Hekia Parata

Online learning will supplement and complement what traditional schools offer

The fear mongering in the press releases from the Green party and the PPTA have been put to rest by Hekia Parata. A recent speech in Parliament made it very clear that online learning will not be replacing traditional schooling. Instead, as I had predicted in my post this week it will complement traditional education. While she did say ” in whole or in part ” that is likely a reference to it replacing the current correspondence school model.

Read more »

Schools doing checks to get around crim-protecting NZEI

Education Minister Hekia Parata says there are more checks in place now than when Robert Burrett was able to move from school to school, and the rules for teachers could now be extended to other staff in schools, including caretakers and bus drivers.

Fifteen years ago, Stephen Parry was Board Chair at Te Kuiti’s Pukenui School.

They tried firing Robert Burrett as Deputy Principal after claims of incompetence and drinking on the job.

But the NZEI union defended Burrett, who finally left the school following mediation and a confidential payout.

“The Union perhaps needs to ask itself why — if they knew what they did back in 2001 in terms of his inability or inappropriateness to teach — he was allowed to continue on in that role,” says Mr Parry.

While there was no evidence of inappropriate contact with children, he says the union was left in no doubt that Burrett was not fit to continue teaching.

The union is complicit in the harming of every victim by that piece of trash.   Read more »

And so the cover-up begins

Hekia Parata is handing the opposition a nice little cover-up scandal to beat the government with by refusing to have an inquiry into who was responsible for allowing child rapist Robert Burrett to continue to be near children despite years of alarm and warnings.

Minister Hekia Parata says there are no plans for an inquiry into how the Ministry of Education handled information about child rapist Robert Burrett, despite mounting pressure from the Opposition.

The former bus driver and school caretaker was investigated for making sexual comments two years before his arrest.

Burrett raped and sexually assaulted 12 school girls, some disabled and others as young as five years old.

The question is whether the Ministry of Education missed the warning signs.

An investigation into Burrett began in 2013 after he’d made inappropriate comments to a disabled schoolgirl.

Opposition MPs want an independent ministerial inquiry.   Read more »

Blunt decile system to get some tuning

otahuhu-Ghetto-School

Funding schools based on students’ individual risk of underachievement is one of the options on the table as the government considers a shake-up of the decile system.

The Ministry of Education is considering making use of government-wide data about every child to allocate extra funding to those schools with students who are deemed to be at risk, the NZ Herald reports.

Schools would get more money for students who had at least one of four risk factors: a parent who had been to prison, if they or a sibling had suffered child abuse, if their family had relied on a benefit for a prolonged period, or if the child’s mother had no formal education.

The proposal is reportedly in its preliminary stages. Read more »

Harman on Hekia

Her CV includes a stint at Harvard after her master’s degree at Waikato.

Since the 1990s she has moved in and out of the public service and consultancy and with her marriage to Local Government Commission chair Sir Wira Gardiner, whose CV is even more heavyweight, she is the ultimate capital city insider.

Yet ask her whether she would one day like to be Foreign Minister and she demurs.

She says that when she decided to run for Parliament after she re-joined the National Party after her very public split with them over Don Brash’s Orewa comments about the Treaty of Waitangi she did so because she wanted to be Education Minister.

“I would be quite keen in being an associate finance Minister because that’s what effects change,” she says.

“But I’m very happy in my role.”

This answer says two things about Parata.

First it displays her caution when she is on the record or in public. In private she is an exuberant and engaging politician with a personality as big as her brain.

But perhaps because of the controversies she found herself in once she made it to Parliament and the Ministry — problems with cars, her sister’s senior position in the Minister of Education, problems at the Ministry with novopay and other matters and rumours of tensions in her office — these days she seems very careful with the face that she presents to the public.

But the other part of her desire to remain education minister reflects what her genuine passion for the job is quite clearly.

There aren’t many Ministers who can be convincing when they say they have got their ideal job.

What she is doing in education now reflects what is slowly becoming a radical overhaul of the sector; perhaps the most radical since the Picot Report and Tomorrow’s Schools in 1989.

Later this year she will pilot through Parliament a revised Education Act which will encapsulate a lot of her thinking about education.

