Cutting red tape for school administrators could help pupils
achieve better results, an education specialist says.
Twenty-five years since the Education Act was last reviewed,
schools were spending too much time managing properties,
health and safety, and education outside the classroom,
Darrell Latham said.
Education Minister Hekia Parata recently set up a task force
on regulations affecting school performance to investigate
regulations that may distract or hinder schools from focusing
on raising achievement for young people.
Mr Latham, an educational leadership and administration
senior lecturer at the University of Otago College of
Education, said a review of the Act was timely.
''Certainly, since 1989 the operating environment for schools
has changed considerably so there may be some regulations
that are now redundant and best removed from the Act.
''Currently, schools spend a lot of time and administration
around property management, health and safety and education
outside the classroom, so a review of many of these areas,
without compromising the safety of children, is opportune.
''The Act is an in-depth document outlining such things as
school enrolment schemes, powers of the boards of trustees
and the regulations relating to the control and management of
''The potential for changes to the Act could be
wide-reaching, but at the end of the day, the devil will be
in the detail.''
Otago Secondary Principals' Association chairman Mason
Stretch said two of the main frustrations he had heard among
school principals was about property developments and
accessing government funding.
Mr Stretch said he and his administration staff at Cromwell
College had had ''some fun'' working through the processes
and regulations for getting school development projects
''There's a number of criteria a school has to meet before a
project can go ahead.
''Even though it might be the best thing for your school, it
can be turned down if it doesn't meet the criteria.
''Meeting the requirements for modern learning environments
can be quite frustrating.
''If you don't tick all the boxes ... it can cause major
Mr Stretch commended the ministry for establishing the task
''It shows that the Ministry of Education is serious about
listening to concerns and looking for ways to address them.''
Ms Parata said the task force was part of the Government's
confidence and supply arrangement between the National and
Act parties, who were working to identify significant
improvements in school performance.
''By establishing the task force we are taking action to
ensure boards and school leaders can continue to focus on
raising educational achievement for all students and not be
stifled by low-level compliance and regulations.''
Ms Parata said a final report was expected by May 31,
identifying possible changes to rules and regulations to
achieve better education.
The task force would also identify areas of possible change
that would benefit from further investigation, she said.