New professional body for teaching and educational leadership

  • Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced proposals for the new body for educational professionals in the early learning and school sectors.

“This has been a three year process of development, drawing on international experience, with widespread consultation beginning in 2010 with the Education Workforce Advisory Group Report, and culminating in the 2013 Ministerial Advisory Group report,” Ms Parata says.

“The new body is proposed to replace the New Zealand Teachers Council and will be called the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, broadening its scope to invest in leadership as well as teaching, and ensuring that professionals in the early childhood sector are also fully embraced.

“Teaching needs a strong professional body that provides leadership to, and is owned by the profession. The new Council will support system changes to improve the quality of teaching and education leadership and will have the needs of children and young people, and the public interest, at its heart.
“We know that we must attract the best and the brightest to the profession, raise the profile of teaching and its contribution to our nation, continuously improve the quality of teaching practice, and invest in capable and inspirational leadership.  We must do this for our earliest learners through to our senior secondary school students.”

“The quality of teaching and education leadership has the biggest effect on raising achievement, and it is essential that our teachers and education leaders have the best professional body to support them in their critical roles.”

The new Council will:

  • Raise the status of the teaching profession
  • Establish a specific focus on education leadership
  • Forge a new relationship between the profession and the Government to deliver on the public interests in education
  • Make changes to the regulatory framework for teaching – including changes to the disciplinary regime
  • Lead public debate on education issues

These changes reflect the recommendations put forward in the 2012 report of the Review of the New Zealand Teacher’s Council and the 2013 report of the Ministerial Advisory Group, which led sector engagement on the proposals.

Ms Parata will introduce a Bill to make the necessary changes to the Education Act. These are expected to come into effect during 2014.

“This is a pivotal step in our education system as we provide for that independence and fully entrust our profession with its most important responsibility of delivering high quality education to all New Zealand children and young people.

“This Government has recognised the critical role of education to the life outcomes of individuals, and their ability to participate and contribute to their families, community and country.

“The quality of teaching and of education leadership has a direct impact on that educational success. Supporting a transformed professional body fit for the challenges of the 21st century is one of a number of reforms to influence the quality of teaching, leading, and learning,” Ms Parata says.

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The Ministerial Advisory Group report and the Cabinet paper are both available online here.

The decisions in the Cabinet paper set out the new mandate of the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand, which will be the subject of legislation to amend the Education Act.

The review of the New Zealand Teachers Council was instigated following recommendations from the 2010 Workforce Advisory Group’s report: A Vision for the Teaching Profession. The Government made a commitment to carry this work through in 2011.

The review began in July 2012 and took into account the findings of the Ministerial Report into the Employment of a Convicted Sex Offender in the Education Sector.

The review committee comprised Pauline Winter (chair), Dr Judith Aitken, John Morris, and Robyn Baker.  The Review Committee reported to the Minister of Education with recommendations for changes to the New Zealand Teachers Council, the regulatory framework for teaching and the disciplinary framework.

In May 2013, a Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) led consultation on proposed changes to the Teachers Council and regulation of teachers.  The group was chaired by Dr Graham Stoop and comprised eight other educational leaders: Barbara Ala’alatoa, Arihia Stirling, Irene Cooper, Lynda Reid, Nancy Bell, Patrick Walsh, Peter Simpson, and Professor Alister Jones.

The MAG reported to the Minister of Education at the end of July 2013.

The New Zealand Teachers Council was established in 2002 following the disestablishment of the Teacher Registration Board.  It currently regulates over 100,000 registered teachers across the schools and early education sectors. Most of these (70 per cent) are fully registered with the remaining 30 per cent some way towards full registration.