What is an education hub?
‘‘Education hubs’’ have been suggested as a solution to issues in our school system – but how would they work?
A new report has recommended replacing regional Ministry of Education offices with the hubs, which would take over most of the powers held by school boards of trustees. The Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce wants 20 hubs to take responsibility for property, employment, advisory services, professional development, and allocating Government funding – leaving schools to focus on education. The hubs would be in charge of about about 125 regionally grouped schools each.
Appointed by the education minister, the hubs would be independent, but monitored by the Ministry of Education. In short, they would be the middleman between the Government and individual schools. Meanwhile, school boards would keep responsibility for things like student achievement and community engagement. Boards would likely have a veto or final approval rights over principals – who would be appointed by their hub on a five-year contract – and could ask for control over some or all of their property funding. But that is about it.
The New Zealand School Trustees’ Association (NZSTA) was cautiously optimistic. President Lorraine Kerr liked the idea of letting school boards govern on the community’s behalf without becoming tied up in ‘‘business’’ activities that trustees were not always capable of handling.
The person behind the Tomorrow’s Schools taskforce, chairman Bali Haque, says the hubs were not ‘‘a managerial layer on top of everything’’, but a support mechanism for schools and families.
The hubs would be made up of a small number of directors appointed by the minister of education.
Half would be educators – principals, former principals and education consultants – and the rest would be iwi representatives and ‘‘businesspeople, people who understand organisational change’’, Haque said.
Some could cover large geographic areas where the population was widely dispersed. A separate national hub would service kura kaupapa Ma¯ori (Ma¯ori immersion schools).
The details of the hubs and their functions would be ironed out after consultation closes on April 7.
– Additional reporting by Katie Kenny