Kia ora tātou,
Our last edition of ERO Insights arrived when schools and early learning services were experiencing Alert Level 3 in Auckland and Alert Level 2 in the rest of the country – a bit of a shock following 100 days without community transmission. New Zealand’s ability to quickly adapt and get the virus under control once again was heartening, but also a reminder of the need to learn from our experiences and be prepared for the future. Many of these findings were shared in our earlier reports on Learning in Lockdown.
Now at the end of a year full of challenges, I think it’s most important to highlight what we got right. A series of reports on Learning in a Covid-19 World will be published in early 2021 – but for now, we want to share with you how schools and early learning services overcame Covid-19 challenges in ways that will positively shape education going forward.
Looking to the 2021 year, we will all need to ensure that we are prepared for what will continue to be uncertainty but equally addressing some of the impact this year has had for many learners going into the new year.
It will be important to ensure that attendance and engagement are key priorities so that all learners are back in learning from the very start of the new term. A focus on learners transitioning to school or between schools will be a particularly vulnerable group. Early in the new year, identifying gaps in learning and having in place active teaching strategies to address these will also need to be considered.
In the spirit of learning and adapting, this issue also updates you on ERO’s new approaches to evaluation. Our new Operating Model for schools, which shifts the focus from event-based external reviews to supporting each school in a process of continuous improvement, is currently in the pilot phase at 75 schools across New Zealand. We’ve received positive feedback, as you can read below. ERO has also started the roll-out of our updated Early Childhood Education methodology. At the heart of this change is a focus on the things that matter most in the development of tamariki.
Finally, ERO found that students and whānau have a strong desire to incorporate more te reo Māori in everyday education. Our report, Nihinihi whenua, shares the voices of our tamariki and their whānau, and highlights the importance of school leaders and teachers valuing and prioritising te reo Māori in their learning environments.
Over the summer holidays, I hope we can take time to appreciate all that we’ve overcome this year. The sector has more than risen to the challenge and has truly showcased a commitment to their learners, their teachers and staff, their families and whanau and their communities.
Enjoy the time with whānau and friends, and we’ll see you in 2021!
Te Tumu Whakarae mō te Arotake Mātauranga | Chief Executive and Chief Review Officer