There are several issues to share with you in this last Principal Matters for the term. I apologise, in advance, that this panui is a little longer than usual.
Equity Index to replace Decile System - but not till at least 2021 Discussions about the decile system of equity funding, are not new. We know that deciles are a blunt instrument for applying equity funding and we know that since their introduction we have seen a gradual shift of students from lower to higher decile schools. This is largely because people have come to see the decile number as a measure of quality, which it isn’t.
NZPF welcomes the scrapping of the decile system and replacing it with an equity index form of funding for equity instead. The decile funding amounted to less than 3% of school funding, whilst comparable OECD countries are funding equity at 6-7%.
The index is intended to reflect the actual level of socio-economic disadvantage faced by children. It will consider the whole school population when assessing disadvantage, not just individual students.
Work already completed earlier on a Risk Index will be used in constructing the Equity Index but application of the equity index will be expanded to include education supports and resources such as school staffing, support for wellbeing, PLD and interventions.
Consultation on developing the Equity Index will begin soon and will be led by the Ministry. When that cycle is completed, a final recommendation will be sent to the Minister and Cabinet will discuss funding an Equity Budget, before the policy is implemented in schools.
The Ministry has released more information on this topic which you can access by clicking here.
I urge you all to participate in the consultation phase as soon as it opens, so that all potential problems can be resolved before the final version of the policy goes to Cabinet for funding. For example, how will the equity index accommodate high levels of transience when students might attend three or four different schools in a year? How will equity funding travel from school to school? You will have many more questions for which you want answers.
The NZPF executive also has many questions and as a peak body we will be participating in the consultation process at a more formal level. You are welcome to contact me with your questions and comments about this policy and I will ensure they get heard in our own consultation work group.
NZPF believes that to have any chance of successfully addressing the inequities in our school system, we will need to apply at least 6% to the equity index funding budget. That would be at least double the decile funding budget.
$150 Donation Policy You will all be aware of the $150 donation policy that the Minister announced in May 2019. But you may not be so familiar with how it will operate in practice. It is important that you are up to speed on this issue because in another month’s time you have to have completed your declaration form if you wish to opt in.
To opt into the donations scheme, Boards of Trustees from decile 1 – 7 schools have until 14 November to do so. They will have to complete the online declaration form. Click on this link for the form.
There are three other forms that you need to be familiar with too. These are:
Board Elections Earlier this year we had Board of Trustees elections. For many of you, there will have been changes including changes to your Board Chair. I want to emphasise the importance of the relationship between you and your Board Chair and encourage you all to quickly forge a strong and healthy working relationship with them.
As we look at our own NZPF helpline data and data from our Principals’ Advice & Support [legal] scheme, most major issues you encounter stem from a severance of the relationship between you and your Board Chair. Look after yourselves and your Boards by keeping communication lines open.
Early next term, we will send out a special Flyer on legal and related advice. That way you have options about how you to protect yourself.
Digital Technologies Curriculum At our recent Executive meeting we discussed the Digital Technologies & Hangarau Matihiko (DT&HM) curriculum and our readiness to deliver this new curriculum. There is a self-review tool available to assess your school’s level of DT&HM capability. Here is the link to the self-review tool.
Once you have a good idea of the professional learning required of your staff you can access services to get ready for the delivery of the DT&HM curriculum by 2020.
Principal Leadership Advisory (PLA) I am including this section to remind you that Leadership Advisors are now available to support experienced as well as beginning principals. Leadership Advisors are all principals or recently retired principals and are employed under contract to Evaluation Associates.
Back in 2015 NZPF recognised that advisory and support services for principals had all but disappeared. They were invited by our Australian colleagues to visit New South Wales to observe and learn about the advisory system that operated there. We were then able to put together a proposal to the Ministry for a principals’ advisory service for New Zealand principals. Once that was accepted and piloted, the Ministry accepted Evaluation Associates as the provider of the service and it has grown from there.
There are now 38 PLAs throughout the country supporting principals every day. PLAs work as coaches and mentors to principals. They are all experienced in many different school settings and bring professional credibility.
If you feel you want to talk through an issue or seek some advice on something, do not hesitate to call the service. You can have on-going support for up to two months if necessary. Here are the contact details.
Last week I heard a message so powerful, I want to share it with you. It goes like this:
Imagine a river. On the left bank is Te Ao Māori and on the right bank is Te Ao Pākehā. Spanning the river is a bridge called Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Mostly it is Māori on the left bank who are walking across to the right bank, but not so many on the right bank walking to the left. The question is, where do you see yourself, as a school principal, on the bridge? Are you well across the bridge? Are you a short way onto the bridge? Or are you still on the bank?
I leave you with that thought as you head off for the last break before the summer holidays.