23 Jun 2014

Assurances over education changes

3:05 pm on 23 June 2014

Parents are being told that taking good teachers out of the classroom to help others as part of the Government's flagship education plan won't disrupt children's learning.

The $360 million scheme, dubbed Investing in Education Success, is aimed at raising student achievement and sharing teacher expertise among schools.

It will create so-called communities of schools, with new roles of Executive Principal, and expert and lead teachers. The policy will pay those teachers and principals two days a week to work in other schools.

Graham Stoop, the Deputy Secretary for Education, is travelling the country speaking with teachers, parents, principals and boards of trustees about the plan. He's also chair of the working group on the new policy.

Mr Stoop told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme the policy will raise the quality of education in all schools and schools are increasingly using teams of teachers, rather than relying on one teacher to teach one class.

"This is good for parents because although Amy's teacher may be out for a while, this is actually making sure that Mr Brown next year, and Mr Jones the year after that are getting the professional development they need.

"So this is looking at it beyond the teacher in the classroom, and at strengthening all of the teachers in all of the schools."

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Collective contract negotiations

The first of the new roles will be appointed next year, and the scheme will be fully rolled out by 2017.

The Ministry of Education is negotiating with the teachers' unions over the new roles being added to their collective contracts.

It has also announced the appointment of five academics to join an advisory group along with sector professionals to work on the detail of the programme.

Secondary teachers union the Post Primary Teachers Association is in favour of the scheme.

The primary union, the New Zealand Educational Institute is against it, saying it's concerned about the disruption of senior teachers and principals leaving their own schools to work with other schools in their area.