Speech: Tolley – PPTA Annual Conference

Speech – New Zealand Government

Hon Anne Tolley Minister of Education 18 October 2011 Speech PPTA Annual Conference, Brentwood Hotel, Wellington E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā hau e whā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa. Good afternoon – thank you for inviting me to …
Hon Anne Tolley
Minister of Education


18 October 2011 Speech

PPTA Annual Conference, Brentwood Hotel, Wellington

E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā hau e whā. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

Good afternoon – thank you for inviting me to speak to you today.

I just want to start by acknowledging the work of the PPTA, particularly your president Robin Duff. Robin and I have enjoyed a constructive working relationship over the last 12 months, which has given the PPTA a strong voice.

I also want to praise the entire education sector in Canterbury for the way you all responded to the devastating earthquakes.

The past year has been extremely difficult, and teachers, principals and support staff deserve credit for their attitude, courage and determination to continue in the face of adversity.

Despite the challenges, schools have made the best of the situation – and worked tirelessly to minimise the disruption to students and their learning.

Across Canterbury, teachers have had to work within the timeframes of a new school day, manage the ongoing disruption of numerous aftershocks, while providing additional support to their students. All of this at a time when their own homes and lives had been significantly disrupted.

I thank everyone for their hard work. I also thank the teachers and schools from across the country who have helped in so many ways.

It is clear the shape of education in Canterbury is going to change in the wake of the earthquakes – and significant investment is going to be needed across the education system over the medium to long term to rebuild the network.

Given the extent of the damage to land and property and the number of families who have moved away from the area, we won’t be able to put things back together exactly as they were.

But that in itself creates a good opportunity for us to deliver a unique and exciting future learning network for Canterbury.

I urge you to have a say in the consultation on the future of Canterbury – your feedback is important in helping determine the overall direction for education and how it should be delivered.

This Government is committed to the implementation of the new curriculum. I have listened carefully to the concerns that you have raised about the workload involved.

Earlier this month I announced four further support days for secondary school teachers, as you implement the new curriculum-aligned achievement standards for NCEA Levels one, two and three over the next two years.

Two teacher-only professional development days will be provided to schools in 2012, with two further teacher-only days available in 2013. These are in addition to the two professional support days which have already been announced for 2011.

This follows recommendations from a working group which I set up, involving PPTA, the Secondary Principals’ Association, NZQA and the Ministry, to address the issues around increased teacher workload as the standards continue to be phased-in.

Some of the recommendations have already been implemented by the Ministry and NZQA, but I’m pleased to announce to you all today that a change will be made in the moderation of NCEA by removing the requirement to moderate a ten per cent sample of internally assessed student work.

NZQA will reduce the number of units of student work moderated each year to about 100,000. This year 154,000 units of student work were moderated.

The sample will be divided into two. Firstly, a purposely-designed sample of student work (90,000 to 95,000 pieces of work) per year from secondary schools, with a focus on:

• Problematic standards
• New standards
• Particular subjects
• Schools needing further professional development to assess the standards

Secondly, to check national agreement rates, NZQA will institute a randomly-selected sample of student work to be submitted for moderation. These results will be used to report a national teacher/moderator agreement rate. This will be calculated on 5000 to 10,000 pieces of student work per year.

This change will see moderators continuing to check the consistency of teachers’ assessment through a national process of random sampling and public reporting of teacher/moderator agreement rates.

NZQA will implement the new arrangements for moderation in 2012.

Reducing the number of samples of student work requested from schools will contribute to a reduction in the teacher workload associated with the delivery of NCEA and increase the time available for NZQA moderators to support teachers.

We can then refocus the resources so that we can use them more strategically over a range of moderation activities.

Moderation Best Practice Workshop registration fees – currently $120 per teacher – will be waived for 2012, and another 1420 places will be made available at these workshops.

As a result, we anticipate the number of teachers attending these workshops to increase from 2180 this year to 3600 next year.

The PPTA and the NCEA Workforce Advisory Group have also sought a significant increase in the number of assessment resources available.

So, additional assessment resources in subjects such as science, technology and maths and statistics will be developed to support the new vocational pathways as part of the Youth Guarantee.

This NCEA package will have a significant impact on teacher workload. And the Government will continue to monitor these initiatives and make improvements along the way.

We are determined that every single young New Zealander has the chance to reach their potential, and we make no apology for wanting every one of our young people to do better.

So this Government has focused on doing the things that matter most to student achievement.

We’re ensuring every young person leaves school with the qualifications and skills needed for success in today’s world.

