Over the next few years a *large influx of primary school students will hit our secondary schools. This is due to baby booms and immigration.
Now is a great time to start planning for this. It's vital for the education system to meet the growth demand and excel at preparing our rangatahi for adulthood. *Education Counts
Based on your valued opinions, information from industry experts and insights from COMET we sent two questions to each political party about school growth.
This was their response in alphabetical order:
MP Golriz Ghahraman
The Green Party sees schools as the heart of the community. The Green Party supports the development of schools as community hubs, including resourcing relevant school staff. We encourage clustering of Early Childhood Education Centres with nearby Primary Schools to enhance the transition to school, including meetings between Early Childhood and New Entrants teachers.
Hon. Chris Hipkins
The new regionally based Education Service Agency that Labour will establish, as part of a redesigned Ministry of Education, will be designed to provide responsive, efficient and meaningful support for all schools and ensure that collaboration rather than competition is encouraged and that equitable outcomes for all is the focus.
At the same time, there is a need to accommodate growth. For the first time ever we have committed to a long-term growth plan for school property, so that students aren’t learning in overcrowded classrooms.
List MP Nicola Willis
National has committed an additional $4.8B for school infrastructure over the next decade. As well as upgrading our existing schools, it is crucial that we get ahead of the curve by building new classrooms and schools to accommodate population growth.
Right now schools and communities are often forced to wait too long for the facilities they need to accommodate clearly projected roll growth. We recognise that schools are vital community assets and we anticipate building an additional 60 in new and growing communities across the country.
Hon. Tracey Martin
To answer this question one would have to decide if the financial advantages of economy of scale was appropriately balanced with child wellbeing. New Zealand First does not support mega schools. If we need to think outside the box – such as looking at leasing facilities that we alter to create a school in more urban environments to keep numbers of students lower, for the benefit of our children’s overall wellbeing, then we believe the property parameters should be altered to allow that to happen.
Our one-size-fits-all education system has failed to adapt and provide every student with a good education. Too many children are leaving school without the basic skills they need to navigate a rapidly changing world.
ACT supports access for all learners and learning environments that are appropriate to specific learner needs, both in terms of education and culturally appropriate. This was foundational in our legislation for Charter Schools.
Until the Adern Government ended the Partnership School model, iwi, Pasifika, and community groups were providing innovative education and changing kids' lives for the better.
ACT's Student Education Accounts and Partnership Schools will create a vibrant marketplace of educators offering new opportunities for all children. New Zealand needs an education system that celebrates diversity and engages every student.
MP Golriz Ghahraman
Aotearoa has an unequal education system, where there is a difference between the haves and the have-nots, achievers and non-achievers. We must fix this inequality so every child is treated fairly and can thrive.
We’ve made a start by supporting the Ongoing Resourcing Scheme for high-needs children. The Green Party would ensure that all students identified as having learning difficulties have access to free or low-cost professional assessment to determine their educational needs, and further ensure these students receive the support necessary to achieve at school.
We would also fund new Learning Support Centres for special needs students within mainstream schools to meet demand. Furthermore the Green Party supports targeted funding for gifted and talented learners and the provision of additional gifted advisers and other professional development initiatives.
Hon. Chris Hipkins
Labour will continue to put learners with their whānau at the centre of education. We’ll strengthen support for learners with additional learning support needs, including by continuing to implement the new learning support coordinator roles.
We will also build the cultural competency of the education workforce, to meet the needs of Māori learners (including through Te Hurihanganui and Tataiako) and Pacific learners (including through the Action Plan for Pacific Education and Tapasā).
Labour will continue to support and encourage more te reo Māori teachers and continue to integrate te reo Māori in our schools. In our first term we have already trained over 1,200 te reo educators and staff and Labour will continue to build on this work.
List MP Nicola Willis
Education policies should ensure schools can support the needs of different learners. National recognises that as many as one in five students have additional needs - ranging from learning disabilities to behavioural challenges to high health needs.
We think the current system of support for these students can be a complex web of form-filling and hop-jumping. We’ve developed a seven point plan to improve this system including better needs screening, earlier intervention, more diversity of provision and an additional $480m in flexible funding for schools to use to support children with additional needs. We expect some schools would use their funds to modify classroom arrangements to suit the diverse needs of their students.
We have also committed an additional $4.8B in additional funding over the next ten years to help repair, modernise and grow our schools. This will ensure more schools can adapt and modernise their classrooms to meet the learning needs of their students.
We believe schools and parents should wherever possible have some choice over the form of their learning environment, and we will allow schools to have flexibility over classroom design on new builds or refurbishments. We recognise the concerns some people have about the impact of modern learning environments, particularly for children with additional learning or behavioural needs and we will instruct the Ministry of Education to continue to evaluate the effectiveness and limitations of different learning environments and to make this information widely available to educators.
Hon. Tracey Martin
As Associate Minister of Education Hon. Tracey Martin has led the charge on the roll out of the Learning Support Delivery Model by:
- Learning Support Co-ordinators
- The development and start of the digital Learning Support Register through the Te Rito platform, which interacts with current schools student management system
- Initiated the development of consistent school entry assessment and screening tools for dyslexia, dyspraxia, mild autism and giftedness for much earlier identification to address student’s needs.
Hon. Tracey Martin has also overseen the largest investment in Early Intervention Services for decades and has supported Ministry trials by having specialists spend days inside centres as opposed to the refer out and wait model she inherited. To address language diversity New Zealand First continues to promote the delivery of current progressions (Te Aho Arataki Marau mo te Ako I Te Reo Maori – Kura Auraki) for the teaching and learning of Te Reo Maori from Year 1 to Year 13 in English-medium schools. It is also our view that similar progressions need to be developed and delivered for New Zealand Sign Language.