Tomorrow’s Schools Review Report Released – what does it mean for ECE?

13 November 2019

The government released the final report of the Tomorrow’s Schools Review yesterday. The report is the second version and presents quite a different picture to the first version, with the more radical changes significantly dampened down.

The relevance for ECE is significant. Part of this review focused on the structure and role of the Ministry of Education, ERO, NZQA and more. One of the reasons the draft Early Learning Strategic Plan (now called the Early Learning Action Plan) has been delayed is due to the fact the government wanted to wait until this review result was published.

The report calls for the establishment of an “Education Service Agency”. This agency, while part of the Ministry of Education, will have a number of responsibilities that includes working with early learning services at a local level over the implementation of (some of) the changes from the yet-to-be-announced Early Learning Action Plan (set to be released before the end of the year). How transition and the activity of the new Learning Support Coordinators attached to schools are to work into the future is an example of this.

The Tomorrow’s Schools review also signals changes to the Ministry of Education, over time. These changes are not only structural, but impact on the organisational culture as well as an improvement in trust between the Ministry and the sector is seen as key to achieving some of the goals of the strategy.

Missing from the final review report are the 21 Education Hubs and the proposals to dissolve ERO and NZQA. The Ministry, through the proposed Education Service Agency, would assume management over school properties, thus having an influential role in future opportunities for ECE co-location.

The Minister and Ministry signaled a strong collaborative approach toward implementation design and implementation activity involving key parts of the education sector in relevant parts of the strategy. There appear various parts of the strategy where there are opportunities for ECE involvement.

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