Jim Mora’s panel discusses the Opua School situation: also some talking points for NZPF branches

It was good to hear the Panel support so strongly the article by Kirsty Johnston.

You can hear the panellists discussing how there should be transparency by ERO about the reviewer’s behaviour. Listen from 20.00 – 25.36.


The irony is, of course, that having read the postings, we know exactly what occurred.

And those postings are there for use. The then board chair Roger Young is able to, and will, confirm the accuracy of what is written.  The teachers have been told they must say no more, but when they were able to speak out, they also confirmed the accuracy of the account.

The panel raised the matter of other schools the reviewer worked in. You won’t be surprised to know I have heard of a number of weird behaviours in that respect.

However, we mustn’t be diverted from the two main points: the education review office must be made truly accountable; and it should be restructured to allow a variety of pedagogical expression in pursuit of the achievement of shared main aims.

Where is NZEI in all this? Where is the NZPF executive? Where are the NZPF branches? (Most are social clubs cum propaganda platforms for the education bureaucracies and technology merchants.) Where is the Labour education spokesperson?

The following are some talking points that NZPF branches might use to make themselves more relevant (please no more visits to Singapore – better go to Hawaii and enjoy the surf):

  1. From within the review office I have been told that Iona Holsted has fired up her reviewers in crusade-terms and demanded they go into schools and sort them out. (I have no doubt that our Opua reviewer, given the extremity of her behaviour, beyond anything displayed before, was responding to that.) As a result of this war on schools (oh yes it is Iona), a hateful phenomenon is being reported to me: reviewers are proceeding to schools full of rage, only to be discomforted on entry by powhiri which they resent because they want to sustain the rage – stony faces from the reviewers, sulkiness, and even critical comments about the powhiri follow.
  2. In relation to the Community of Schools concept, it is interesting to find out that once a cluster of schools has shown interest, the MOE asks ERO to scrutinise all ERO reports for the schools in the cluster and compile what ERO would see as common goals for the ‘cluster’. These are then given to the MOE who no doubt will use them when negotiating the ‘support package’ for the cluster. ERO is also gearing up for ‘cluster reviews’.
  3. The NZEI has capitulated on the COS contract bargaining due to reported total intransigence from the MOE negotiators. The negotiations, it has to be acknowledged, were seriously undermined by the 200 schools that declared an interest in the concept but we gave the teacher organisations our trust and they have let us down.  What the NZEI is presenting for voting represents a victory for the minister. As usual you were given the ‘you better accept it or Hekia will legislate it in anyway’ line from the NZEI national executive. Another vote should be demanded.
  4. This following is from one of my sources in the ministry: I thought you might be interested, my source says, in the following from Peter Hughes. It is interesting, he continues, that the PLD report has taken two years to get to government for consideration. In the second paragraph you will note the implication of some strong-arm tactics to ensure schools toe the line:

As you may know, we are making changes to Professional Learning and Development (PLD). In 2013, the government set up the PLD Advisory Group to provide advice on a new design for PLD. The report they developed and the government’s response to it is currently being considered. In the meantime, we’re looking to ensure that there is continuity of the current PLD services provided to the teaching profession. We are planning to renew contracts with our current PLD providers to the end of 2016. Once decisions are made by government, we will let you know more about the changes that will be made to PLD.

 The process for schools applying for PLD will work differently for 2016. Previously, schools have applied for PLD funding from a list of available provision areas. For 2016, we will contact schools directly to discuss options for accessing appropriate support to PLD. In prioritising PLD for 2016, we will be seeking to support Communities of Schools with their achievement challenges, schools and kura in regional areas facing significant achievement challenges, and schools/kura with a high number of students achieving below expected levels. More details about PLD and the other supports that will be available in 2016 and how to access them will be provided in the next Bulletin. In the meantime if you have any questions, please email PLD.2016@education.govt.nz 

We are going into an even more hellish period, where is the leadership?

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4 Responses to Jim Mora’s panel discusses the Opua School situation: also some talking points for NZPF branches

  1. stephen dadelus says:

    Yes the NZEI’s current ‘tour’ propping up their decision to capitulate to the Ministry is an admission of defeat. What I don’t like is the ‘tour’ aspect and the voting at these meetings. Members need to go away and think where they really stand. When it suits NZEI they can drop a survey on schools at ease so why not canvas principal and teacher members’ decisions the same way with a proper nation wide vote. I think the negotiating team send their foot soldiers out to pump up support for the decision already made… “its this or nothing” And that is precisely the message at the present time. You are right to ask Kelvin, where is our leadership?

  2. Vern Stevens says:

    Totally agree Kelvin, where is our leadership? It is time to make the stand, that should have been made at the thin edge of the wedge, which was the introduction of National Standards.Much water has passed under the bridge since then and plenty more is to come. Labour, in fact any opposition party are silent about these goings on, our teacher organisations just want to compromise, it is bloody scary.

    • Allan Alach here:

      I agree, Vern, that the time to take a stand was way back when national standards were introduced. Sadly that didn’t happen and those of us who did speak out were isolated and got clobbered as a result. Where was everybody? It’s too late now for principals to start telling parents about the problems with national standards, which is now the case at my grandsons’ school. Where was that principal in 2011? I didn’t hear her voice then, nor did I have her support. If all schools (BOTs, principals and teachers) had lain down on the tracks then this train could have been derailed. The second paragraph from Peter Hughes, quoted in Kelvin’s article, clearly reveals that there is far worse to come. The appeasement policy is doomed to fail as it allows for the idealogues to continue unopposed.

      • Vern Stevens says:

        Absolutely Allan. My BOT and I pushed the envelope until we were threatened with Statutory Intervention, only then did we buckle along with 5 other Northland schools. We are still proud of that stand, but because of a lack of commitment from colleagues it went nowhere.

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