Government gets an F for education

By Jim Turrell, published on Stuff.

OPINION: My verdict on the Government’s track record in education is that it is an epic fail.

The reasons for this verdict are many and varied, but I will focus on three main areas:

1. Our student achievement data is declining nationally
2. Ideology is overriding evidence
3. Trust has been completely eroded in the sector achievement data

The mad scientist and the frog
The mad scientist chopped off the frog’s legs and told it to jump. When the frog didn’t jump, the mad scientist concluded that the frog was deaf.

This story illustrates how a relationship between two things (a correlation) does not mean that the one thing is the direct cause of the other. Correlation and causality are often, and sometimes deliberately, confused.

It typifies the approach our government continues to take towards a growing body of evidence that suggests their treasury driven education reforms are having a negative impact on student achievement and well being.

The evidence is compelling. The Ministry of Education’s own research highlights the inconsistencies in National Standards data both within and between schools. (It’s a rort!) The RAINS study by the University of Waikato provides an especially damning report on the impact of National Standards and NZ students’ scores on international surveys continue to decline.

In some cases, the rate of that decline is increasing.

Most teachers will articulate their concerns for a narrowing of the curriculum, where science and the arts play a diminishing role and “soft skills”, such as managing self, problem solving and being creative are all but irrelevant.

Ideology
The government’s response to this troubling data is to double down on “shonky” National Standards with “National Standards Plus”, new “Better Public Services Targets” for literacy and numeracy and a clear directive to the Education Review Office to narrow its focus to schools’ programmes that accelerate the progress of their “priority learners” against National Standards. In other words, further intensification of the very policies we know to be causing harm.

At the same time, per-pupil funding is reducing and new laws are passed without any additional resources for schools to implement them.

The government is now yelling, “jump” more loudly, while chopping more furiously.

Intervention programmes that are driven by high-stakes National Standards data inevitably focus disproportionate resources on the small group of students who are most likely to reach the standard with additional support.

However, this is often to the detriment of those who have already achieved the standard and those who are less likely to with those same levels of additional support. This system is not only incredibly unfair to many students; it also precipitates an overall decline in the achievement of the whole cohort over time.

“Teacher accountability” clearly resonates with voters, and so it should, but National Standards represent a deliberate oversimplification. Education is extraordinarily complex. The extent to which it has become politicised is doing our children an enormous disservice, while snappy sound bites unfairly shape public perceptions.

It is alarming how perception continues to hold sway over evidence. This paradigm is fuelled by politicians (of all persuasions) who appear to repeatedly use data out of context, deliberately confuse correlation with causality and oversimplify complex issues for political gain. As a result, trust within the education sector is almost entirely eroded. We are being increasingly polarised by flagrant politicisation of the things we all care about.

Trump …

Brexit …

It is now nearly impossible to distinguish between a concerned principal and a radicalised political activist.

Trust
It is difficult to reconcile our government’s stated aims, with their policy outcomes. Instead, they offer yet more snappy sound bites, like former education minister Parata’s “decile is not destiny”. It is difficult for voters to argue with such rhetoric. (Frogs need to jump!) Except that there is a growing number of policies, based on pure neoliberalism, which go a long way towards ensuring that decile does become destiny. (More legs chopped off.) The outcomes appear to be the very opposite of what is promised.

Accordingly, the issue of trust lingers in the following questions:

– What is the decile review really about?
– What are Communities of Learning really about?
– What is the funding review really about?
– What are charter schools really about?
– What were the changes to the Education Amendment Act really about?
– What are public, private partnerships really about?
– Why are wealthy charter school owners from overseas suddenly appearing on our boards of trustees?

My hope is that the future brings a better balance for our curriculum.

Currently, high-stakes assessment data is leading to “drill and kill” low stakes learning. Then we wonder why achievement levels are dropping. When the balance is restored so that learning is high stakes and the assessment low stakes, learners will thrive.

This requires all-important trust. Trust between the teaching professionals and the politicians and the wider public. We all need to leave our ideologies behind and work together towards goals that are based on quality research and evidence of what works – regardless of who forms our next government on September 23.

Jim Turrell is an experienced primary school principal who lives in Central Southland after emigrating from Wales.

Newsletter #28 September 7th

Last week I had the absolute pleasure of attending the Rutherford College Dance Studio Show and saw so many ex-Matipo pupils performing. Under dance teacher Perri Exeter, Rutherford has gone from strength to strength in their dance programme. The choreography was adventurous, creative and skilful.

Congratulations to ‘Friends of Matipo’ on a very successful Spring Sausage Sizzle afternoon event which attracted a big crowd of parents and children, many of whom were new to our school. Well done on another successful event!

