Creating a more graduated range of interventions

Schools are self-managing and most work well at providing quality educational environments for children and young people. In a small number of cases, the Ministry of Education needs to actively intervene in their governance arrangements to ensure schools get back on track.

The options for the Ministry of Education to intervene are set out in the Education Act 1989 (the Act) and are known as statutory interventions. The current statutory intervention system has a limited range of responses, is not well-graduated and doesn’t allow the Ministry to provide early support to schools and kura.

The Education (Update) Amendment Bill (the Bill) proposes to introduce a new range of intervention options and apply the lower assessment threshold to some of the less severe existing interventions. This would ensure we can provide tailored, beneficial support to help all schools and kura get back on track.

The proposed new interventions structure is outlined below:

The proposed changes to interventions are three-fold:

Introducing four new intervention options

New intervention options are:

  • Case conference
  • Specialist audit
  • Performance notice
  • Statutory appointee to the Board by the Minister of Education

Moving existing intervention options under the existing lower threshold

Two existing intervention options will be moved to the existing lower intervention threshold:

  • require the board to procure or access specialist help or advice. Any person(s) engaged are to provide a report to the Secretary and the board at a time nominated by the Secretary;
  • require the board to prepare and carry out an action plan.

Extending two existing interventions to be more comprehensive

Two existing interventions are being extended to ensure they effectively help schools to get back on track:

Current interventionExtended intervention
require the board to provide information require the board to provide information and if required provide an analysis of that information
require the board to procure or access specialist help or advice require the board to procure or access specialist help or advice. Any person(s) engaged are to provide a report to the Secretary and the board 

Further information

When will these changes take effect?

It is expected that the Bill will come into force in 2017.

Changes to the interventions assessment framework and new interventions would apply straight away to decisions to intervene made by the Secretary for Education and the Minister of Education.

Will interventions be applied retroactively?

No, interventions would not be applied retroactively.

Who will these changes effect?

These changes would affect schools and kura who are assessed as needing intervention.

Will this increase the Minister or Ministry’s power to interfere in schools?

The changes would increase the number of intervention options available to the Minister of Education, the Secretary of Education and the Ministry of Education.

What is a case conference?

A case conference would be a meeting between board representatives, school representatives, the principals and other relevant people. The right to attend would be included in the Act to make sure decisions are made with input from people who ae involved with the school. Decisions made at the case conference would be recorded in writing and become binding on the people present.

If no decision is reached, the Secretary of Education would be able to decide on a course of action and require those present at the case conference to follow the course of action.

What is a specialist audit?

A specialist audit would be where a school, kura or board is assessed by a third party, with specific skills, such as computer fraud. A specialist audit would directly assess how to improve performance outcomes for students. 

What is a performance notice?

A performance notice would require the board to remedy a breach of performance by a certain time. This would be useful where there are breaches of the law or obvious issues that the board needs to address - for example, when school property needs urgent remedial action.

What will a statutory appointee to a board mean?

A statutory appointee to a board would be a person appointed to a board by the Minister of Education. The Minister would appoint someone when a board is lacking specific skills or needs help with governance.

A statutory appointee could provide a managed transition back to self-governance as there would be experienced guidance for the board.

What will the new intervention framework look like?

When the Secretary has reasonable grounds for concern about the operation of the school, or the welfare or educational performance of its students, the Secretary would have the power to:

  • require the board to provide information and if required provide an analysis of that information
  • require the board to procure or access specialist help or advice. Any person(s) engaged are to provide a report to the Secretary and the board
  • require the board to prepare and carry out an action plan
  • call a case conference (New intervention option)
  • undertake a specialist audit (New intervention option)
  • issue a performance notice. (New intervention option)

When the Secretary or Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that there is a risk to the operation of the school, or to the welfare or educational performance of its students, the Secretary or the Minister would be able to apply a higher level intervention.  These include:

  • requiring the appointment of an Limited Statutory Manager
  • requiring the appointment of a Commissioner (by the Secretary or by direction that an appointment be made by the Minister in accordance with existing law)
  • appointing a statutory appointee to the board for a limited period of time. Such an  appointee may be appointed as Chair (New intervention option)

The following document provides information on the current and proposed intervention frameworks The Current and Possible Frameworks [PDF, 26 KB].

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