A statement from Education Minister Hekia Parata to concerned parents, teachers and children in the Christchurch area
I am aware that a lot of teachers, students and parents in Christchurch are expressing concern about the future of their schools.
Today I want to take the opportunity to talk about how decisions in respect of schools have been made and will be made, with regard to the consultation and engagement processes underway, and in the wider context of the need to raise learner achievement.
I want to tell you that we are looking at how, by a mix of implementing robust processes and the development of specific timelines for engagement and consultation, we can give communities the opportunity to participate at all levels of engagement.
I can tell you unequivocally and emphatically that for the purposes of growing our understanding of the processes necessary to grow learner achievement, we are going to be working with communities in order to develop a process for mapping what is going to happen specifically to those schools concerned about the processes being implemented.
The plan we have outlined sets out the outcomes we expect from all levels, and we have been very clear and very comprehensive in what we are anticipating.
Schools have told us that they require some degree of certainty, but not so much that it prejudices their capacity to give a response to the specific plans we have outlined to give those schools the opportunity for raising achievement. We have listened to these conversations, and we will continue to have engagement at all levels with sector groups in respect of that process.
What we have said is that we remain focused on a plan that supports the development of different steps of learning, while at the same time ensuring that the decisions we make about learning can be contributed to by communities and interest groups in order to meet everyone’s needs, and so that schools can focus on gathering what information they want to need.
What I can talk about is that the plans we have outlined in the context of the wider developments represent the fact that we remain committed and focused on how we raise student achievement. That is why I have also indicated that I am going to be writing to all affected communities setting out specific timelines for engagement and consultation.
That process will develop, and we will work our way through that process, having conversations with schools, and ensuring that the fuller picture that schools themselves tell about themselves is also available as the broader context unfolds.
What we do know is that we will be in a position soon to give an outcome in order to promote a consistent growth of understanding and to raise learner achievement across the board.
That’s not on the table today. Today we are focusing on being passionate about how we develop methodologies that add to learning outcomes, and being engaged in engaging with sector groups to advance the process in order to contribute better outcomes for students.
I remain committed to focusing on looking at how we can better achieve a consistent level of achievement at all levels of achievement.