Small and Remote Schools Programme hit delivery milestone

Our Small and Remote Schools Programme is breaking the procurement mould through streamlining its processes.

In 2018, we carried out two substantial reports which scrutinised the same challenges affecting small, remote schools in New Zealand. These schools were struggling disproportionately to modernise their internal learning environments and attain quality learning environments. We agreed that these schools needed crucial improvement to their internal environments to enhance the learning experiences of our tamariki (children). These improvements focused on four key aspects, including lighting, acoustics, thermal properties, and electrical safety.

We started the Small and Remote Schools programme in late 2020. Over the last nine months the Ministry’s procurement team collaborated with its programme team to procure the four improvement products, freight and logistics services, and project managers to deliver the programme. Given the procedures at the time, this new approach required ingenuity, creative problem solving, and the development of new procurement processes.

This year the programme and procurement teams have achieved consistency of product for all remote schools, specified minimum quality standards, created a new delivery model on how the various suppliers interact, and designed accountability standards for each piece of the procurement puzzle.

The teams are streamlining processes and creating better value for public spending while delivering many social and broader outcomes. They are doing this by ensuring supply chains use ethical practices in factories and for labour forces; mandating police vetting for onsite staff, which increases security and safety for students; and using a value narrative approach, which doesn’t allocate work solely on price but also considers operational efficiency and benefits to local communities. As two examples, simple changes to lighting have resulted in teaching staff noting less headaches, and new acoustic panelling has delivered the greatest educational impact with two schools describing the effects as profound and transformational for children with significant hearing challenges.

The Small and Remote Schools programme has looked to negate negative environmental impacts, support the growth of the construction sector, and develop positive supplier relationships. They have given schools waste pallets for students to use to build furniture and provided educational opportunities for students to learn from contractors how to make the furniture. The programme team also introduced a recycling programme supported by all of procurement’s product suppliers.

Our Small and Remote Schools programme is breaking the procurement mould through streamlining procurement processes while the programme is adding significant value to over 25 per cent of learning environments nationwide. The programme is dramatically improving our existing procurement models by leveraging national expenditure and ensuring consistency for the schools that need the extra support most. Through our innovative, money-saving processes, the programme has achieved multiple broader outcomes benefiting the construction sector, the environment, and many of our local communities.

Read more about the programme in Improving Classrooms in Small or Remote Schools

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