The traditional classroom is not for everyone, and we know that many students learn best through a flexible, hands-on approach.

This Government understands the need to provide learning options that better suit these students, so they stay in education and get the qualifications and skills that will set them up for life.
We are encouraging secondary schools, tertiary institutions and employers to work together in new and innovative ways.

And we’re achieving this through the Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies and Service Academies.

Recently I announced that the number of new Trades Academies is to double, keeping even more 16 and 17 year olds engaged in education and practical skills training, who would otherwise be at risk of dropping out of the system.

Budget 2011 funding of $63.1 million and some reprioritised funding will be used to increase the promised new Trades Academies from five to ten, starting as soon as possible from next year, bringing the total number of Academies to 21, remembering that eight opened this year, and another three who have been working all this year are ready to open at the start of next year.

The number of students attending Trades Academies is set to rise from over 700 to 2000 in 2012, with these young people better prepared to take up apprenticeships, enter the workplace or go on to further study.

There has been great demand from right around New Zealand to set up these new vocational skills and technology programmes for 16 and 17 year olds, from both the education sector and from students and parents.

So, the total number of 16 and 17 year olds taking part in the wider Youth Guarantee, Trades Academies and Service Academies will rise to more than 10,000 next year and 12,500 by 2014.
These young people, who have either dropped out of education or are at risk of dropping out, will now be engaged in practical skills training while earning worthwhile qualifications, free of charge, up to their 19th birthday.

Secondary schools have really got behind our Trades Academies initiative, and I want to acknowledge everyone involved in making a real difference to the lives of our young people.

I’m already getting some really positive feedback from students.

The students prefer academy learning to their classroom experiences. They like being treated as adults, the hands-on learning, getting help when they need it, and working on projects that keep them engaged.

And here’s just one example that highlights the success of the Trades Academy.

A student from a high school in my East Coast electorate says that last year he failed most of his exams, but enrolling in the Eastern Bay of Plenty Trades Academy’s automotive mechanics course this year has changed his whole outlook on life.

He says: “All schools should have something like this. We get to practice doing what we love and get the proper training, too.”

He echoes what I’ve heard from students throughout the country. It’s early days, but their attendance is good, and their school results are improving.

Next year we’ll be rolling out several new vocational pathways – the next step in ensuring these young people have a clear road to success.

Education sector and industry representatives are developing these pathways so business and industry get what they need in a school-leaver.

The initial pathways are:

• construction and infrastructure
• primary industries
• social and community services
• service industries
• manufacturing and technology
Students will have a clear route to a wide range of jobs and careers. They will know the sorts of subjects and topics they should choose, and the standards they need to achieve.

They will find huge benefit in having a course of study that is specific enough so they can gain employment in an industry, and flexible enough so they can change direction later if they need to.

Students will be able to follow these pathways through schools, tertiary organisations, trades academies or a mixture of these.

Finally, I’d like to talk a little about the other concern you’ve raised with me over the last few years.
I recently released guidelines for the search and seizure of drugs and weapons in schools, which will help support teachers and protect staff and students.

The guidelines – the first of their kind – were developed by the Ministry and external legal advisers following calls from the sector for clear advice on how to legally deal with students suspected of carrying drugs and dangerous items.

Widespread consultation took place with the education sector before the guidelines were finalised, and I thank your executive for its input.
These new guidelines should give principals and teachers more confidence to pre-empt difficult situations, and ensure that this minority of students gets the message that drugs and weapons are not acceptable in our schools.

This will allow teachers to manage any disruptions, and get on with the important job of teaching and lifting achievement.

I have also instructed the Ministry to investigate changes to legislation which will give schools even greater support in what is a complex legal area – I know we have the backing of parents who have confidence in schools to protect and safeguard their children.

In addition to these new guidelines, the Positive Behaviour for Learning plan is already seeing great results in dealing with difficult students.

$60 million is being invested in the plan, which will see more than 7000 teachers receive additional training in effective classroom management.

On top of this, staff from 400 schools are receiving training in how to promote positive behaviour and lift student engagement, while more than 15,000 parents in at-risk families are being supported to build more positive relationships with their children.

Other support for schools includes a new rapid response service following the most extreme behaviour incidents, and an Intensive Behaviour Service to target the most complex and challenging students. And I have asked your executive to consider what secondary specific measures might need to be added to this plan to further support you.

As you well know, the cost is high when young people fail to reach their potential. The Government recognises this, and is working hard to give every young New Zealander the opportunity to succeed in education and in life.

You have a vital role to play in this.

I look forward to carrying on this important work with you.

Thank you.

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