I see that I have been misquoted by the Herald on Sunday, after an interview I gave to one of their senior journalists.
The article in question has led to a number of people calling my office to express a range of views about what it is they thought I had said.
The article suggests that the government has committed to a course of action that would involve funding schools with a particular focus on the educational outcomes achieved by their students, rather than in accordance with the existing decile model.
But I have been very clear about all of this from the very beginning of the start. Decisions that will be made have not yet been made, and what we have said is that nothing has been determined.
It is of concern that I now find myself having to provide explanations for statements that I have been making, when the explanations provided by those statements were entirely clear at the time those statements were given.
Let me explain it again, so there can be no confusion. We are undertaking a decile review, and that is the review we will be undertaking.
Once all of the data is available and once the decile review has been commenced, we will then be making decisions based on the results of that review, so that our decisions reflect the outcomes of the review, and with a view to lifting student achievement across a range of criteria, but taking into account a number of factors, including the need to review all potential factors relevant to the need to improve learning outcomes.
Again, let me reiterate that nothing has yet been decided. Nothing will be decided until decisions are ready to be made, and only when those decisions are ready to be made will we make them.
It simply isn’t true to say we have decided to do away with the existing system of funding our schools. It may be that there are better and more efficient ways of achieving the outcomes we want for our schools, but the focus must remain our kids and how we lift their achievement.
Current indications are that the existing system is not entirely satisfactory, in that those things that we want to achieve aren’t all being achieved to the standard we want them to be achieved to. And so we ask ourselves: what can we be doing better?
There are certainly challenges in terms of the ways in which we assist students to engage in activities that enhance learning outcomes. But we have to remain focused on delivering better outcomes that add value to learners, while providing appropriate tools to teachers and schools in order to manage their expectations and the expectations parents have of those schools.
What I am interested in is focusing on looking more towards what are the educational outcomes that we are trying to achieve, and how we are going to achieve them.
I’m also interested in looking at ways we can develop ways of looking at focusing on creating ways to look at implementing incentives for teachers and schools, so that learner outcomes are enhanced for those who are learning. We haven’t ruled performance pay for teachers in or out, although we may be making a decision once the determination has been made to proceed with one or other of those things, but only then in the fullness of time, and certainly not before the election, although that is to say we aren’t putting any sort of timetable around these decisions and how we implement and manage the process going forward from here.
So it is incorrect to say that the path we are focusing on looking at is a narrow one based on performance pay for teachers and incentivising performing schools, when in fact there are a number of options available to us, and those will be the options we will be looking at once we undertake the review, which we will be undertaking once we have commenced work in these matters.
So those are the things we will be focusing on achieving throughout the process we are now engaging in undertaking.
Hopefully I have now made this very clear. It is very frustrating to find oneself being misquoted, when I have been entirely clear from the very beginning of the engagement process with the media that I have been conducting that nothing has yet to be ruled in or out at this early stage of the process we are going through.