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Alwyn Poole: A Big Week for all NZ Families with School-age Children

Through the work I do and the data-sets I process on New Zealand high-schools, I receive many contacts from families about the issues in education. In response my first point is often, 'If you are asking, you are heading towards the right path for your child(ren) to do well because you are engaged'. There is, of course, more to being a parent that supports and enhances a child’s education than just that – but if you are indifferent, matters are not as likely to turn out well.


The NZ education system, through Boards of Trustees (BoTs), is designed to be led by families. This is often de-emphasised as the Ministry of Education, or school senior leadership seem to hold all of the cards and keep them close to their chest. This coming week most newly elected BoTs will hold their first meetings.


It is the BoTs that are the employers of the Principal and staff. The BoTs can play a huge role in setting the direction of a school and in improving outcomes for students. The past three years, around the globe, have seen parents come to the realisation they need to be much more pro-active and challenge what is being taught, the quality of teaching and their child's progress (or lack of it). Growth in home-schooling has been significant – even in New Zealand.


Most new Board members will be aware there are significant challenges in our system. They might be aware of NZ’s rapid comparative decline in international measures of literacy and numeracy. They might be aware of the attendance problems in the NZ system (although the government seems very reluctant to release Term 2 figures).





They might even feel that they have some understanding of how their school performs through NCEA figures that are released in February. Those figures are cohort figures – Year group by Year group for those students who remain. Some schools are losing 40% of their students before they turn 17 years-old which does not show up in cohort measures.


The figures the new Trustees need are the figures for LEAVERS that are released in August and I produce a full range of metrics that can be compared to every other high school in NZ. I have two data sets available: one against the decile system (still in place this year), and one against the newly-released Equity Index numbers – that should have some correlation to achievement – that are being used for some aspects of funding from 2023.


If you – or anyone you know – has joined a high school BoT (or simply if you are interested) – please make contact. Please also keep in mind BoT meetings all have to be open to every parent and the public.


You can make a difference.


Alwyn Poole

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25 Comments


As a recent teacher (mandated out) it has been interesting to reflect on what I left behind. I was teaching at a boys' school decile 7 - 8. Good kids and the staff in my area (PE-Health) were all good buggers with high expectations from the boys.

My observations re the shambles.

1. NCEA is a game of credit counting for all bar a few students who want to learn for learnings sake.. The boys knew it. The staff knew it.

School funding comes from numbers.

Numbers come from good results (And good sports results, still),

Good results - are easy to manufacture, despite the supposed checks of moderation. The school I was at was ethical in it's reporting but…


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zespritz
zespritz
Oct 02, 2022

I dont believe that the degradation of the system is a simple issue that can be pegged on one instance nor fixed with one facility even in a leadership role. The sad fact is the great grandparents of today's children achieved a better basic learning in part because they valued and wanted the education and in part because the education was delivered by competent teachers without the distractions of today's lifestyle and degraded by politicized ideologies added to which is a large body of rejection of the inappropriate propaganda of little use to the student in the real world.

This situation is compounded by far too much reliance on distractive activities including sport, low skill drama, cultural rituals and political…


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Pete Mussel
Pete Mussel
Oct 02, 2022

I seem to recall that a vast number of students are not attending school on a regular basis (40% ? ) . What is readily apparent , and not just because a large percentage of ramraids are by school age kids , is that there is a horrendous lack of parental discipline OR maybe more to the point , a horrendous lack of parents unwilling to face up to their parental responsibility . Won't matter how good or bad the BoD is , these parents do not seem to care . Probably the same ones whose children never got vaccinated with out a large dollar incentive . A pity , but there is a lot of support for singin…

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Robin Gardiner
Robin Gardiner
Oct 02, 2022

Vouchers and school choice are the real solution to all these problems. Schools run properly will succeed and those that don't will fail. Sorry the teachers union must know best and not parents

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Robin Gardiner
Robin Gardiner
Oct 03, 2022
Replying to

You are right. No it will not happen over night but it will happen Charter Schools are only the start

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lynnsam112
lynnsam112
Oct 02, 2022

Thanks Alwyn for your passion for education and the importance that all children get a decent deal......

The government/education system has let kids down badly - hopefully the BoT's can have some influence....

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Replying to

The trouble is they are teaching tribalism now

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