All schools aren’t equal

March 2, 2015

Education Minister Hekia Parata has announced schools in Northland, Waikato, Hawkes Bay and Canterbury have gained approval to use a new allowance to recruit principals who can help them tackle significant challenges:

The Principal Recruitment Allowance was agreed as part of Investing in Educational Success, the $359 million package to help lift students’ educational achievement.

“A board of trustees can apply for approval to offer an allowance of $50,000 to help recruit a principal with the right skills to meet the particular and significant challenges at their school,” says Ms Parata.

“There are very clear criteria the school must meet in its application. These include significant underachievement, particularly for the groups of kids most at risk, serious safety or wellbeing issues for students and/or staff, high principal turnover or a number of statutory interventions.”

The five schools granted approval to offer the allowance are Opononi School and Mangamuka School in Northland, Ngaruawahia High School in Waikato,  Kimi Ora Community School in Hawkes Bay and Aranui Community Campus in Canterbury.

Ms Parata says applicants for the positions will have to provide strong evidence of highly successful performance.

“We’re supporting schools with significant challenges to do one of the two most important things they can to lift educational achievement, which is get the right leadership in place. 
“The other major in-school factor is the quality of teaching and we’re supporting that through new teaching roles and the communities of schools that will work together to share best practice to tackle their shared goals.”

Approval for the Principal Recruitment Allowance is given by the Secretary for Education.

Conditions of the allowance  the allowance include:

  • the fixed-term allowance attaches to a permanent principal position
  • both the school and the applicant must meet separate eligibility criteria for the allowance to be payable
  • the initial period of the allowance is for a fixed-term of three years; a board may seek approval to renew the allowance for a further period of up to two years (the allowance cannot be renewed more than twice)
  • approval for payment (or renewal) of the allowance is discretionary and may be subject to conditions imposed by the Secretary for Education.
  • consideration will be given to each expression of interest on its merits
  • the allowance is on top of other remuneration offered by the employing board
  • the allowance will end when the fixed period of the allowance ends, regardless of whether the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school; or when the principal ceases to be employed as a principal at the school.

All schools aren’t equal nor are their principals.

Schools with significant challenges need special leadership.

Those leaders deserve financial recognition of the challenges they face and for their skills, experience and accomplishments.


Sharing the goodness

November 11, 2014

The Green Party wants to provide free food for all low decile schools, whether or not they want it.

Fonterra is already sharing the goodness of milk, delivering it free to any and all schools which want it.

 


First anniversary of Milk in Schools

November 4, 2014

Fonterra’s Milk in Schools programme has been operating for more than a year.

Those schools which choose to participate get free, chilled milk.

Unlike the Bill before parliament which aims to provide free food for all low decile schools, the Fonterra programme is targeted and only those schools which want it, get it.


Challenge is trade

October 18, 2014

Prime Minister John Key was asked about advice for other leaders and said:

I think the big challenge for everybody is international trade,&rdquo he says. If you want to look at what drives economic outcomes, it is access to markets, it is education – the skill base of your people – and flexibility of your labour markets. All the other factors will take care of themselves.” . . .

This explains the government’s prioritising free trade agreements, education and labour law reform.

The quote is a small part of an interview in The Telegraph headlined: John Key: the poor boy who saved New Zealand’s economy.

I recommend reading it in full.

 

 


Do we still need to write?

October 6, 2014

Yay or nay?

When fine motor skills were being handed out, I was somewhere else.

A variety of skills as diverse as sewing and applying nail polish with any degree of finesse are beyond me.

I can get away without having to do art and any more than basic sewing, and leave my nails in their natural state.

But the one fine motor skill I need and don’t have but require often is handwriting.

I type when I can but sometimes that’s not an option and it always worries me that whoever has to read what I write will think what I write is as ill-formed and immature as my writing.

My writing is appalling in spite of the best efforts of successive teachers.

I gather that a lot less emphasis is put on it in modern classrooms.

There is less need for writing than there used to be, but are we short-changing children if we don’t teach them to write, and read, real writing?


Where does the money come from?

September 29, 2014

I came across this advertisement during the election campaign but didn’t use it because I believed people were better giving their party votes to National.
Photo: We say you cannot have economic growth or higher living standards by attacking farmers and locking out foreign investment.<br /><br /><br />
If you share these values, vote for them. See our plan at <a href=http://www.act.org.nz." width="504" height="504" />

However, the plea for the party vote, aside, the message about where the money for services comes from is right and reinforced by this story:

Research cash from milk industry could be put in same category as that from armament companies:

Research funding from the dairying and soft drink industries could be declined on ethical grounds under proposals being worked through by the University of Canterbury.

The university is in the midst of a wide-ranging debate about ethical research funding – who academics should and shouldn’t accept money from, and for what research purpose.

Currently, research funding from the tobacco and armaments industries could be declined.

Some academics have argued that should extend to certain industry-funded alcohol, gambling, dairying, mining and soft drink research.

