New Education Bill to Foster Better Learning and Increase Transparency
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The Education and Training Amendment Bill, which aims to establish charter schools, encourage the opening of more early learning centres, and enhance transparency on school attendance, has been introduced for its first reading in Parliament, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour.

“Every child deserves an education that allows them to thrive. To do this, the government is making the New Zealand education system more flexible and responsive to the needs of families and students,” says Mr Seymour.

The Bill is aimed to:

– Set out a framework for establishing and operating charter schools, including the application and approval process, monitoring, property, staff, and the establishment of the Charter School Authorisation Board.

– Repeal early childhood education (ECE) network rules put in place last year that made it impossible to open new centers.

– Establish provisions for creating rules about how and what type of student attendance data is provided by schools.

“Many students are not responding well to the existing ‘one size fits all’ education system.New Zealand is undergoing a crisis, with school attendance and achievement levels at record lows,” says Mr Seymour.

“Charter schools are publicly funded and provide students and families with more schooling choices. Educators at charter schools will have the autonomy to respond to student needs in innovative ways while being held accountable for outcomes much more stringently than state schools. This will improve educational outcomes, particularly for students who are disengaged from school.

“Now that the Bill is introduced, applications for new and converting schools will open in July. Educators have expressed overwhelming interest in examining the charter model, and I expect schools to launch in Term 1, 2025.

The removal of early childhood network approval rules will make it easier for providers to create new services. This will reduce costs and waiting lists for early childhood services, supporting parents by ensuring their children are happy, safe, and well cared for while they work or engage in other activities.

“Following legislative changes, schools and selected kaupapa Māori education providers will be required to collect daily attendance data starting in Term 1 next year and by mid-2025.

High-quality and timely data will help parents, schools, and parties assisting with attendance to identify absences promptly and decide on appropriate interventions to support students’ return to school.”

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