A new Education Act for Christmas – including some proposed changes you may not have heard of

In time for Christmas, the Government has introduced the Education and Training Bill 2019.

The Bill would replace the existing core education legislation (the Education Acts 1964 and 1989 and the Industry Training and Apprenticeships Act 1992).

However, the degree of the substantive changes the Bill would make varies from sub-sector to sub-sector.

Many of the most substantive changes have been very well-signalled, and some are already before Parliament.

Others, moving some requirements relating to international students from statute to regulations (where they can far more easily be changed) and increasing planning for, and oversight of, the early childhood education sector, you may not have heard of.

Proposed changes you have probably heard of

Well-signalled changes include the proposed re-focusing of the role of school Boards of Trustees and enabling eligibility criteria to be set for the appointment of school principals.

Proposed changes already before Parliament (which have been incorporated into the new Bill) include:

  • the creation of a single New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology proposed in the Education (Vocational Education and Training Reform) Amendment Bill, and
  • the proposed code of practice for the pastoral care of domestic tertiary students and proposed changes relating to the existing code of practice for international students in the Education (Pastoral Care) Amendment Bill.

Other proposed changes you may not have heard of

Some provisions relating to international students will be able to be changed more easily in future

For those providing education to international students, some provisions that are currently provided for by statute will instead be provided for by regulations. Placing those provisions in regulations would mean that they could be changed far more easily in the future.

Provisions affected by this proposed change include those relating to the development and administration of the code of practice for the pastoral care of international students.

Greater planning for and oversight of early childhood education

For the early childhood education sector, the Bill proposes to:

  • enable decision-makers determining licence applications to consider ‘the relevant attributes of the area to be served, including (but not limited to) the demography of the area, the needs of the communities in the area, and the availability of services in the area with different offerings (for example, the provision of te reo Māori)',
  • increase the penalty for operating an early childhood education centre without a licence to a maximum of $50,000, and
  • allow the Education Review Office (ERO) to obtain information from the parent entities of early childhood education providers.

The Bill has been referred to the Select Committee, with the Committee to report back to Parliament by 4 May 2020.  Submissions on the Bill are now being accepted, with the closing date for submissions to be announced on 11 December 2019.”

Please contact us if you would like to discuss the possible implications of the Bill.

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