Warm Welcome To
Basil Karukappillil Jenson and Jackson Tombs. We wish you a long and enjoyable time here at Matipo Primary School.

Happy Birthday This Week To
Brody Biesheuvel, Moana Butterworth Flores, Cruz Jacobs Oto, Kaia Williams, Kiri Parker, Jackson Tombs, Scarlett Ibbotson, Logan Laanbroek, Ciaran Yates, Roma Bowers-Fleming and Miles Lattie. A Happy Belated Birthday to Basil Karukappillil Jenson.

Art Show
The school Art Show will be held between Monday 18th – Thursday 21st September with the formal opening on Monday 18th September at 3.00pm. Thank you to Persia Iwan and her team for putting the show together and for the hugely generous contribution from the Waitakere Community Arts Group via Lynette McKinstrie who for over a decade, have donated art works to go on show and contributed to our original art collection.

Photo Frames
Have you ordered school photographs that you might want to give as gifts or display at home? Two Matipo Mums are selling some gorgeous, custom made key ring and magnetic frames for the smaller sized school photos. They are a perfect way to share your child’s photos with loved ones. Also, for every order placed the school receives a $1 donation for fundraising! Pop into the office to see a sample and collect an order form, or alternatively email Moana or Keryn at info@fantailframes.co.nz.

Assembly
Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2.15 pm in the hall for the Tamariki and Aroha Syndicates, and will be hosted by Room 3.

Learning Expo – Date Change
This term’s Learning Expo will now be held on Wednesday 27th September, between 9 – 10am.

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SKIDS Holiday Programme Term 3

BOOK NOW FOR SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAMME TERM 3 BREAK

Spaces available! Book NOW to avoid any disappointments!

•Fun indoor and outdoor activities including lip-smacking food
•Safe Environment
•Field trips “Flippin’ Fun”, “Rockstar Party-Professionals are coming to rock”, “Ceramic Painting” & “Kids Fair”
•Onsite excitement “Stone Age Party”, “Burger & Drinks”, “All Fun & Games” and much more!
•WINZ SUBSIDY AVAILABLE

For more Information, please call Sapna on 09 8185955 or 0275655251 or email to matipo@skids.co.nz

 

2018 Ballot Notice

September 2017

The board invites applications from parents who wish to enrol their sons and daughters at Matipo Primary School for next year.

Enrolment at the school is governed by an enrolment scheme, details of which are available from the school office, or online.

Please phone or visit the school office for details of enrolment applications.

The board has determined that 16 places are likely to be available for out of zone students next year. The exact number of vacancies to arise during next year will depend on the number of applications received from students who live within the school’s home zone.

The deadline for receipt of applications for out of zone places is Wednesday 18th October, 2017.

Parents of students who live within the home zone should also apply by this date to assist the school to plan appropriately for next year. Students who live in the home zone are entitled to enrol at the school.

Applications from out of zone students will be processed in the following order of priority:

  1. First priority must be given to any applicant who is accepted for enrolment in a special programme run by the school.
  2. Second priority must be given to any applicant who is the sibling of a current student of the school.
  3. Third priority must be given to any student who is the sibling of a former student of the school.
  4. Fourth priority must be given to any applicant who is a child of a former student of the school.
  5. Fifth priority must be given to any applicant who is either a child of an employee of the board of the school or a child of a member of the board of the school.
  6. Sixth priority must be given to all other applicants

If the number of out of zone applications exceeds the number of places available, students will be selected by ballot. If a ballot is required, it will be held on Wednesday 25th October 2017. Parents will be informed of the outcome of the ballot within three school days of the ballot being held.

Bright and Beautiful

Celebration Day
Wednesday 13th September

This will be an exciting day! Dress up Bright & Beautiful!

9am Parade & Preliminary Judging
10am APO Brass Ensemble Aucktet
11.30am Assembly & Prize Giving
12.30pm Free Sausage Sizzle
1.15pm Junior Disco
2pm Senior Disco

NB: This event is for the children only.

Newsletter #27 August 31st

Thank you for your support of the Daffodil Day Appeal. A total of $347 was collected and sent on to the Cancer Society. We are now down to four weeks until the end of the term and hopefully the spring weather will arrive to warm us all up and dry out the grounds.
I am leaving soon and have asked for no farewell. I have something special planned to say goodbye to the children, and will send out a farewell notice closer to the time.

Warm Welcome To
Cadie McDonald. We wish you a long and enjoyable time here at Matipo Primary School.

Happy Birthday This Week To
Cadie McDonald, Posie Davis-Barr, Franklin Davis-Barr, Isaac Worley, Zoe Tollemache, Kate Donald, Tony Zhong, Emily Gong, Ethan Jackson and Zandan Smith.

