A submission: Our Schooling Futures, March 2019


Supporting next- generation governance: A submission to the Tomorrow’s Schools Independent Taskforce

Bernardine Vester, EducationPlus Auckland Limited

1 March 2019

PO Box  251357, Pakuranga, Auckland 2040.  0274 411 365. www.eduplus.co.nz



EducationPlus Auckland is an Auckland-based education consultancy with a focus on governance support and community engagement.  This submission has been prepared by Bernardine Vester, Director.  Bernardine is a former secondary school teacher and Vice President of PPTA, a former Chief Executive for the City of Manukau Education Trust (now Comet Auckland), and the author of Southern Transformation: Searching for Educational Excellence in South Auckland, published by Victoria University Press in 2016.  Bernardine is a New Zealand Eisenhower Fellow and the Chair of Teach First New Zealand: Ako Mātātupu.

Bernardine applies an equity lens to her engagements in education and community.  Her extensive experience in governance has included leading establishment boards as well as taking executive leadership roles in innovative projects and entities involving the early childhood, school and tertiary sectors.

This submission has been prepared with input from a range of community and professional voices, informally gathered.  The views expressed are, however, solely those of the author.





As the Taskforce prepares its final report, we recommend the following considerations:

  1. What is the specific change intended by the Taskforce? How will we know whether the changes proposed make a difference?  To signal purpose more clearly and link proposals to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and the government’s theme of ‘wellbeing’, we encourage the Taskforce to outline the Theory of Change that underpins its recommendations.
  2. Note that structural shift is explicit; but successful transition also implies attitudinal shifts. Mental models shape the way we respond to change. The Taskforce should note the narratives underlying sector responses in formulating its recommendations.
  3. Create a positive story for hubs as co-governance. Framing hubs as co-governance (Governance 2.0) sends an important signal about the difference between a bureaucratic approach (“we don’t need a big-brother system”) and an ako relationship that adds value to schools and cuts compliance and stress.  Making hubs politically acceptable requires an establishment process that looks and feels empowering to boards and principals, not disempowering.  The Taskforce could usefully explain how subsidiarity in education addresses parent and community engagement—critical elements for improvement in student achievement.  Hubs should be visibly not be like an office of the Ministry of Education.

Furthermore, international analysis of improving school systems suggests that the closer decisions about delivery are to the classroom door, the more effective they are.  For this reason, employment of staff should remain a responsibility of a Board of Trustees.

  1. Intentionally shape the culture of hubs. To remove the perception that the hubs are a re-cast form of the Ministry of Education, the Taskforce should recommend an establishment process that sits alongside—but is distinct from—the shifts to the roles of government agencies.  This submission recommends an Establishment Agency with suggestions for terms of reference/tasks.
  2. Review the constitution of hubs. Pivotal leadership in the reconfigured structures matters.  Hub boards should not become diffused by multiple interests or those with conflicts of interest.  They could take an electoral college approach to representation.  The Taskforce should also recommend to the Minister that hubs be permitted to take innovative approaches to service delivery; to illustrate—
    • collaborating and/or combining some services across hubs
    • establishing special purpose vehicles (SPVs – for example, for early childhood servicing/ support; and/or disability and learning support)
    • developing their own inquiry / research agendas to address local questions/issues
  3. Illustrate the work of hubs.  Delegation is an art—the sector must learn how to do this well. Hubs should be positioned not as governing bodies over boards of trustees, but as co-governing entities with special responsibilities.  This submission includes illustrations and case studies of how the work of hubs can become more than service delivery.
  4. Apply principles of equity to hub resourcing. This submission applauds the recommendation to reconsider the levels of funding targeted to equity efforts.  Extra funding should be located within hubs with stronger accountabilities related to outcomes.  The Taskforce could suggest (possibly contestable) funding for collaborative and innovative hub-led initiatives; and explore further the implications of a social investment approach as a starting point for discussions about funding.









