Children and young people at the heart of updated Education Act

The Education Act 1989 has undergone its most comprehensive update in almost 30 years with the passing of the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017. These changes will come into law on 19 May 2017.

The Act now provides a clear strategic direction for Communities of Learning| Kāhui Ako, early childhood services and schools, focusing on the progress and achievement of children and young people . It includes a set of clear objectives for early learning and schooling.

The Act introduces a new stand alone document called the statement of National Education and Learning Priorities, or NELP, through which the Government of the day will set its education priorities. The NELP will be developed following consultation before being issued. Together the objectives and the NELP will provide a vision of success for all young New Zealanders.

The key changes are:

  • Making the roles and responsibilities of school boards of trustees clearer, including introducing a new obligation to provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students.
  • Providing streamlined planning and reporting requirements for schools so they can focus more on the things that are most important. The changes also ensure parents, whānau and communities are given easy access to this information. The new legal frameworks for planning and reporting will be issued after consultation to inform their development.
  • Ensuring the safety of children, young people and school staff by banning seclusion and creating a legal framework for using physical restraint.
  • Enabling earlier supports for struggling schools to help them get back on track in delivering great education outcomes for kids.
  • Supporting further collaboration between early learning services, schools and tertiary providers in Communities of Learning│Kāhui Ako so they can share expertise and resources to raise the quality of teaching and learning for their children and young people. The Act will also help improve transitions for students as they move from one part of their education to another, and then on into further education, training or employment.
  • Increasing the education options for parents, children and young people by creating a new framework for online learning. This will be supported by robust regulatory requirements on providers to ensure good education outcomes and student wellbeing.
  • Enabling schools to introduce a cohort entry policy for new entrants to start in a group at the beginning of each term after consulting with parents, whānau members, staff and local early learning services.
  • Strengthening the pathways for students between education and work by creating a new careers service within the Tertiary Education Commission.
  • Supporting the teaching profession, parents, children and young people through speeding up the resolution of complaints to the Education Council about teachers’ competency.

More detail on the individual changes can be found here

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