Individual Photos – TOMORROW
Photos are being taken TOMORROW. If your child is going to be away sick, please let the office know ASAP so we can remove their order form. Photolife ask that no special requests be made to bring in and photograph sick children.

Assembly
Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2.15 pm in the hall for the Taonga and Mana Syndicates, and will be hosted by Room 12.

Lost Property
Lost Property will be on display outside the staffroom this afternoon and tomorrow. Any unclaimed items after the end of school on Friday will be passed on to charity. We make every effort to return named items to children. Please remember to name your children’s clothing.

If you have any unwanted pegs, we would love to have them for hanging the lost property.

2018 Enrolments
If you have a child starting with us next year and you live within our school zone, please collect an enrolment pack from the school office. To enable us to better plan, we would appreciate all enrolments for next year completed by Wednesday 18th October. If you have any questions, please contact the office via email office@matipo.school.nz.

Waitakere Cricket Club
Register now for the upcoming Season 2017/18 via our website www.waitakerecc.co.nz or for more information please contact Maline Toma juniorwaitakcc@gmail.com 021 022 27540.

Term Dates
Sept 01 Individual & Sibling Photos
FoM Spring Sausage Sizzle 3pm – 4.30pm
13 Bright & Beautiful Day – more info to come
18-21 School Art Show
26 Learning Expo 9am – 10am
29 Term 3 Ends
Oct 16 Term 4 Starts – Summer Hours
23 Labour Day Holiday
Nov 6-9 School Show Week ‘Aladdin’
13 Class & Netball Photos

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Newsletter #26 August 24th

The fields are still really saturated so continue to be closed to the kids. However, accidents continue to happen so please ensure your child carries a spare change of clothes in their bags.

Daffodil Day
Tomorrow is Daffodil Day, run by the Cancer Society of New Zealand. There is probably no family in New Zealand who is not touched at some time by cancer. Daffodils are available for a gold coin donation TOMORROW. Please help us support our families of New Zealand.

Warm Welcome To
Ashton Walters and Ray Hsieh. We wish you a long and enjoyable time here at Matipo Primary School.

Happy Birthday This Week To
Gavin de Lumban, Oliver Edwards, Ruby Paapu, Elan van Dolleweerd, Nova Maslen, Zainah Williams-Stehlin and Jordan Kalloor. A Happy Belated Birthday to Ray Hsieh and Ashton Walters.

Individual Photos – Due Next Week
Order envelopes for individual photos were sent home earlier this term. Photos will be taken on Friday 1st September. Please return the envelopes sealed with the payment inside to the office by Wednesday 30th August. Sibling photo envelopes can be collected from the office. You may pay for more than one student’s photograph with the same payment, but each student must have their own envelope completed. Please enclose the correct payment as no change can be given.

Assembly
Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2.15 pm in the hall for the Tamariki and Aroha Syndicates, and will be hosted by Room 4.

2018 Enrolments
If you have a child starting with us next year and you live within our school zone, please collect an enrolment pack from the school office. To enable us to better plan, we would appreciate all enrolments for next year completed by Wednesday 18th October. If you have any questions, please contact the office via email office@matipo.school.nz.

Help Please
This term the Taonga Syndicate will be creating their own Rube Goldberg machines. We would like to collect the following items, so if you have any that you can spare, please send to any Taonga class: dominoes, cardboard tubes, insulation tubes, PVC pipes, toy cars, clean small wooden offcuts, duct tape, string, marbles / small balls, small dowel / recycled chopsticks, clean plastic recycled containers, plastic bottles – various sizes, pegs, and empty tissue boxes. Thanks so much, Taonga Teachers.

Term Dates
August 25 Daffodil Day
Rooms 23 & 25 MOTAT Trip
Sept 01 Individual & Sibling Photos
FoM Spring Sausage Sizzle 3pm – 4.30pm
13 Bright & Beautiful Day – more info to come
18-21 School Art Show
26 Learning Expo 9am – 10am
29 Term 3 Ends
Oct 16 Term 4 Starts – Summer Hours

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Newsletter #25 August 17th

This week the new principal Paul Wright visited Matipo meeting with staff and visiting most classrooms.
Daffodil Day is coming up next Friday and I urge all families to support this very worthwhile cause. We will have senior students go around to all classrooms to collect gold coin donations in return for a Daffodil.

Warm Welcome To
Archie Marsters. We wish you a long and enjoyable time here at Matipo Primary School.

Happy Birthday This Week To
Andre Duggan, Alexander Matafeo, Daniel Suifua, Isabella Triggs, Daniel Edmonds, Adriana Urlovic, Mathilda Rothwell-Horner, Noah Burns and Ruby Chung. Happy Belated Birthday to Archie Marsters.

