Celebrating Excellence in Education

  • Brian Donnelly
Associate Minister of Education

Celebrations in Wellington today showed the excellent work being done in schools around the country every day, according to Associate Education Minister Brian Donnelly.

"I know that there are thousands of schools and teachers all around this country who do fantastic things everyday in the face of quite difficult problems."

"Early this morning I helping launch the Goodman Fielder School of the Year award at Porirua School. This competition is looking for the best schools in the country, who will get some generous prizes and, most deservedly, public recognition for their excellence."

"Then I went on to the prizegiving at He Huarahi Tamariki in Cannons Creek, which is a school especially for teenage parents. Some 600 girls leave school every year after having a baby. This school and its teachers are doing wonderful things with the young people there, and are giving them a second chance - in some cases, a first chance - at a secondary education."

"Later, I presented Excellence in Teaching Awards to the 20 regional winners in Wellington."

"I know that these 20 teachers represent many other excellent teachers; teachers who could be in any school in New Zealand, doing wonderful work every day with the children there."

Mr. Donnelly said he appreciated that the media often support 'good news' initiatives such as these and they normally give them pretty good coverage.

"However, I know that the media's news values mean that they generally concentrate on the novel, the unexpected, the elite, the 'squeaky wheel', conflict and the negative or 'bad' things that happen."

"As a general rule they aren't interested in people who do their job brilliantly. Some even say that the remarkable (i.e. excellent work) is unremarkable. But they are interested in people who do their job badly - the failures."

"I suppose that's fair enough within the media's narrow, self-defined notion of what constitutes 'news'. But when it happens to education, it actually undermines people's confidence in the education their children are getting."

"Fortunately, people keep doing great things in schools, despite the publicity."