New professional body for teachers
The passage of the Education Amendment Bill (No 2) means changes for the teaching profession through the establishment of a new professional body for teachers, the Education Council of Aotearoa New Zealand (EDUCANZ).
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK), Te Pūtahi Kura Pohou o Aotearoa, supports the intent of the legislation to create a new professional body for teachers to ensure high quality teaching and learning and leadership throughout the education sector. “The new body must gain the confidence and trust of the members of the teaching profession in order for these outcomes to be realised,” said NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells. “The Council must have a strong, independent voice and must effectively balance the interests of the public with the interests of the profession.”
For the early childhood education (ECE) sector specifically, NZK expects the new body to maintain the standards required of teacher education providers and teachers in ECE and ensure they are no less than for teachers in schools, maintaining the integrity of the profession and status of qualified teachers in ECE settings. “We expect the Council to champion the long held aim to ensure every teacher in a centre-based, teacher-led ECE service is a qualified and registered teacher,” Clare Wells said.
A positive amendment regarding Council membership was made to the original bill by the Education and Science Committee. The changes align with recommendations made by numerous submitters including NZK. While all nine members of the Council will be appointed by the Minister of Education, there is now a requirement that at least five are registered teachers holding a practising certificate. This requirement will help promote credibility and currency within the profession and confidence in the Council. \
NZK is concerned that the statutory requirement to establish advisory groups for ECE and Māori medium has been removed from the Act. “We anticipate the Council will see value in maintaining the advisory groups to ensure that the professional interests of Māori medium and early childhood education are visible,” Clare Wells said.
“It is important that the transition to the new professional body be well-managed and well-communicated to all stakeholders.It is important for public confidence in the teaching profession, as well as for teachers, professional leaders and employees of the NZTC, to ensure there is no interruption in the usual business of the NZTC during the transition period,” said Clare Wells.
New Zealand Kindergartens (NZK) would like the new body to build on the successes of the New Zealand Teacher’s Council (NZTC), maintaining and expanding processes, policies and initiatives that have proven effective and focus on collaboration across the sector.
For more information about NZK, visit www.nzkindergarten.org.nz.
For further comment: Please contact NZK Chief Executive Clare Wells 0272 955 044