Hekia Parata: Education Act changes shift focus to kids

  • 03/11/2015
Hekia Parata (Simon Wong/3 News)
Hekia Parata (Simon Wong/3 News)

A revamp of the country's 26-year-old Education Act will ensure kids and learning are put before infrastructure and compliance, the Government says.

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced consultations on a number of updates to the law which governs the way New Zealand schools operate.

Her approach is being criticised by Opposition parties who say the Government is leaving some of its most controversial education policies, like national standards and funding, out of the review.

But Ms Parata told the Paul Henry programme today that this review's primary focus was changing the laws to shift the focus to what's happening in the classroom.

"The current act, which was ground-breaking in its time 26 years ago, is nevertheless administratively dense and focuses on infrastructure and compliance," she said.

A taskforce last year observed the Act was confusing, had too many guidelines and was no longer fit for purpose.

"What we're looking at is what's in the law, what should be in the law, and how does that enable what we need to see happen, which is making sure that the focus is on kids and learning."

The review will also consider giving each school board the power to decide whether its students will start on their fifth birthday, as they do currently, or in group intakes at the start of the term twice a year.

Some schools have already begun starting groups of new entrants at one time, a change which can help with planning and minimises disruption for other pupils.

"Kids could still start on their birthday if that's what the boards in a school community decide is the case having consulted with parents," Ms Parata said.

The deadline for feedback on the proposed changes is December 14.