Annual Report 2020

The Annual Report 2020 outlines the Ministry’s key achievements over the past year and details progress against long term outcomes and objectives. It includes non-financial performance information and the Ministry’s financial statements.

A copy of the full report is available for download, along with the Vote Education Section 19B report in Relation to Non-Departmental appropriations for the year ended 30 June 2020.

Introduction from the Secretary for Education

Full Annual Report 2020 and Section 19B report

Introduction from the Secretary for Education

This has been a year of two halves — before COVID-19, and with COVID-19. During the first half of the year, the Ministry of Education was pretty well on track to deliver strategies or implementation plans across the Government’s Education Work Programme. This included:

  • planning for the Government’s response to the Independent Taskforce Review of Tomorrow’s Schools
  • consulting significantly and reaching agreement on changes to the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA)
  • implementing the Learning Support Coordinator role
  • designing a Curriculum, Progress and Achievement work programme, including starting work on New Zealand History
  • reaching a pay equity settlement for 22,000 teacher aides, the first to be agreed under new pay equity principles
  • planning for a $400 million School Investment Package, above the annual expenditure of over $1 billion
  • designing the National Education Growth Plan for the schooling network
  • developing the policy and business case for the Reform of Vocational Education.

Meanwhile, our internal focus has been on advancing our Te Ara Whiti programme to grow the confidence and capability of our staff to form genuine partnerships, and understand and respond to systemic racism, bias and discrimination.

During the second half of the year, along with the rest of the nation, we were thrown into responding to the unprecedented events of COVID-19. During the weeks spent at Alert Levels 3 and 4, educators, students, their families and all of our Ministry staff were required to adjust swiftly to remote learning and working.

As leaders and teachers from early learning services, schools, kura and tertiary providers stepped up to help their students through uncertain and challenging times, we moved in to support them in any way we could. This included:

  • communicating frequently to inform operational and Health and Safety advice through 53 Early Learning Bulletins, 62 School Bulletins and 33 Tertiary Bulletins
  • processing 132 requests for essential service status and 1,455 requests for access to school sites
  • distributing over 280,000 hard packs, negotiating IT network contracts, switching on two educational TV channels in Māori and English, distributing more than 25,000 devices, and establishing funding to support learners to access technology-enabled tertiary education and training
  • suspending over 520 Ministry- or school-led construction projects while supporting suppliers to be ready to restart as quickly as possible
  • providing virtual learning support services
  • developing and supporting the announcement of various COVID-19 support packages, including a $1.6 billion package for trades and apprenticeships
  • preparing for and presenting to the COVID-19 Select Committee.

At the same time, we ensured other commitments and priorities continued to advance, including:

  • supporting the passage of the Education and Training Act 2020
  • finalising the Action Plan for Pacific Education
  • completing the refreshed Ka Hikitia and Tau Mai Te Reo
  • co-constructing a draft Education Workforce Strategy
  • implementing the living wage for support staff
  • working with NZEI Te Riu Roa and the Post Primary Teachers’ Association through the Accord.
  • establishing the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology.

COVID-19 did not create inequity, but it has revealed and exacerbated it. There was already a burning platform to address the inequities in our system, and COVID-19 has thrown petrol onto that fire. We have a huge responsibility to build on what we have learned and work with our partners to shape a truly equitable and excellent education system.

While exposing the equity challenges we face, the COVID-19 response has also brought out the best in our system, showcasing its responsiveness, strengthening the ways we engage with each other, and encouraging innovation. On top of supporting their own students, huge numbers of teachers participated in online workshops to help us plan Home Learning TV and other distance learning supports. Design teams, printing companies and courier drivers worked around the clock to get over 280,000 learning material packs to children and young people around the country. Kōhanga and kura used the power of technology to connect into homes so that kaiako, ākonga | learners and their whānau could start their lockdown days together with karakia and waiata. Parents and whānau taught maths in the kitchen, supervised science projects in the backyard, and did their best to mute and unmute at just the right times.

I have huge respect for the leadership, ingenuity, sheer hard work and dedication that has been demonstrated by people in every part of our system. All for one purpose: to support the wellbeing and education of our learners.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the support that Ministry staff have provided to the education system, the wider government response, and each other throughout these difficult times. It is a real privilege to lead an organisation with such heart.

He waka eke noa.

Iona Holsted
Secretary for Education

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