This submission congratulates the Taskforce on its work and the courage it has shown in proposing Governance 2.0.   The analysis of the issues the system faces 24align with a variety of other analyses presented over the years since the introduction of the Tomorrow’s Schools model.  However, there is a glaring omission to the eight issues: the impact that technological disruption has on the lives of New Zealanders and how schools must respond.  Part 7 of this submission refers to the power of narrative in understanding how hubs add value to the work of educational institutions in responding to equity and excellence in a changing world.

Our particular interest is on the proposal to establish a new governance layer across a network of schools.  The framework provides an exciting opportunity to address the challenges of education networks in South Auckland and similar communities of high poverty and social disadvantage.   We strongly support Education Hubs as an effort to shift the current governance arrangements into a higher gear. In other words, to Governance 2.0.

We have applied an urban lens to the Taskforce’s proposals, recognising that hubs working alongside a large number of rural or small schools may focus on different issues than those working in an urban environment.


2.  SIGNAL purpose more clearly through a theory of change


  • What is the change that is intended by the Taskforce’s recommendations? The Taskforce identified eight issues that it sought to address.  Few in the education sector could dispute the issues that Taskforce raises with counter-evidence.  The issues shape a quarter-century of experience of a market model of education originally designed for flexibility and equity—but which has never been formally evaluated on its delivery of these goals.
  • Part of the rationale for review of the current model exists in the Taskforce’s reference to PISA and other international league tables. However, understanding the impact to be achieved, what triggers change, and understanding when the goal is within reach is more complex that league tables can provide.

The Taskforce proposes that we move from a fractured to a connected system; from a competitive to a collaborative system; from a system full of inequities to one that gives every child a ‘fair go’—without referring to the complex messaging received from the OECD and others which triggered the Kahui Ako policy.  The issues that triggered Kahui Ako remain.     However, evaluation and feedback from the Kahui Ako policy are not recorded.  Whether the Taskforce proposals will deliver needs testing against a clear statement of the intended destination.


  • Figure 2-3 expresses the de facto destination. The Taskforce seeks an education system that “embodies biculturalism and genuine equity and partnership between Maori, Pakeha and Tauiwi under Te Tiriti o Waitangi”.  The call from history teachers around Waitangi Day for a better understanding of our history was picked up by a variety of media and triggered much social comment.  While knowing more about the New Zealand Wars and the provisions in Te Tiriti o Waitangi is an obvious curriculum gap, there is no leadership around the vision for education in New Zealand (despite this being part of the rationale for the establishment of the Education Council, now Teaching Council; and despite the existence of purpose in the Education Act).  Like the compound lenses of a fly, the self-managing schools model creates multiple visions which may or may not support government or community objectives.   A strong vision is a long way from mandating multiple subjects or topics in an already-crowded curriculum.  Will the Taskforce’s changes to structures enable the system to develop into its vision? Or will it continue to express vision through the compound eyes of 2,500 boards of trustees and their principals—plus 20 hubs?
  • On defining wellbeing for education. The government’s ‘theme’ is improving wellbeing.  Wellbeing has international resonance.  It is included in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 4: Quality Education) which specifically references the elimination of educational disparities[1].   The Taskforce describes a “learning ecosystem that is constantly in learning mode”, coherent and easily understood, purposefully connected, nurturing of teachers and leaders, and equitably resourced.   The Education Act 1989 sets out the objectives for our education system (Section 1A,3) this way:
  • to focus on helping each child and young person to attain educational achievement to best of his or her potential; and
  • to promote the development, in each child and young person, of the following abilities and attributes:
    • resilience, determination, confident, and creative and critical thinking;
    • good social skills and the ability to form good relationships
    • participation in community life and fulfilment of civic and social responsibilities
    • preparedness for work; and
    • to instil in each child and young person an appreciation of the importance of the following:
      • the inclusion within society of different groups and persons with different personal characteristics:
      • the diversity of society:
      • cultural knowledge, identity and the different official languages;
      • the Treaty of Waitangi and te reo Maori.


