Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed

News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.

“Teachers throughout New Zealand will be pleased to hear the Ministry of Education is engaging with the profession on issues like increasing collaboration, improving student transitions and developing better career pathways.

“If the Government had taken this approach in the first place, there probably wouldn’t have been such strong opposition to their Investing in Educational Success (IES) plan.

“The NZEI should be congratulated for holding out for a better deal. They made it clear from the outset they wanted any extra money invested in a way that would actually improve student achievement. Sending the IES programme back to the drawing board suggests they might actually achieve that.

“It’s particularly good to see the definition of educational success has been widened beyond narrow national standards targets to embrace the whole curriculum. A more comprehensive approach based on evidence and research is now going to be possible.

“Nobody has ever argued there isn’t room to improve teaching in New Zealand. But a top-down, managerialist model based on ideology rather than sound research and evidence was never going to deliver that.

“We will watch the progress of the working groups closely, and if they produce something workable that will actually make a difference, then we will support it,” Chris Hipkins says.