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  • Writer's pictureLiam Rutherford

Collective Matters #2

Kia ora,

Welcome back to Collective Matters.  

What have we started here?  We are delighted with the interest that the sector is showing in the work of AEC.  We want to carry on growing to build our ability to have an impact on the policy that drives public education (starting at early childhood) here in Aotearoa.   

Thanks for the feedback people have sent through around our core themes.  We will continue to tweak them as feedback comes in.

  • Te Tiriti needs to be central in developing education policy that will work in Aotearoa.

  • A one-size-fits-all all model doesn't work in education, never has.

  • The profession should be leading discussions, assessing research and its impact on learning around curriculum, leadership and pedagogy, not politicians.

  • The role of politicians should be to ensure that education has the investment needed to develop the workforce.

  • We cannot ignore the effect of inequity and poverty when forming education policy.

Our ambition is to be a collective that looks to set the agenda and  be positive about the ideas that we need to take us forward.  But we have to say, that is challenging given the barrage of reform.   In the last 30 days, we have seen a number of concerning moves from the government.

Deep public sector cuts have been made across the board, specifically in education.  The idea that this won't affect frontline services is weak at best.  It will see people working on the front-line services without support and bogged down in administration.

In curriculum, we have seen significant cuts to curriculum staff employed by the MOE at the same time the MOE are bringing in contractors for curriculum work. Alongside this they have mandated the use of structured literacy, which can only be seen as a direct attack against the professionalism of teachers and principals.  We should avoid getting trapped into a debate about the value of structured literacy and phonics in children learning to read, as it takes us away from the key issues here:

  • Education is littered with people trying to claim they have a silver bullet to any issue.  These have never worked, however building teacher capacity with a range of skills and the professional autonomy to make decisions based on the needs of their children will work.

  • We have to ask the question ‘who benefits?’ from a programmatic approach to teaching.  Tightly controlled curriculum programmes are vehicles for privatisation.  Some of the biggest advocates for structured literacy are set to benefit directly through mass purchasing of their resources.


ERO released a report looking at the preparedness of teachers coming out of initial teacher education.  The report calls for sweeping changes, however the Council of Deans of Education have cautioned against huge changes based on a really small set of responses.  While we all agree that initial teacher education needs changes we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. 

And then we had the pre budget announcement around Charter Schools.  While the announcement has been signaled, the timeline suggested that it will need to go through parliament under urgency which then  limits any  chance for the public to have their say.  The model looks to be straight out of the UK with their academy model.  The government is up front that this is about bringing in bulk funding and limiting the role of unions.  Check out this piece on The Panel with Claire Amos and John O’Neill.  Claire highlights well the split views in this government where public schools are under much tighter direction around banning phones and mandating an hour of reading, writing, and mathematics.  Yet for Charter Schools none of this, including the mandate for structured literacy,  would apply.   

In this last month we have welcomed Cathy Wylie, Sarah Aiono, and Raewyn Eden as collective members.  If you are wanting to get off the fence and get involved then please reach out about becoming a collective member.

We need to hear from you:

What are you seeing on the ground?

How do you see AEC being most effective?

How you can help

We are wanting to work alongside people to create content for the blog.  You do not need to agree with everything the Collective has said.  But we do want to create a place for wide reaching professional discussion.  You can see more info here.

Become a collective member.  Be listed on our website as a collective member and help build this movement.

We cannot keep up with the interest that has been pouring in.  Support us financially to employ administration support. 


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Here is the first of our monthly newsletters. Kia ora, Welcome to the first edition of Collective Matters. Firstly, thank you so much for the support and interest in our kaupapa over the last few week


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