  • How will we know whether the changes proposed make a difference? The Education Act describes a political settlement from competing and complex visions.  These deserve more than measures of student performance.  The advantage of expressing vision through a Theory of Change is that it enables later evaluation about whether the change delivers in the direction the government desires (and in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 4.)  It is a deliberate approach to the ‘wellbeing’ that government seeks, expressed in system objectives enshrined in law, and more rounded than test scores for international benchmarking.
  • A recommendation, therefore, is that the Taskforce note to the Minister the importance of linking change to wellbeing that includes the UN Sustainable Development Goal for Quality Education and the elimination of educational disparities; with clear goals and markers for shift through a Theory of Change.

3.  NOTE that structural shift is explicit; but transformation also requires attitudinal shifts


  • The levers proposed by the Taskforce represent a largely structural approach to system shift:
  • Reassigning the role of the Ministry of Education and central government agencies
  • Establishing Education Hubs
  • Reassigning the role of boards of trustees
  • Reviewing funding and systems approaches to delivery for certain groups
  • The Taskforce deserves congratulation for the bold step to Governance 2.0.

However, as John Kania, Mark Kramer and Peter Senge[2] write, structural changes are explicit; relationships & connections and power dynamics are semi-explicit; but the mental models system participants use to hold a system place are implicit.  The Taskforce’s levers propose explicit structural and semi-explicit policy and relational changes, but do not address the implicit shifts required.

  • Boards of trustees and mental models. How do we think about the system we already have?  Boards are positioned in the public mind and the education sector as an exercise in participatory democracy.  The narrative in support of boards of trustees is multi-layered.  It is built on nearly thirty years of thinking about schooling as a market and a set of competing institutions where parents can choose schools and civic-minded parents govern them.  It is tino rangatiratanga.  And mostly that works well.

Even if that isn’t quite accurate, that is the first embedded story.  (See also Figure 1-1).

Boards give parents important decision-making powers. Parents know what’s best for their child, and boards put parents in charge.  Parents are reassured by decision-making which puts ‘my child’ at the centre. Boards can employ who they want / pick the best teachers.  Self-governance gives principals professional independence and community status. 

These elements provide powerful support to the status quo.  Already the Taskforce’s reforms are being characterised as “recentralising some school governance” and “reducing parent power.”[3]  The narrative must and can change.

  • The second narrative relates to sector views about employment arrangements and accountability. The Taskforce report only lightly addresses the responsibilities of a hub in relation to boards of trustees and leaves unanswered the many questions sector professionals have about future processes, especially those around collective bargaining and professional autonomy. Whenever change is proposed, sector bogeymen appear.  One of these is stealthy privatization of public education or bulk-funding; another undermines excellence and entrepreneurial flair by (re)inserting under-qualified bureaucrats.  Bogeymen operate best in twilight—that is, in the absence of information.  Alternatives to the status quo are rarely offered.  It is defended as though the current system is perfect as it is.  The best response the Taskforce can make in support of its report is to shine a light on what hubs may do, how, and to focus on the role of hubs in improving the learning experience of students in classrooms.


