Education and Training Act 2020: Improving planning and reporting

Planning and reporting is the key way for schools, kura and communities of learning: kāhui ako to implement the objectives for education specified in legislation and the Government’s strategic direction for the education system.

Planning and reporting also helps schools and kura respond to parents, whānau and community aspirations for their school, and to meet community of learning — kāhui ako achievement challenges.

However, the current planning and reporting system for schools is complex and detailed, rather than being focused on what really matters. 

The Education and Training Act 2020 carried over, without change, the provisions in the Education (Amendment) Act 2017 relating to planning and reporting.  

The new planning and reporting framework will focus on schools and kura setting meaningful goals and objectives for the success of our children, and accountability to students, parents and whānau, communities and government.

When will the new planning and reporting framework take effect?

The new framework will completely come into effect no later than 1 January 2023. This will give sufficient time for a new set of regulations to be developed that will outline the process, content, form and timelines for planning and reporting. These will be developed in consultation with the sector. Existing planning and reporting requirements will continue until the new framework comes into effect.

From 1 January 2023, school boards will need to prepare:

  • a 3-year strategic plan which sets out the board’s strategy for achieving its objectives — to be submitted to the Secretary for Education for approval every 3 years
  • an annual implementation plan giving effect to the strategic plan which doesn't need to be submitted to the Secretary
  • an annual report which includes the board’s statement of variance and annual financial statements.

From 1 January 2023, a board’s 2022 charter will become its transitional strategic plan. How long the transitional strategic plan will remain in place will be determined in regulations.

Will there be consultation on the new framework?

Yes. The Ministry intends to consult on the regulations in 2021.

Why is strategic planning and reporting important?

Strategic planning and reporting, done well, helps schools and communities work together to establish goals and objectives for their children’s futures. It allows schools to reflect on how well they’re doing to serve their communities, look at the areas of greatest need, and to meaningfully plan to make a difference. Research shows great schools and kura:

  • strive for continuous improvement so they can maximise the success of each student
  • have a strong vision for the future
  • make use of data and research to analyse their strengths and areas for improvement
  • plan and set targets for the success of all students
  • account for their impact on student outcomes through regular reporting.

Planning and reporting are the key processes through which the objectives for education and the Government’s priorities in the statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP) flow through to what happens in schools and classrooms.

What improvements are being made to the planning process?

A 3-year strategic plan and an annual implementation plan will replace school charters. The 2 documents will have different purposes and processes, but will together provide a base against which the board’s performance can later be assessed.

Strategic plans will reflect how the school intends to achieve the objectives for the education system and the Government’s priorities contained in its statement of National Education and Learning Priorities (NELP), and incorporate any outcomes agreed to by any Community of Learning — Kāhui Ako that the school belongs to.

Schools will need to develop a new strategic plan every 3 years in consultation with the school community, including families and whānau, staff, students (as appropriate) and any other person, group or organisation they consider ought to be consulted. The strategic plan will be assessed by the Ministry for quality rather than process requirements.

Annual implementation plans will contain more detail about the school’s individual actions and targets for the following year. The implementation plan does not have to be provided to the Ministry, thus streamlining the process for schools.

What improvements are being made to the reporting process?

Schools will still be required to produce annual reports.  

Some changes have already been made to the annual report process and content to reduce board compliance and make reports more relevant to parents. For example, annual reports must now be made available to the public through an Internet site.

Further changes to the reporting process will be made through regulations as the new framework is developed, in consultation with the sector, over the course of 2021.

Will schools lose their individual identity as a result of the changes to the planning documents?

No. Schools will have the freedom to set their own goals and priorities. In doing so, they will need to be consistent with their primary objective of ensuring that every student is able to attain his or her highest standard in educational achievement, and have particular regard to the NELP. Schools will be required to consult with their communities when developing their strategic plan.

The aspirations, vision and values that emerge from this could be incorporated into their strategic planning. State integrated and designated character schools will be required to ensure their strategic plan reflects their special character.

Will planning and reporting documents be available to parents, families and whānau?

Schools will be required to publish all planning and reporting documents on an Internet site so parents and the community have easier access to the information.

Key provisions

The following sections are key provisions relating to school planning and reporting and will come into effect no later than 1 January 2023:

  • Sections 138 to 146 relate to strategic planning and reporting; 
  • Section 165 sets out the requirements for the monitoring of and reporting on student performance; 
  • Section 90(c) relates to national performance measures; and  
  • Section 639 enables regulations to be made about planning, implementation, monitoring and reporting. 

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