Week 5 - August 22 - 25
Teachers Union Meeting: Friday 9 September, 1:30 - 3pm
NZEI Te Riu Roa and PPTA are calling joint whole-of-sector paid union meetings for teachers to get informed about the proposals and decide on their next steps.
While school officially remains open all students are encouraged to be picked up from 1pm onwards. There will only be a skeleton staff available to supervise students in the hall or library for the last hour after lunchtime on that Friday. A notice will come home so you can let us know what time suits you for pickup that day.
Global Budget - School funding proposed directions for change by Government
There are seven key components that lie at the heart of the proposed directions that the Education Minister has been discussing with a sector group (with representation from the Secondary Principals' Association, Principals' Federation, School Trustees, Kindergartens NZ, PPTA & NZEI (secondary and primary teachers unions) and the Early Childhood Council. The proposals are:
Both the secondary and the primary unions, with support from the primary, secondary and intermediate principal groups have united in their opposition to the proposal point number 4. This global budget proposal would let schools trade funding for teachers for money they could then spend on other things.
Principals Federation president Iain Taylor, who is one of those advising the government on the review, said the federation opposed the global budget proposal because it removed guarantees around the minimum number of teachers each school would have.
"The global budget is removing the guaranteed staffing and that's the biggest bugbear from our perspective, so where are those principles of equity when a school has no guarantee of any set staffing. That's a real massive concern."
Another advisory group member, Association of Intermediate and Middle Schooling president Doug McLean, said his organisation could not see the point of the global budget because schools already had a lot of flexibility over their staffing.
"The best resource for teaching and learning is the teacher, and I wouldn't like to see teacher time traded off for other things - I think education is too important for that and global budgets could dilute the quality of teaching and learning."
Secondary Principals Association president Sandy Pasley said she could see possible disadvantages to the scheme and no benefits.
"It really isn't going to offer secondary principals any new things they can't already do and so consequently we are not jumping for joy about the global budget at all," she said.
"There are also some disadvantages that we can see and it's probably not something we are supporting at the moment."
All three principals said the proposal was a form of bulk funding.
(Note: All information, quotes and links in this post are collated from Ministry of Education; Radio New Zealand & PPTA/NZEI)
Week 4 News - August 17
The Waipahihi Teaching and Learning Environment
Over the last two weeks our teachers have had a range of opportunities for you to come in and catch up about your child's learning process, progress and achievement - as evidenced through Seesaw. This journaling of your child's learning journey, the discussion that supports this with you, and the teaching and learning structure that are school is developing, are all reflective of what the purpose of primary education is all about in the 21st Century world that our children are growing up in.
Learning cannot, and should not, look like it did when we were at school. Learning in small, isolated groups, within isolated curriculum areas does not promote the curiosity, creativity and problem solving thinking ability that our children need to be successful - not just for today but for the changing world they are growing up in.
Our preschoolers come from a 'modern learning environment' - most early childhood settings have never known any other way. Everyday they will have had significant periods of uninterrupted time with other children and with teachers. This time will have allowed opportunities to develop short and long-term, personal and group projects and inquiries that will have emerged in response to both spontaneous and planned experiences. building on children’s known modes of learning, and on what children find interesting, will go some of the way to supporting continuity for children and engagement. Below are two articles that example some of the thinking and research that supports the need for learning environments across the school setting to change.
The underlying concept of play based and discovery based learning are not just something we are delivering in the junior end of our school. The challenge for all our teaching teams is to develop what those concepts look like across the different ages and stages of learning. This is not just because its a fad but because the national curriculum framework sets the scene and the expectation for this.
Education last century was a factory. Children went in one end to be made into employees of various sorts on a conveyor belt to the other end. Henry Ford would have recognised it. It worked as well as his assembly lines. The 20th century has gone. Now cars are customised, stuffed with electronics. The image below examples the progression through the four knowledge waves that have occurred in the last 100 years of so! We are now firmly past the transition phase from the third to the fourth!
)"We are standing on the beach and the tidal wave is about to hit. No job, sector or industry is immune," says Valintine, explaining that compared with the Industrial Revolution, the change in the Technological Revolution is occurring 10 times faster, at 300 times the scale, with 3000 times the impact. (Click on the images above or below to read the full article "The future is now"
Children need to be ready for radically different 'working' environments, challenges, difficulties and variations. Our Education Minister, Hekia Parata, now calls standards 'indicators', not 'targets'. She points to the emphasis in the now cross-party-backed 2007 curriculum on competencies, characteristics and values. Children need tenacity and resilience and to be team players. American research detailed in June's Atlantic Monthly talks of 'non-cognitive skills or character strengths', including 'resilience, conscientiousness, optimism, self-control and grit' - all of which aren't captured by standardised learning!
Teachers, and schools, who can engender those capacities are the 21st-century educators needed for our children.
Week 3 news...
What are our Seesaw Learning Conferences about?
Over this week and next week our teachers have a range of times available for you to come and talk about what is happening with your child's learning journey and how we connect you with their progress and achievement (across the curriculum) through the use of their Seesaw Learning Journal. While these are two designated weeks for this to happen this dialogue with you is an ongoing process and something that we take seriously. Seesaw is one example of how we are attempting to give you a real look into the learning that happens everyday for your child.
But what is the point of primary school?
You may have noticed that (besides the use of Seesaw) that how our school talks about learning, and the structure of how we support that with our teachers, has changed somewhat from how we used to do it. This can seem confusing for parents as a lot of what we hear about school in the media, and politically, is centred around the key words of reading, writing, maths and national standards. Well, the national curriculum framework is actually a whole lot more than that. There is no set curriculum for a school to follow. Every school in the country has to take the national framework and define what that looks like at the school and classroom level, reflective of our local community and culture. National Standards are not a checklist de facto curriculum in themselves and there is no national test that any school child has to take in New Zealand while at primary school. Below is an excerpt from the national framework that indicates what learning in Years 1 - 6 must consider:
Learning in Years 1–6 (from the NZ Curriculum p. 41)
The transition from early childhood education to school is supported when the school:
The National Curriculum Framework then has a whole section that outlines the requirements for the Board of Trustees around the development of a school curriculum. Again, nothing is given as a prescription, except that each board of trustees must ensure that the school (through the principal and the staff) must provide all students with "effectively taught programmes of learning... in all learning areas... in response to the identified interests and learning needs of their students." This must also:
Reference: NZ National Curriculum Framework - pdf linked here
Week 2 News...
Seesaw mid-year learning conference booking
Online bookings open for Mid Year Seesaw based learning conferences TODAY. The mid year Learning Conferences run over the next two weeks - from Monday 8 August to Friday 19 August. Follow the link below to book your session on a day and time that suits you.
The background to Seesaw - a brief overview
Thank you to all our parents who came to the two sessions that gave the context behind the Seesaw reporting development. Below is one of the images from the presentation that I gave that gives a good summary of how the Seesaw journal tool fits with our developing collaborative teaching and learning practice that gives an appropriate level of responsibility and ownership to the learner for their learning.
Ultimately, a reporting process is meant to example the depth and breadth of the curriculum in a way that is engaging and accessible for both the learner and the parent. It should provide authentic examples of the learning process that give evidence of your child's learning progress and achievement in respect to the key areas of the curriculum framework (learning areas, values and key competencies). This allows both the learner (your child) and the teacher to celebrate and share their learning journey with you and gives you the ability to share your feedback with them in a meaningful and ongoing way.
Weekly news and views from the Principal...