4.   CREATE a positive story of co-governance


  • On subsidiarity. ‘Subsidiarity’ is the principle that a central authority should only do the things that can’t or shouldn’t be done at the local level.  Unless the evidence exists that a board of trustees is unable to perform a task because of its impacts on other parts of the system, then it should get the green light.  Delegation is an art, an act of judgement.  There is no explicit reference to the subsidiarity principle in the Taskforce’s report, but layered delegation – from a Ministry to a hub and from a hub to a board of trustees – may locate decisions where they can ‘best’ be made. However, the narrative for system participants must be that the system needs to shift so that parents are more empowered, not less, in making a difference to their children’s learning; and so that more students can achieve success.  The unequivocal message that trustees and parents need to hear is that boards are not to be abandoned; nor are they to have the most important decisions taken away from them.  Hubs are not there to make decisions for  Boards may be delegated powers of competence on a wide range of matters – and especially for curriculum design and student learning and achievement – for as long as they can show they can do this well.  There are many verbs to describe how this may work in practice (Figure 3-1).
  • What do empowered boards of trustees look like in practice? Framing Education Hubs as co-governance sends an important signal about the difference between a bureaucratic approach (“we don’t need a big-brother system”) and a tuakana-teina or ako-ako relationship that adds value to schools and cuts compliance and stress.
  • Effective family-school partnerships make a difference. The research about the contribution of parents to learning outcomes demonstrates how significant they are to individual student achievement and therefore system success[4].  However, the evidence about parent involvement through governance is less convincing than parent involvement through learning-focused partnerships. More parents attend parent-teacher evenings than vote in board elections!  The story about the parent and community role on boards of trustees needs to focus less on democratic participation, less on problems or issues, and maybe even less on equity — and more on the powerful family and community connections boards can and should bring to the table.   More emphasis should be placed on how the hubs can support boards to apply the evidence about family-school engagement consistently well in the school.  An Education Hub is not there to replace boards, but to build a ‘grassroots to treetops’ transformation: to support schools to engage with their community and create powerful connections for learning—as reinforcement of a child-focused, parent-partnership and inclusive system.
  • Making hubs politically acceptable requires an establishment process that looks and feels empowering to boards and principals, not disempowering. The Taskforce should note that perception can quickly become reality. Hubs could easily walk blindly into the story about ‘bureaucracy gone mad’.  The Taskforce’s recommendation that Education Hubs, like schools, become Crown Entities is a welcome shift away from the bureaucratic model.  Crown Entities are not Ministries.  Hubs address the sector’s discontent about the Ministry of Education.  However, the difference between a Crown Entity and ‘an arm of the Ministry’ needs to be expressly illustrated in the Taskforce’s report to the Minister.    Hubs can be and should be lean and nimble and adaptable, locally focused, publicly accountable but able to advocate for their networks and provide advice to government agencies.  The focus of the hub should be on the learning experience of students in their schools.  The hub’s key function is system learning so that all students can achieve.

However, hubs should also visibly be not like Ministries:  that is, led by people who are not refugees from the public service; who have legitimacy with professional colleagues and career parity; who are permitted to act on certain matters but without the ultimate powers of legal coercion or sanction that a Ministry has; and with functions more clearly drawn.  Their most important contribution will be in the moral leadership they exercise for the schools in their network or rohe.

  • The board of trustees as the employer of staff is one of those instances where school-based control should be retained. How challenging has the employment relationship been for boards?  The Taskforce report didn’t identify this as an issue.  In fact, the Taskforce notes that the responsibilities around “property, health and safety, finance and student discipline” (p39) were the issues particularly raised by principals and boards—not employment of teaching and support staff.    For the system to become nimbler and more flexible, only the pivotal employment of the principal should come under the purview of a hub—and only then in relation to requiring professional quality assurance for the appointment and performance management sign-off for the principal.

The bargaining associated with employment agreements could become a trap that leaves the Taskforce isolated.  Leave intact the national bargaining and existing employment agreements for principals, teachers and ancillary staff.  Leave employment conditions and teacher assignment to national labour market settings and the relationship between a hub and its boards.  Boards and principals need reassurance that the relationship between employer and employee is not undermined; and the approach illustrates a genuine co-governance approach.  That is, partnership rather than paternal oversight.



5.   INTENTIONALLY SHAPE the culture of hubs


  • To establish the Auckland Supercity, a mechanism for transition was needed. Seven local bodies in Auckland became one city through a fixed-life Transition Agency (a body corporate).  The Transition Agency’s role was expressed in legislation (Appendix 1 to this submission).
  • However, unlike the local government change in Auckland, the Taskforce does not propose dismantling all existing entities. The governance model proposed by the Taskforce is not a total redesign.     Significantly, boards of trustees will remain.  There will be changes to the structure and role of government agencies.  Only education hubs are new.

While structure of these three distinct parts of the system is important, the process for creating next-generation governance will be critical.  To remove the perception that the hubs are a re-cast form of the Ministry of Education, the Taskforce should recommend to the Minister an establishment process that sits alongside, but is distinct from, the shifts to the roles of government agencies. 

There should be a national, short-term Establishment Agency Board that reports to the Minister – with experience in start-ups and with broad professional credibility.  The Establishment Agency Board would appoint a Chief Executive with responsibility for delivering the Taskforce’s recommendations for Governance 2.0 through hubs.

  • The Terms of Reference / tasks could include (by way of illustration)
    • Defining hub membership and national distribution within legislative parameters;
    • Overseeing the establishment boards of hubs and working with them to identify a chief executive and key staff;
    • Ensuring that obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi are being met throughout the establishment process;
    • Negotiating start-up resourcing for the hubs;
    • Ensuring that start-up functions (for example, property and fit-out, hub policy and operational processes including for employment) are in place by a given date;
    • Providing backbone communications;
    • Establishing a framework for collective leadership capability-building among hub leaders;
    • Ensuring that system resources are equitably spread and/or re-allocated;
    • Identifying a monitoring programme that enables system assessment of hub performance;
    • Negotiating employment conditions that ensure leadership pathways are systemic and have parity with pathways in schools;
    • Reporting progress on establishment to the Minister/Secretary for Education.


The Terms of Reference should specifically exclude responsibility for the transition processes for government agencies (the Ministry of Education, ERO, etc) as recommended by the Taskforce.


6.   REVIEW the constitution of hubs


  • Pivotal leadership in the reconfigured structures matters. System leaders must be supported to ‘change the narrative’ if the issues identified by the report are to be properly addressed.  ‘How’ will be as important as ‘what’.  The process must support capacity development and capability-building – including shifting mental models for system leadership and management; as well as the maintenance of business-as-usual for students and teachers in schools.  Key positions in the new structure will be critical to achieving this:
  • the establishment chair of the board of the education hubs.
  • the establishment CEO of each education hub (and her/his senior leadership team).
  • the Chief Executive of the restructured Ministry of Education (and her/his senior leadership team).
    • The Taskforce proposes each hub as a Crown Entity with a board. The Taskforce recommends “a Ministerially appointed group of directors”.   This submission agrees that as a minimum the chair of each hub be a Ministerial appointment – at least at establishment.  Governance experience should be a requirement.  However, the requirement that the directors be “practising educators” is curious.  It sets up conflicts of interest.  It also dismisses experienced educationalists who are not employed by schools or universities or colleges of education.

To avoid the suggestion that the hubs are to be ‘clones’ of the Ministry, and to give effect to a genuine co-governance framework, this submission proposes that an electoral college be established for each hub.  It should include the board chairs of the schools within the hub plus a Ministerial advisor.  It should be responsible for the election of three further members of the hub board.  Nominees must meet agreed criteria set by the hub chair and endorsed by the Minister (to give effect to the critical need to have governance expertise) — and may or may not be practising educators.  To give effect to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, two board members should be nominated by mana whenua through a process determined by triennial hui.  Boards and the Minister should have the power to co-opt up to three others.  The constitution of the hub may be amended by application (in much the same manner as existing boards of trustees may apply for constitutional changes).


7.   ILLUSTRATE the work of hubs through storytelling


  • Like climate change, the technology revolution is upon us. The workforce of the future will look radically different to the one we have now.  While parents and schools legitimately worry about how much screen time is appropriate, system tools are changing far more rapidly than most people understand – that is, exponentially.  Artificial Intelligence (AI) is not ‘the future’.  It is here.  While teachers are still irreplaceable, his/her job and how she/he does it will change. AI educational ‘solutions’ are maturing rapidly, driving efficiency (in Student Management Systems, in assessment, for example).  AI also allows differentiation within classrooms (through intelligent instruction design and digital platforms for learners).  It also opens universal access for all students (for example, for those with visual or hearing impairments or those with language difficulties), or through tutoring and support outside the classroom.  What if formal education fails to catch up? What if the curriculum becomes irrelevant?

The responsibility of educators will be to “lessen the pain” that AI will inevitably create on families and society.  However, individual schools should not be expected to do this alone.  Hubs are ideally placed to create centres for local curriculum re-design that makes education more relevant to young people, rather than less and less relevant.  This doesn’t mean the schools won’t be able to redesign their curriculum themselves. It means that they won’t have to do it by themselves—without imposition of top-down curriculum rigidity.  The hubs will ideally be able to contract in experts or second in-school leaders as well as from the wider labour market to share good practice or to explore new approaches, perhaps adopting a ‘laboratory’ approach to curriculum design and pedagogical inquiry, for example.  The story of how a hub may shape innovation, excellence and equity alongside schools and with schools in the face of social disruption needs to be as central to the Taskforce’s report as the other eight issues.  This is more than service delivery:  this is harnessing local leadership and expertise for whole-of-network benefit – and to create a future-focused society that knows how to respond to AI.

  • In Auckland, where there could be five or more hubs, positioning them as only geographically-located entities may not be efficient use of resources. It should be possible for services (such as early childhood support services and disability and learning support) to be run from a collectively-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) established by the combined hubs of the city.  For example, one way of ensuring good practice in the work of Disability Learning Support Coordinators is to establish a service leadership role for Auckland, with reach across all collaborating hubs.    Effective establishment leadership will be critical to making this work.
  • On service delivery. Despite the requirement for strategic impact (“through a process of collaboration and co-design, develop a local area strategic and annual education plan…)  the Taskforce positions hubs as a Crown Entity for service delivery.  This does permit network-related services currently supported by regional offices of the Ministry of Education to be undertaken by hubs (for example, for early childhood licensing and support; or disability and learning support).  However, there is a danger that service delivery overwhelms the hub’s capacity to develop a strategic focus.  To avoid this, there needs to be some flexibility available to hubs about how services are to be delivered (i.e. process options).  Hubs could adopt innovative and entrepreneurial approaches as illustrated below:

Figure 7‑3

          However, hubs will need legislation that is enabling.  Otherwise, hubs will be subject to the same inertia (for example, on collaboration) that has plagued re-organisations and collaboration across schools over the last twenty-five years.



As an illustration of the potential of a hub to transform the support arrangements for student learning, see below for a narrative about Maori student achievement in South Auckland and the missing systemic connections to the workforce for the future.


Finally, service delivery and strategic support are distinct activities.  Hubs will operate more powerfully when they do not act as a governing body over schools, but alongside schools for as long as schools demonstrate competency in addressing and advancing government and community priorities (as 3.1 above argues).

  • The system is short of experience in delegation. Delegation has become fossilized in the education sector.  Boards of trustees have delegated powers from the Crown; but rarely delegate with or to others.  It is assumed that the legislation to establish education hubs would (explicitly) define their primary purpose in relation to school boards of trustees and the Ministry of Education. The report spends much time on the challenges of governance in the current model.  However, these concerns, legitimate and serious, need to be balanced against the danger of simply transferring system inflexibilities from one part of the system to another.

An illustration is in the employer role.  All employers, no matter their industry, will experience employment challenges.  Whatever entity becomes the legal ‘employer’ of staff, HR management resources are required.  In large schools, that is often the principal working with and alongside an Executive Officer.  In smaller schools, back-office resources are limited, so a hub may elect to provide those resources as part of a co-governance arrangement that ensures school boards and principals have the resources to manage the employer-employee relationship.   The evidence for how important it is that this is as close to the classroom door as possible is included in many international analyses of system success[5].  Here is where delegation becomes art—and why growing the capacity of hub leaders to define how and when delegation can be exercised and to manage it flexibly is so important.  This capacity—including the capacity of the Ministry of Education— is not widely present.  How can this be built?  An Establishment Agency can be a catalyst.

  • Defining co-governance[6] in the education sector context will be an evolving assignment for hub leaders. The Taskforce describes hubs as having a service orientation.  Effective hubs will deliver more than service.  They will co-construct collective approaches to network problems.  They may refine curriculum directions alongside the interests and capacities of the network.  They will maintain and enhance partnerships with iwi and hapu where individual boards and principals may not have the capacity to do so.   Hubs should look different across the country if they are to respond to local network need.  While legislation may define the existence of a hub, over time its approaches to network wellbeing and character will change (as 5.3 encourages), but its purpose and outcomes should be aligned to the vision for wellbeing as defined through government objectives (see 1.4 above).


8.  APPLY principles of equity to hub funding


  • Hubs should be applying principles of equity to their work. However, it is important that equity funding be applied to hub responsibilities also.

Hubs could consider using social investment tools and co-design labs (see 6 above) to explore ways in which educational outcomes can be better delivered.  The expertise for these processes is often available in local government or other social sector agencies; there is no reason why it cannot be applied in education too.  Locating additional investment in the hubs – rather than diffusing additional investment to schools – will be a better way of ensuring that funding is targeted and focused to outcomes endorsed by communities and stakeholders—and that it delivers measurable social impact.

  • A serious question facing the Taskforce is how its proposals are to be funded. Essentially, the rationale for investment in hubs must be about the release of currently-untapped potential within an education system that is yet to be future-ready and with demonstrably inequitable student outcomes. There are potential savings in collaborative procurement of educational goods and services that can be incentivised through the hubs.  Initiatives such as the Kahui Ako will require re-negotiation, particularly around the leadership roles within them and the support services accompanying the policy—for example, through expert partners, Ministry advisors, and professional learning providers.  These are not likely to provide significant up-front savings in the short term, since top-performing Kahui Ako provide excellent models for how collaboration can deliver transformation.

However, more than a cost-benefit analysis, the Taskforce needs to show the Minister why and how a different kind of investment (facilitated by structure, but really about process) will deliver transformation.  A social investment approach contrasts with traditional approaches to funding government activity, which tends to focus on ‘purchasing’ and ‘good value for money’ rather than valuing the outcomes achieved.  This submission does not go into the details of the theory and practice of social investment in this country[7].  However, the Taskforce may be interested in commissioning some background work from experts on social investment as it relates to its proposals.

  • The Taskforce should recommend (possibly contestable) funding for collaborative and innovative hub-led initiatives that illustrate future-readiness, equity and excellence. This can be managed centrally out of a fund specifically created for this purpose.  Models for such funding pools already exist, such as the Teaching and Learning Research Initiative (TLRI).
  • In conclusion, systemic fairness is about more than how dollars are distributed within the system. It is also about how knowledge and expertise is shared so that all learners benefit.






Appendix 1: the transition agency model – auckland council


The Transition Agency was established by the Local Government (Tamaki Makaurau Reorganisation) Act 2009 (“Reorganisation Act”) as a body corporate with perpetual succession on 25 May 2009. The Reorganisation Act also provided for the Transition Agency to be dissolved on the close of 31 October 2010. For the purposes of performing its functions or duties the Transition Agency was accorded full capacity to carry out or undertake any activity, do any act, or enter into any transaction. The governing body of the Transition Agency (referred to throughout this report as the “Transition Agency Board”) was to consist of a chairperson and no fewer than two and no more than five other members appointed by the Minister of Local Government. The Transition Agency Board was required to appoint a chief executive who had responsibility for advising the board, implementing its decisions, maintaining effective systems for planning and reporting, employing staff, and maintaining a governing body interests register. The Reorganisation Act prescribed the functions and duties of the Transition Agency, the first and foremost being to plan and manage all matters in relation to the reorganisation to ensure that Auckland Council was ready to function on and from 1 November 2010.

[1] By 2030, eliminate gender disparities in education and ensure equal access to all levels of education and vocational training for the vulnerable, including persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples and children in vulnerable situations


[2] John Kania, Mark Kramer, Peter Senge, June 2018: ‘The Water of Systems Change’, FSG.org.

[3] Jane Clifton in the New Zealand Listener, February 23 -March 1.

[4] Bishop et al

[5] For example, Barber, Chijoke and Mourshed, 2010: How the world’s most improved systems keep getting better.  McKinsey.

[6] See also the 2016 report of the Auditor-General on co-governance in the environment and other sectors.  https://www.oag.govt.nz/2016/co-governance/docs/co-governance-amended.pdf

[7] See, for example, https://treasury.govt.nz/information-and-services/state-sector-leadership/cross-agency-initiatives/social-investment ; the work of the Social Investment Agency https://sia.govt.nz ; and