Almost 100 proprietors and principals of New Zealand’s state-integrated schools from around the country met in Wellington with the Education Minister Hon Chris Hipkins and Associate Education Minister Hon Jenny Salesa, on Thursday 25 October. The gathering was a welcome call from the state-integrated school representatives to hear first-hand about the Government’s planned review of their sector, starting next year.
The New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO) co-ordinated the meeting for what is a large portion of the education sector.
A state-integrated school is a former private school that has integrated into the state-education system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975. The school retains its special character.
Associate Minister Salesa began the meeting by expressing the Government’s commitment to working collaboratively with state-integrated schools. Minister Hipkins echoed this sentiment and reiterated the significant funding challenges faced by the education sector. He reassured those present he saw the state-integrated schools sector as vitally important in the New Zealand education system and affirmed the Government’s commitment to supporting its growth.
Discussion centred on the relationship between this government and state-integrated schools. It included how the schools can play a greater role in sharing the educational aspirations of the Government and key actions the Government can take to support the work of state-integrated school proprietors.
Minister Hipkins reiterated the need for ongoing dialogue and collaboration between this sector and the Government to ensure complementary and sustainable growth.
NZCEO Director, Paul Ferris said, ‘It was a welcome opportunity to meet with the Minister and his Associate Minister in what we felt was a positive step. The Minister’s responses to the many questions fielded were reassuring for the group; although the subject of funding is inevitably a fundamental part of the wider discussions.’