Unnecessary compliance flagged up for action

A taskforce has finished the first stage of identifying significant areas of compliance waste in schools – so teachers have more time to teach, and principals more time to lead schools, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today.

Teacher and principals have told the Government that freeing up administrative workload will lift job satisfaction and increase the time they can devote to actual teaching.

“The taskforce of school principals and other sector leaders came up with 200 suggestions of areas where there are opportunities to reduce waste in time and resources when complying with ‘paperwork’,” Chris Hipkins said.

“These have been whittled down to around 45 potential opportunities, and the taskforce will now work with the sector to refine and develop them further.

“The opportunities include stopping, reducing the frequency of, or changing the timing of compliance activities. They include:

  • Streamlining processes for schools in building projects and maintenance issues.
  • Developing new online services to speed up the process for schools to apply for funds and grants and to register as teachers.
  •  Making the reporting requirements for physical restraint incidents easier to comply with.

“This is a genuine and serious attempt to cut unnecessary red tape,” Chris Hipkins said.

“So far, the group has focused mainly on system-wide, centrally-imposed areas of compliance.

“During the next stage there is an opportunity for principals and Boards of Trustees to also look closely at schools’ internal practices.

“A school’s size and whether it’s rural or urban can have a huge impact on the compliance it has to deal with, so I’m giving my permission and encouragement to schools to think hard about ways to safely streamline their activities where they think it makes sense.”

Chris Hipkins said many major projects already underway will have a significant impact on the compliance workload of principals and teachers.

“For example, the abolition of National Standards reduces workload, the NCEA Review has a focus on the workload for secondary teachers, while the Tomorrow’s Schools review is addressing issues principals have in managing schools.

“We’re encouraging new ideas from across the whole sector about how we can re-examine practices to be more efficient in achieving great outcomes for schools and students,” Chris Hipkins said.