Thirty years ago, the Tomorrow’s Schools reforms changed New Zealand’s schooling system, creating a system intended to better engage parents, whānau and communities with their local schools.
While the current system has strengths, it is inadequately serving some of our learners, in particular Māori, Pacific, people with disabilities and/or learning needs and those from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Now, New Zealand has the opportunity to reset the education system with a greater level of resource and expertise at the front line where it is needed.
This reset is significant. Changes will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.
During the Kōrero Mātauranga | Education Conversation, in our Pacific fono, and in discussions on Tomorrow’s Schools, many Pacific teachers, learners, parents, families and board members told us that education should develop practical life skills, critical thinking, and a strong sense of identity and culture in Pacific learners.
Pacific participants also noted that racism, low educator expectations, bias and bullying were negatively impacting on Pacific learners’ success and wellbeing, and that Pacific languages, practices and histories need incorporating into the education system.
The Government acknowledges that this is a significant change to further strengthen the education system. Changes related to governance and management of schools need to work in a complex system that also includes early learning and tertiary education. They will require ongoing investment of time and resource, and will need to be managed in a coherent and connected way over the next ten years.
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.