Canty educators tick Govt plans

JODY O'CALLAGHAN
Last updated 08:40 24/01/2014

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Top-tier changes to the New Zealand education system will help attract experienced educators to poorer performing schools, the Canterbury Primary Principals' Association says.

However, it believes the Government's new structures simplify underlying problems.

Association president Rob Callaghan said he was "slightly cynical" about the pre-election promises, and thought National would have more of a battle within Canterbury voters after its closures and mergers.

"There needs to be consideration that not all is because education standards are slipping, but also needs to be consideration of increasing child poverty. The gap is getting wider," he said.

Canterbury Westland Secondary Principals' Association chairman Neil Wilkinson said he was excited about the proposals.

"It's great that they're recognising that education is a way to take New Zealand forward," he said. "Keeping the top teachers in the classrooms rather than going to management is critical."

How the top principals were decided would be an "interesting exercise", since each faced different challenges and school cultures.

"The concept is great, but the detail is going to require a bit of work," Wilkinson said.

Canterbury University College of Education Pro-Vice Chancellor Gail Gillon said the Government had accurately identified one of the key challenges in the schooling system.

The lead roles were a "very positive step in the right direction".

She also supported the announcement of additional research in effective teaching practices.

"Practice-based research is critically important in advancing our knowledge base in teaching and will help ensure new innovative practices and targeted interventions are rigorously developed," Gillon said.

Letitia Fickel, the college's head of teacher education, said having lead and expert teachers would ensure high quality teaching experiences for students on placements in schools, and create clear career pathways for graduates.

"We look forward to supporting the professional development of teachers and principals in their ongoing professional learning in these newly-created leadership positions," she said.

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- The Press

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