees, by facilitating school mergers and combined boards. Consequently, the act will be amended to:
 Allow for voluntary staggered board elections for half the parent representatives every eighteen months
 Remove the restrictions on the number of school boards that may combine. This particularly – though not exclusively - relates to small schools, and schools undergoing EDI processes
 Facilitate new board elections within three months of a school merger, so the board of the combined school represents all students and parents
 The amendment will ensure all secondary school boards include a student trustee so that the student perspective is available to boards
 Schools cannot be left to flounder when a board is struggling to govern. The Minister of Education will have enhanced powers of intervention into the running of a board, in certain circumstances. The circumstances are:
 If the Minister believes it is in the best interests of the school
 When an ERO report highlights the need for intervention, or
 If 20% (or more) of the parents request alternative governance arrangements by way of a petition.
Fairer School Enrolment Schemes
 Both the Alliance and Labour manifestos made a clear commitment to ensuring children could attend their neighbourhood school. The proposed amendment will guarantee a child the right to attend a school for which they are in the geographic zone.
 Additional places at the school – where capacity permits – will be distributed on the basis of a ballot. This will prevent 'creaming' of students.
 Schools with a special character – that is integrated schools, kura kaupapa Maori, special schools and designated character schools - will be required to establish an enrolment scheme, but do not have to set a geographic zone or select out-of-zone students by ballot.
Abolition of Bulk Funding
 Bulk-funding – known as the 'Fully Funded Option' - for teacher salaries will be abolished and existing fully-funded option agreements will be terminated through legislation.
 Schools that have been in the scheme for over three years, or who entered the contract on or after 18 June 1998 will leave bulk funding at the beginning of the 2001 school year.
 Schools that are yet to see out their first three years, but entered the scheme prior to 18 June 1998, will be able to choose to leave at the beginning of the 2001 school year, or at the FFO payment date closest to June 2001.
 The 11 schools who are part of the Self Managed Payroll pilot will be returned to the centrally resourced payroll system on the closure of FFO.
 Some discussions have already taken place with the Bulk Funded schools Association on the transition, and those discussions will continue.
Membership of and Fees for Tertiary Students Associations
 The Education (Tertiary Students' Assocation Voluntary Membership) Amendment Act 1998 will be repealed.
 Students enrolled in an institution which has voluntary membership may vote to return to compulsory membership if the student body receives a petition signed by 10% of students, or by a vote of an existing students' association (so long as the association represents at least 50% of students).
 Fees for membership of a students' association would be collected automatically by the tertiary provider on behalf of the association. The amendment will also cover how to achieve student representation on a Council.
Compliance with Human Rights Act
 Some minor amendments are needed to ensure education legislation complies with the Human Rights Act, predominantly on the grounds of age. This includes parts of the Education Act, Private Schools Conditional Integration Act, Music Teachers Act, and Royal Foundation for the Blind Act.
ENDS

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