Do it for the kids

Ministry of Education

The extent of activities associated with operating schools, kura and early childhood education services can be time consuming and detract our education leaders from focusing on their educational priorities. The outcome we are seeking is more time for our education leaders to focus teaching and learning positively shaping the future of New Zealand.

Work is being done by the Ministry of Education and the sector to deliver efficiencies for schools/kura and early childhood providers who work together as a ‘Community of Learning’. 

This opportunity is about exploring ways to support the administration and the day-to-day operational activities of schools/kura and early childhood providers with ICT, Property, Human Resources, Finance and Business Support Services.

Julie’s experience

Julie is the Principal of a school with 422 students. Last week she spent most of her time managing administrative and operational issues, including:

  • financial planning, budget management and sign off on purchasing requests from her staff
  • recruiting a new teacher and managing the contractual aspects their employment
  • dealing with staff development and a performance issue
  • meetings with print companies as the school print contract is reaching expiry
  • reviewing the school policy and procedures on student safety and well-being
  • meeting with Child Youth and Family about a concern with a student’s home situation
  • managing relationships with parents via email and phone calls
  • securing funding and support for a student  with special needs
  • discussing plans for a new classroom and meeting with potential project managers
  • meeting with other Principals in her community about the potential of a shared cultural programme of events, and
  • drafting a report for the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting.

Julie’s school is part of a Community of Learning with nine other schools in the area. They are working together to achieve their shared goals to improve educational outcomes for their students, but they are all experiencing the same challenges with administration activities and finding more time to focus on raising achievement.

Recently they were all trying to employ the same person to teach music at their school part-time. The person had plenty of capacity to work at all schools, but each school had to do their own recruitment, police vetting and on-boarding.

  • Schools and Boards of Trustees have to manage administration and operational aspects for their schools in isolation. That’s a lot of duplication of effort and missed opportunities in terms of saving time and money that could be better spent on teaching and learning.
  • Communities of Learning | Kāhui Ako (CoL) represent a fundamental change in the way education providers interact – moving from competition to collaboration – and present an opportunity for shared practices, systems, tools, information and data.
  • Many schools are in the early stages of establishment and are focused on forming and setting their achievement challenges. As they move into the next phase they are more likely to be ready to explore the potential opportunities in working together.

Supporting information:

Why is this the right time?

Investing in Educational Success (IES) is a major Government initiative designed to help further lift student achievement in New Zealand which has the mandate and support to drive cooperation and collaboration between schools for the benefit of our children and young people. It focuses on raising teaching quality and enabling schools to work together to share teaching and leadership resources.

Communities of Learning are one of the key initiatives of IES and is the most significant change to the shape of the education system since the introduction of the Education Act 1989. This shift is intended to recognise the pathway of a child through their education journey, putting this at the centre of system design.

As a result, the education sector is on the verge of exploring new a new business model that creates opportunities for private providers and partnerships. A significant amount of research is being done that will support the team working on this opportunity.

What does success look like

A successful solution supports Communities of Learning to work collaboratively and maximise their collective resources across their community. It will reduce administrative burden, be easy to access and deliver efficiencies and/or improvements in quality and consistency of products or services.

A successful solution will give our education leaders more capacity to focus on leading, teaching and learning.

A solution to this problem would:

  • Provide options for private and public partnerships to support models of bundled services.