Review of PLD announced

  • Hekia Parata

Education Minister Hekia Parata today announced a review of the Ministry of Education’s Professional Learning and Development (PLD) expenditure in the schooling sector.

“The Government invests more than $70 million each year in PLD to improve the skills of our teachers and education leaders. However, the long-term level of underachievement in our education system will not be shifted by doing what we have always done,” Ms Parata says.

“The quality of teaching and education leadership has a direct impact on the educational success of our young people. If we can improve the professional learning and development provided to our teachers, then we will see a system-wide lift in student achievement.

“We are determined to raise achievement for 5 out of 5 young New Zealanders and to do that we must ensure that the PLD resource is targeted to back our teachers.

“This review provides the opportunity to ensure that our teachers are getting the right level of support for their development needs and are being challenged to raise the achievement of all students.

“It is vital that the arrangements for PLD work well for the teaching profession and schools. Reports from earlier this year from the PPTA and the Ministry identified that improvements could be made in this area and at the Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum on Raising Achievement, we agreed to establish this approach.

An Advisory Group of sector leaders drawn directly from those organisations with the most interest in the outcomes of this work is being established.

The Advisory Group will comprise:

  • New Zealand School Trustees Association
  • New Zealand Principals’ Federation
  • New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa
  • Secondary Principals’ Association New Zealand
  • Post Primary Teachers’ Association
  • Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura Kaupapa Māori
  • Te Rūnanganui o Ngā Kura a Iwi
  • New Zealand Area Schools Association
  • Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools.

Albany Senior High School Principal and member of the Ministerial Cross-Sector Forum on Raising Achievement, Barbara Cavanagh, will chair the Advisory Group.

“I’m delighted that Barbara has agreed to take on this role. She brings considerable experience from across the sector, has taught and learnt in a range of schools, and is well-regarded in the profession,” Ms Parata says. 

Professor Helen Timperley, from the University of Auckland, will provide expert advice to the Advisory Group, having developed the Best Evidence Synthesis on PLD.

The Advisory Group will:

  • establish a baseline of exemplary practice for professional learning and development utilising the Best Evidence Synthesis;
  • assess the level to which the current provision and contracting model of PLD supports the baseline of exemplary practice;
  • identify the strengths and weaknesses of the current PLD; 
  • identify how the impact of PLD on teaching quality and student achievement can be most effectively measured both in terms of progress and improvement, and summative results;
  • advise on what improvements should be made to the targeting of PLD to achieve system-wide lift in student achievement; and,
  • provide advice on how changes could be implemented to achieve the maximum impact from expenditure on professional learning and development.

The review of PLD will work alongside existing initiatives such as the $37.5 million Quality Teaching Agenda designed to raise the status of teaching as a highly valued profession in the 21st century, which will ensure high quality teaching and greater diversity amongst teachers. It also follows announcements related to the Building on Success programme.

“Since announcing the Quality Teaching Agenda as part of Budget 2013, we have established the Prime Minister’s Education Excellence Awards, we will host the International Summit on the Teaching Profession in March 2014 and hold several Education Festivals in 2014.

“The Review of PLD is one of several initiatives, including the establishment of the proposed new body EDUCANZ, that will improve the quality of teaching and leading, and develop a stronger voice, for the teaching profession.

“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. We are working hard to promote and support a profession that can provide the very best for our education system and our young people.