Others believed there should be no prohibition and that the acceptance of funding should be left to individual moral judgements. . .

The issue appears to be water quality.

It’s not a good reflection on the scientific rigor that researchers would write off a whole industry on the strength of what some farmers used to do and take no notice of what’s being done to improve matters.

Dairying farming has been contributing to the deterioration of water quality but farmers and those who supply and support them are making good progress on cleaning up their practices.

There is still more work to do and it will need good science to help. Would researchers turn down money from the industry if it was investigating ways to improve its environmental impact?

This issue, lumping dairying with alcohol and arms, highlights the dark green anti-farming stance which counts the costs but not the benefits.

The dairy industry produces milk which is an important source of nutrients for people here and even more overseas.

The food we export earns a lot of the money which enables us to pay our way in the world and import goods and services from other countries.

The tax paid by farmers and those who service and supply them and process, distribute, market and sell what they produce is what funds universities and hospitals.

If they’re going to turn down money from dairy companies, will they also turn down the tax revenue from the industry which funds the institutions where they work?


Rural round-up

September 28, 2014

Building an educated workforce – Rick Powdrell:

How about that election result then! The most interesting result took place up in Te Tai Tokerau with Labour‘s Kelvin Davis being elected.  Can I give a big thumbs up to the average Kiwi voter who responded to electoral nastiness by sending one political movement packing.

New Zealanders have dodged a bullet and it restores your faith in democracy.  The party I am thinking about wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about what we farmers do on-farm either.

In this election, it was clear to me that some people do not understand that farming is the most international business we have.  A business you can’t up sticks and transfer with the click of a mouse.  It’s here because the people, climate, soils and temperature are all right here.  Industries collectively generating $35 billion a year; 73 percent of our merchandise exports.  . .

Nepalese adding value in Waimate – Sarah Rowland:

When Ikawai dairy farmer Lyle Green employed Nepalese Ashok Shrestha 11 years ago he was so impressed with his works ethic he looked for more.

Green’s uncle had told him of a hard-working Nepalese man who wasn’t being treated well in his job and to employ him if he could, but at the time Green had no vacancies.

However, when a position opened he tracked down Shrestha and employed him.

It turned out to be one of the best choices he had made for his business, he said.

When another employee left for another position Green asked Shrestha if he had a friend who wanted to come to work for him and he said he had two. . .

Loving it for the lifestyle – Gerard Hutching:

”I wouldn’t change it for anything – it’s not a job, it’s a lifestyle,” says Landcorp dairy farm manager Letitia Hamill.

At the age of 22, Hamill is the second youngest Landcorp farm manager in the country. And as a woman, she is a relative rarity for the state-owned enterprise, which has just five female managers out of 137.

Hamill manages one of the nine Landcorp Moutoa dairy farms in the Foxton region. At 68 hectares and running 216 cows, hers is one of four smaller properties in the complex. . .

Boost for breeding as salmon return to river  – David Bruce:

About 1% of a first release of 2000 salmon raised in the Waitaki River returned in the past fishing season, boosting breeding in a stream whose water was used to raise them.

The Waitaki Riparian Enhancement Society started hatching salmon at a hatchery next to Welcome Stream and released its first 2000 tagged fish in 2012.

They were due to start returning in the past season, and the first was caught in February.

Society secretary Linn Koevoet said five of those fish were weighed in at a competition and another three were reported caught. . .

‘Shear for life’ fundraiser - Yvonne O’Hara:

Two farmers hope to raise $24,000 for the Cancer Society by shearing sheep during a 24-hour ”Shear for Life” marathon in Tarras in February.

Farmer James Hill, of Teviot Valley, and stock manager Cole Wells, of Tarras, want to raise money for the society in memory of family members who had died of cancer.

Mr Hill’s father Dick died of stomach cancer in 2012 and Mr Wells lost his grandfather to prostate cancer. . .

Dairy delegation heads to US - Narelle Henson:

A group of 30 large-scale New Zealand dairy farmers and industry representatives are heading to the United States of America tomorrow to see what lessons they can bring home. 

The country is increasingly being punted as New Zealand’s major competition in the Chinese market.

The USA’s milk supply is around four times that of New Zealand, according to DairyNZ statistics, 40 per cent of which comes from 800 ”mega-dairies”, with 2000 or more cows.

Fieldays chief executive Jon Calder is going on the nine-day trip, and said lessons in keeping costs down would be a major focus. . .

 

Tongariro triumphs at Otiwhiti -Jackie Harrigan:

Told you we should have left the shield in the van.”

That was the triumphant cry from one of the supporters of the agri-skills team from Tongariro School last week when they won the Land Based Training Otiwhiti Station Interschool Challenge Shield at the Rangitikei station for the second year in a row.

Tongariro team leader Chicago Albert was proud of his team and of the win, saying they had been training hard to retain the shield. 

“I reckon it’s really cool to come back and win for a second time.” . .


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