Netball Field Day
On Monday 14th August, Matipo attended the Te Atatu Cluster Netball Field Day. We had four girls teams and one boys team. The day was successful with all teams giving 100% effort, despite the windy and wet conditions. Congratulations to the Year 6 girls Matipo Royals and the Year 5 girls Matipo Magic for making the semi-finals in their division. A special mention to our boys team who participated in their first ever netball tournament. Once again, thanks to the parents who supported Matipo on the day and our coaches Trudi, Maryanne and Eva who helped make our field day a success.

Individual Photos
Order envelopes for individual photos were sent home earlier this term. Photos will be taken on Friday 1st September. Please return the envelopes sealed with the payment inside to the office by Wednesday 30th August. Sibling photo envelopes can be collected from the office. You may pay for more than one student’s photograph with the same payment, but each student must have their own envelope completed. Please enclose the correct payment as no change can be given.

Assembly
Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2.15 pm in the hall for the Taonga and Mana Syndicates, and will be hosted by Room 14.

Update Contact Details
If you have recently changed any contact details it is important that the office is aware in case of an emergency or situation where we need to contact you. We found from the last lot of reports emailed out that many email addresses needed updating. Please advise the office if your contact details need updating, including email addresses.

Medical Considerations
We request that you please contact the school as soon as possible if your child comes into contact with chickenpox, measles or mumps or develops them. These illnesses can have serious implications for one of our students on treatment for cancer and we need to inform the parents so that appropriate action can be taken. Please feel free to contact the school with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your consideration.

Slapped Cheek
We have had a number of confirmed cases of slapped cheek across the school. Slapped cheek is in its most infectious stage usually before it is diagnosed. Children should only remain at home if they are unwell. If exposed to slapped cheek, try to stop it spreading by ensuring your children: wash their hands frequently, cover their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, and that they do not share food, eating utensils or drink bottles. Symptoms of slapped cheek may include: low-grade fever, chills, headache, body ache, sore throat and diarrhoea. Once these symptoms improve, a rash may develop, starting with red cheeks.

 

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Newsletter #24 August 10th

Thank you to the 83% of parents who attended parent interviews last night. Your attendance is much appreciated.
Last year we celebrated John Vujnovich winning Real Estate Salesman of the Year. Last week, another of our parents (and Board Member) David Windler, was named Mortgage Broker of the Year. This is a tremendous achievement up against some very powerful opponents. Congratulations!

Warm Welcome To
Dylan Keereweer-Taia, Yedarm Baek, Lamar Rogers, AJ Abdullah-Rogers, Amelijah-Rose Rogers and Alexandria Triggs. We wish you a long and enjoyable time here at Matipo Primary School.

Happy Birthday This Week To
Yedarm Baek, Zion Taka, Charlie Boyle, Charlotte Toleafoa, Dominic Bonkovich, Ashton Doyle, Alexandria Triggs, Indiana Price, Addison Rosan, Violet Rothwell-Horner, Jean Schollum, Amelie Gracewood and Timi Paapu. Happy belated birthday to Dylan Keereweer-Taia.

Individual Photos
Order envelopes for individual photos were sent home last week. Photos will be taken on Friday 1st September. Please return the envelopes sealed with the payment inside to the office by Wednesday 30th August. Sibling photo envelopes can be collected from the office. You may pay for more than one student’s photograph with the same payment, but each student must have their own envelope completed. Please enclose the correct payment as no change can be given.

Kids Link

Reporting System
With the mid-year reports been emailed last Friday, we have been made aware that not all parents are aware of our reporting system.
Year 1 – 3 students will receive an anniversary report approximately one year after starting school. This will be sent to you via email and reports on your child’s progress in reading, writing and mathematics based on the National Standards. These reports are sent out in weeks 4 and 9 of each term. These students will also receive a progress report which will be emailed to you either mid-year or end-of-year, depending on when your child started school.
Year 4 – 6 students will receive a mid-year progress report and an end-of-year National Standards report which will be emailed to you.
If you haven’t received your child’s report, and believe you should have, please contact the office. Please check your spam/junk folder first, and try searching the keyword ‘musac’. We are in discussion with our Student Manager System provider EDGE, in regards to some parents not receiving reports, and various other issues which have arisen. We have been let down by our third party supplier.

Lost Property
Lost Property will be on display outside the staffroom this afternoon and tomorrow. Any unclaimed items after the end of school on Friday will be passed on to charity. We make every effort to return named items to children. Please remember to name your children’s clothing. If you have any unwanted pegs, we would love to take these of your hands to display the lost property.

Assembly
Tomorrow’s assembly is at 2.15 pm in the hall for the Tamariki and Aroha Syndicates, and will be hosted by Room 5.

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