Is IES on the ropes?

This is the briefest of postings done on the slightest of evidence, but is IES on the ropes?

It seemed to me the beating of drums about clusters stopped some weeks ago – an eerie silence followed.

What could it mean?

I asked some questions – nothing definite, but some schools said there had been a delay in officially registering their COL or COS or whatever.

Then there was the suspending of the principal at Rangiora High School to get at the school’s Trust funds.

However, my source in the ministry knew nothing about it, so that’s one strike against my suspicions.

Then a strange media release from Iain Taylor and NZPF:

‘The latest report addressing low performing students in OECD countries, including New Zealand, suggests innovative answers that are nothing like the out-dated standardised solutions such as national standards, charter schools and IES policies,’ said Iain Taylor, President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF).

‘The OECD report suggests improving access to early childhood programmes for everyone; helping struggling kids early; providing a nurturing school environment; supporting high morale of teachers; teachers having high expectations of kids; ensuring equitably distributed resources and giving schools more freedom to decide what to teach and how to assess students’ progress.’

What can I say?

Is Iain being a stalking horse for the ministry? Frankly, I hope so.

Notice the return to IES after COS and COLS; it’s back to the beginning.

The idea came from John Hattie and the Treasury; is it now being returned to them?

I don’t really believe Iain would have slammed IES off his own hat; but if it came from the executive and members we would have known about it – hence my ministry stalking horse suggestion.

There is something odd but rather excellent about the media release, it quite rightly calls ‘national standards, charter schools policies’…  ‘out-dated standardised solutions’ – but IES policies don’t qualify for that description. There have been insufficient IES-type policies to allow them to be standardised enough to be out-dated; anyway our IES policies are nothing like the other ones, they are a lunacy we dreamed up more-or-less for ourselves. Iain knows all this and is slipping it in with the others, I suspect, for a specific reason. There is something going on here.

(By the way, Iain and NZPF should be praised for their part in the 30 rural advisers to be appointed to help that sector – a truly humane and educationally helpful policy. As well, we can now be full of hope for a strong campaign against ‘out-dated standardised’ national standards; and another one to allow teachers and schools to be freer to make curriculum decisions – accompanied, of course, by a severe clipping of the review office’s wings.)

But whatever, good news.

If the ministry is backing off in the sense of: well no IES as you were expecting, but a little bit of money for you to play around with – great.

If it is Iain and NZPF seeing the light – well boys and girls go for it.

An urgent national meeting would be needed to hammer things out. And all hail to Iain.

Fingers crossed or, is it just a wish upon a star?

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8 Responses to Is IES on the ropes?

  1. Roger Young says:

    When something sounds too good to be true it probably is…. But please, please let what you’ve said be true., It would be huge boost to a what has become a very hammered education system.

  2. Melulater says:

    That OECD report sounds vaguely familiar… maybe somewhat similar to what teachers have said for years…

  3. Kelly-Ned says:

    I have recently been spectator to different parts of the CoL process. The first group has submitted their plan to Hekia for approval. In light of what I observed at that meeting I made the following comment to the second group who were just beginning the discussions and were still talking about things that really matter.

    “Small problem folks – unless you focus on Lit/Num Hekia will not sign any plan off. Plain and simple. I know you are all right – but she makes the rules. My experience sitting in on another CoL indicated that you even have to have the right set of numbers and percentages. It is definitely not a democracy or focused upon meeting the real needs.”

    And that is pretty much where CoLs are at. Keep Hekia happy and you get the cash.
    I most sincerely hope that Kelvin is right and they are a dying idea. If we could get our teeth into the real issues I would probably join one of the two forming up around me. However I just don’t have the time or energy to waste on rubbish ideas.

  4. Kelly-Ned says:

    Another thought occurs to me.
    I have just read Elwyn Richardson’s ‘In the Early World’ and loved it. Then read Margaret MacDonald’s review of his work. I just can’t get away from the idea that Elwyn was right about how to approach learning/teaching. It is how we should all be moving.
    I wish I had met him or seen him operating. i have yet to watch the DVD.
    If you are looking for strong alternatives to the government’s strategies for killing learning there aren’t too many better places to start – NZCER have the books and DVD.
    Then if you are still thirsty get a hold of Sylvia Ashton Warner’s work.
    Let’s start a revolution with NZ originated teaching practice.
    Kia kaha one and all.

  5. Kelvin says:

    Bruce Hammonds has done brilliant work on Elwyn over decades; and all the Attacks! are based on the holistic, the same philosophy – my idea is to subvert the prevailing education regime using the holistic curriculum. The response has been very good. The difficulty lies at the principal level, where so many principals have been rewarded like Pavlov’s dog for enforcing the most terrible of education ideas. In some ways Kelly-Ned we could be heading into an education Dark Age.

  6. John Carrodus says:

    A week ago I attempted to contact 10 principals I know.over several days.In my first attempt for each principal, eight were at IES meetings in other schools having meetings about meetings.Take from this what you will. Personally I think it is a tragic farce and can not continue- surely?

  7. PJ says:

    I hope your instincts are right Kelvin and the communities of finance are heading for the scrap heap. Collaboration, great! Indoctrination of Neo-Lib bureaucracy not! COLs and COSs not getting much traction in the Naki and we’ve been told, by HP herself, that we are being naughty.
    I also hope Iain Taylor is the goods, as he appears to be, and that he is taking on this negativity.

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