Updating and streamlining the legislative framework for State integrated schools

The Education (Update) Amendment Bill (the Bill) proposes to update and streamline the legislative framework for State integrated schools by incorporating the Private Schools Conditional Integration (PSCI) Act 1975 (the PSCI Act) into the Education Act 1989 (the Act).

The State integrated schooling sector is the second largest schooling sector in New Zealand.  There are 332 State integrated schools, which enrol about 88,600 (11 percent) of all students. State integrated schools are run by proprietors (owners or managers of the schools).

The PSCI Act reflects the conditions that existed when it was passed in 1975.  As the PSCI Act was developed over forty years ago, it now contains many outdated references.

The Act will also be amended to enable more effective management of the whole schooling network.  The Bill proposes criteria that proprietors will be required to consider when regularly reviewing their school or network of schools and a provision to enable the government to request information on proprietor’s financial position. 

Further information

What are the proposed criteria for proprietors to consider?

The proposed criteria that proprietors would be required to have regard to, every five years, and if particular circumstances have occurred, are:

  • the ability of the school to continue to provide a quality education to its students
  • the relative cost of the continued operation of the school compared to average per student government expenditure for other schools
  • the extent to which the school provides for the needs of priority students
  • the ability of the proprietor to meet their obligations regarding their school and/or their network of schools in a way that ensures viability in the medium term (that is, in a five to ten year period).

What might be the particular circumstances that could occur where proprietors would need to have regard to the criteria?

Outside of a standard five year cycle, the circumstances that could occur where proprietors would need to have regard to the criteria may include where the school has experienced significant and continuing roll decline, where issues around student achievement have been identified by the Education Review Office and/or where there are issues about the quality of property provision.

What information would proprietors be required to provide, and why?

Proprietors, upon request, would be required to provide financial information and any other information considered necessary.

Information could be requested when a proprietor or potential proprietor has applied to integrate a school, has requested additional funding, or there are concerns about the ability of a proprietor to meet their obligations.

When will these changes take effect?

The Bill is expected to come into force in 2017.

Who will these changes effect?

These changes would only directly impact proprietors.

Parents and guardians would still have the same choices as now about whether to enrol their child in a State integrated school. 

Boards of integrated schools would have the same roles and responsibilities as previously, and their relationship with the school’s proprietors will also remain the same.

In the long run, the Government would be able to effectively manage the schooling network while maintaining diversity and choice in the system for parents, guardians and students. 

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