Tinetti’s teaser – to whom was she talking when she delivered a Moot Speech about teaching and truancy?

Our Beehive bulletin

Oh goody – a guessing game has been provided by the clever people who post announcements, speeches and what-have-you on the Beehive website.

It was delivered in the name of Associate Education Minister Jan Tinetti – by her press secretary, perhaps? – in the form of a teasing headline.

Learning Support, Curriculum, Attendance – NZPF Moot Speech

NZPF?  Which one?

We put the challenge aside while checking out the other news from the Beehive,

  • Amelia Setefano and Marina McCartney have been selected as inaugural recipients of the Ministry of Education’s Tagaloa scholarship, which supports Pacific Doctorate and Masters study.
  • Three Auckland schools are benefitting from a $1.3 billion nationwide school redevelopment programme. May Road School, Onehunga Primary School and Albany Primary School are getting new classrooms to replace those in poor condition, and will benefit from investment in projects to support expected increases in student numbers.

And now to identifying the audience to whom Tinetti delivered her NZPF Moot Speech.

The possibilities (because you could say learning and attendance are involved in all of them) include: 

  • The New Zealand Powerlifting Federation;
  • The NZ Philatelic Federation:
  • The New Zealand Parachute Federation;

And (drum roll please)

  • The New Zealand Principals’ Federation

The word “federation” does not appear in Tinetti’s text.

But an eagle-eyed member of our team noted that education was common to each of the other two Beehive posts.

Moreover, Tinetti gives a clue early in the speech:

“I was a proud NZPF member for 20 years and while I don’t want to sound like I’m glossing over just how hard being a principal is I am still maintain my time as a principal was the biggest of privileges.”

Yeah, we know there’s a grammatical issue in there.

More important for the purposes of this post, there are two mentions of “principal”.

There are two subsequent mentions of that word in the 2680 (or so) words of the speech.

She says the Urgent Response Fund has provided $50 million in 2020/21 to support children and young people

“ … who need extra help with new, locally developed solutions to the student attendance and engagement challenge”.

This – we imagine – is a modern educator’s way of referring to the challenge of persuading reluctant young ‘uns to go to school and learn.

The fund is available to schools, kura and “early learning services me ngā kōhanga reo” [we suppose her audience knows what  these services entail]  to help address attendance issues, support wellbeing, cultural wellbeing and re-engagement in learning.

The URF can be used for school-wide activities to support attendance and student welfare, or for individual students or groups of young people.

In some schools, the fund is enabling teachers, teacher aides, principals [there we go, folks] and/or kaumatua to visit the homes of their students to provide assurance around safety and support at school, and to connect to additional wellbeing support where needed.

A great deal of effort obviously goes into making our schools student-friendly to discourage truancy.

Back in our day six of the best usually did the trick.

The final mention of principals came during a rundown on a literacy strategy designed

“ … to identify how we strengthen progress along the learning pathway and address literacy issues for all learners, and in particular those that are considered at-risk.”

The learning pathway?  Is that another way of saying “schools”?

Anyway, Tinetti went on to say –

“The government will be working closely with literacy and mathematics practitioner working groups, including principals, like yourselves and teachers, and taking a fresh look at our guidance to make sure it’s up-to date and can meet the needs of our diverse population.”

So now we are confident we know the nature of the audience, we suggest that – if you are interested in what’s going on with these aspects of education policy – you can go to the full speech in the link below.

But here at Point of Order, we relished what came early in the speech.

“I’ve been to a few moots in my time in Education and I remember feeling quite…  sceptical about the things said from various Ministers at this podium when I sat where you are.

“So I was careful in planning what I wanted to say in this speech. To loosely quote one of my favourite, if not recently controversial philosophers, Dr Seuss – I want to say what I mean and mean what I say.”

We hope it worked.  He is a favourite here, too, but – as the Minister acknowledged – he has been in bad odour in recent times.

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