Read more »

Little can’t trust Hipkins if he’s going to do all the education stuff himself

Andrew Little is overriding many spokespeople and is especially interfering in Chris Hipkins’ portfolio areas.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Labour leader Andrew Little have had a playground spat over the impending closure of one of Christchurch’s schools.

The squabble arose as the Education Minister opened two new primary schools.

Rawhiti School is the culmination of a merger of three damaged eastern suburb’s primaries into one super school.

Ms Parata thinks it’s pretty exciting.

“You can see for yourselves that the community is very proud of what they’ve achieved,” she says. “There’s a lot of recognition of what they’ve had to go through to get to this time and place but they’re facing forward and very excited.”

But while cake was being cut and plaques unveiled in the east, a short drive across town there’s little cause for celebration.   Read more »

NZ First want taxpayers’ money paid back; They could start with their own $158,000

NZ First want taxpayers’ money paid back from the failed Charter school up north, ironically in the pensioner-of St-Mary’s-Bay’s electorate.

The government last year refused to consider the survival of a Northland charter school unless its owners agreed to reimburse the Crown if it was shut down, documents show.

Education Minister Hekia Parata would not confirm if the trust that owned the failed Te Pumanawa o te Wairua school had agreed to reimburse the Crown.

New Zealand First said the government must ensure it is reimbursed if any more charter schools close.

Documents obtained by the party under the Official Information Act show the government last year wanted the owners of the school at Whangaruru to agree to sell its property and chattels if it closed.

A spokesman for Ms Parata would not say how the trust responded to that request. He said only that the school’s land and other assets would be the subject of a commercial negotiation process.   Read more »

Northland charter school closes due to poor quality of management

A Charter school that was struggling has been shut down.

The Government has terminated an agreement to run a troubled charter school in Northland because its challenges were ‘too great to overcome’.

Education Minister Hekia Parata and Parliamentary Under-Secretary David Seymour made the announcement this morning to end the Nga Parirau Matauranga Charitable Trust’s contract to run the school in Whangaruru.

The trust was handed a performance notice in February last year, and a specialist audit in October showed the Board had made “significant progress” in addressing governance and management.

However, its “core business” of teaching and learning had got slightly better for some students though not for all and “not in a sustainable way”.

The Trust was told of the decision on Tuesday.   Read more »

About time, Hekia comes good on sorting out dud teachers and dud schools

Watch the howls of outrage as the teacher unions gather strength after Hekia Parata’s announcment that she is going after dud schools.

Schools with persistent student underachievement will face a broader range of action from officials, including possible closure, under a proposed revamp of education law.

Education Minister Hekia Parata also wants to reward high-performing schools with much more flexibility in how they plan, and more discretion in the use of funding.

Short of putting in a commissioner or statutory manager, there were limits on what could be done with “floundering” schools, Ms Parata said – particularly if a board or principal was not keen to co-operate.

“Schools that are struggling the most often are the least willing to be helped. They get quite defensive … Unless you strike a principal who has a relationship with the ministry, it is quite hard to go into a school. And a board can tell you to naff off because they are in charge of the school.”

Under wide-ranging proposals for an overhaul of the Education Act 1989, released today in a discussion document, the Ministry of Education could be given power to step in earlier – a “graduated response” that could avoid a more radical intervention later.   Read more »

Hipkins misses the point in his bid to increase union membership

Chris Hipkins has missed the point in his one man bid to increase union membership for the NZEI.

Labour would introduce a minimum qualification requirement for all early childhood educators, seeking to curb the rapid growth of taxpayer-subsidised nannies and au pairs.

The party’s education spokesman Chris Hipkins says early childhood funding should be focused on boosting participation in quality, free services, and ensuring value for money.

“Instead it is going on subsidies towards nannies and au pairs for those who can afford to make that choice, while children from low-income families still top the statistics for non-participation,” he said.

“Surely the Government should be just as focused on ensuring that services are delivering quality as they are on increasing bums on seats.”

Mr Hipkins’ comments follow a Herald report from the weekend which revealed rapid growth in the home-based sector, with a record number of children – 25,000 – now in government-subsidised services which don’t require educators to have have any qualifications.   Read more »