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The Government’s reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system is an opportunity to create meaningful change for ākonga Māori and their whānau.

Last year through Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, Māori teachers, parents, ākonga, whānau, hapū, and iwi told us what they thought was most important to Māori in education.

The Government has already started to give effect to the issues raised by iwi and Māori through the wider Education Work Programme and the reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system.

Together these changes represent a major reform of our education system. They require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.

Strengthening Māori Agency and Authority

Māori said they want to exercise more agency and authority over the education of Māori learners. A number of steps have been taken to give practical effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi to support Māori rangatiratanga and for the Government to carry out its kāwanatanga role appropriately.

Schools will be asked to ensure that their plans, policies, and local curriculum reflect local tikanga, mātauranga Māori and te ao Māori; and focus on achieving equitable outcomes for Māori students.

There will be greater engagement by Māori/iwi in school governance. The Ministry of Education will develop advice about how this can be achieved by June 2020.

The system is being held to account to deliver more, and better, for Māori. The Ministers of Education and Māori-Crown Relations will specify what education agencies must do to give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi and support better outcomes for Māori learners.

Identity, Language and Culture

Ākonga Māori do best when they can see themselves and their identity, language and culture in the daily practices of our education system.

Working with Māori, the Ministry of Education will develop a plan to strengthen the Māori medium pathway. The Ministry will provide advice to Government on how it will engage Māori to support this work.

The development of a Māori Medium Network Plan for the next decade has been commissioned as well as an Education Workforce Strategy to ensure teacher supply for the Māori medium pathway.

All schools are being asked to take reasonable steps to make available instruction in tikanga Māori and te reo Māori. Practical steps are in place to support this, including Te Ahu o te Reo Māori, an initiative that supports teachers to develop their Māori language skills and integrate these into their classroom practice.

Wellbeing and Belonging

Māori have expressed considerable concern about the impact of racism and unconscious bias on education outcomes and a sense of belonging.

The Government has asked Boards of Trustees to take all reasonable steps to eliminate racism, stigma, bullying and discrimination within their schools. Ākonga Māori and their whānau will have access to free local complaints and dispute resolution panels for serious disputes with a school.

The Government is also supporting schools and communities to address racism and unconscious bias with practical initiatives like Te Hurihanganui and through the Teaching Council’s Give Nothing to Racism.

What’s next?

These changes represent a major reform of our education system.

They will take time to implement and embed and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next 10 years. A framework has been set to support better outcomes for ākonga Māori and their whānau and the Government will continue work to realise the reforms.

A detailed timeline can be found in Appendix 1 of the Government’s position document, Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of the Tomorrow’s Schools system.

Full report: Supporting all schools to succeed: Reform of Tomorrow’s Schools system [PDF 2MB]

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