Bill clears the way for education changes

The new Government has taken further steps to restore democracy in and strengthen our public education system with the introduction of legislation changes today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says.   

“The Education Amendment Bill restores guaranteed places for staff and student representatives on Tertiary Education Institution councils. This means that all universities, polytechnics and wānanga will be required to have staff and student representatives as full members of their councils.

“These changes recognise the important perspective staff and students bring to the governance of our tertiary institutions.

 “The Bill also ends the previous government’s failed national standards and charter schools experiments.  

 “Both National Standards and charter schools were driven by ideology rather than evidence. Both were rejected by the vast majority of the education sector. The Government’s strong view is that there is no place for them in the New Zealand education system.

 “Removing National Standards frees up schools to focus more on progress in subjects wider than just literacy and numeracy, to better prepare students for school and life.

 “The Bill repeals legislation that allows for future charter schools.

 “It also includes provision for existing charter schools to operate under their contracts while the Ministry discusses possible options, including in the state system, on a case-by-case basis.

 “My preferred option is to explore early termination of contracts by mutual agreement.   Operators wanting to be involved in education can apply to me to establish another form of school, such as a designated character school. As part of this process, applications would need to meet the relevant requirements.

 “If however, early termination is not agreed by both parties, I am reserving my right to issue a notice of ‘termination for convenience’, under charter schools’ existing contracts, by the middle of May 2018. This would take effect at the end of the school year.” 

The Bill also:

  • Adds further protections to the fees-free tertiary education policy by introducing an offence for those who make a false representation about their eligibility for this policy, and
  • Changes the timeframe for school boards to develop their strategic plans to three years from four. 

 Cabinet papers providing advice on the Education Amendment Bill and the charter school removal process can be found at

 The Bill is here: