What is an ed­u­ca­tion hub?

The Dominion Post - - News -

‘‘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

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