Foreword Minister of Education
Education is a major contributor to growing both our social and economic capital. International indicators show that our education system performs strongly for many, but not for all. As we are beginning to pull out of a worldwide economic downturn, our Government is focused on making the most of that recovery.
This will require lifting achievement across the education system and, in particular, addressing system failure of learners who are Māori, Pasifika, have special education needs, and/or are from low socio-economic backgrounds.
Our Government has announced the next phase in the public sector reform programme, focusing on reducing costs and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of government expenditure. The Ministry of Education will lead three of the 10 new target areas over the next five years. These include increasing participation of vulnerable children in early childhood education, increasing the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 or an equivalent qualification, and increasing the proportion of 25- to 34-year-olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees (level 4 or above on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework).
There will be an unrelenting focus on lifting achievement especially for our priority groups, and I fully expect that together with the sector we will meet all the targets set in government plans, including Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success, the Pasifika Education Plan and Success for All – Every School, Every Child. Our progress will be monitored through regular reports to Cabinet.
Our task, and the purpose of our education system, is to equip our learners with skills that allow them to succeed in the 21st century, with all the opportunities and challenges that presents. Our strategy is to focus on teaching and learning quality, reliable and meaningful information, transparent accountabilities and appropriate learning environments and infrastructure.
Government wants to ensure that more new entrants enter school having participated in early childhood education. We intend to maintain the diversity of early childhood education services that are available, while raising the quality of early childhood education services across the board. Parents and whānau need to know their children are being educated and cared for in a high-quality environment.
Quality teaching is the strongest lever available to transform primary and secondary education and deliver improved outcomes for all learners. The Government wants to improve the quality of teaching in our schools, building on existing good practice, and rewarding high-quality teaching with better career pathways that support teachers in the classroom.
Excellent professional leadership has the second-biggest effect on improving learning outcomes and so we are investing in strengthening principalship from selection through to induction and in-role mentoring and support.
The Government will support improved school infrastructure and new models of schools that respond to learner needs, including piloting the implementation of a New Zealand model of charter school. The roll-out of ultra-fast broadband and the development of the Network for Learning will provide access to a reliable and affordable e-platform.
We are focused on increasing opportunities for young New Zealanders through the Youth Guarantee, which is about learner-centred environments, whether that is in a school, in tertiary education or in the workplace. Together with my colleagues, I will be working to ensure smooth transitions for young people out of secondary education into tertiary education or the workplace.
I am satisfied that the information on future operating intentions provided by my department in this Statement of Intent and in the Information Supporting the Estimates is in accordance with sections 38, 40 and 41 of the Public Finance Act 1989 and is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of the Government.
Hon Hekia Parata
Minister of Education