Proprietors and Principals of state integrated Schools embrace opportunity to meet with Education Minister
Proprietors and principals of state integrated schools flew into Wellington from around the country yesterday to meet with the Minister of Education, Hon Chris Hipkins and Associate Minister, Hon Jenny Salesa. The meeting was coordinated by the New Zealand Catholic Education Office (NZCEO) and drew together almost 100 from the state integrated school sector from around New Zealand. The gathering was a welcome call for what is a large portion of the education sector. There was significant interest by those in the field to hear first-hand about the Government's planned review of state integrated schools due to begin next year.
Associate Minister Salesa started the morning’s discussion by expressing the government’s commitment to working collaboratively with state integrated schools, a sentiment echoed by Minister Hipkins who reiterated the significant funding challenges faced by the education sector. He provided reassurance to those present by saying that he saw state integrated schools as playing a vitally important role in the New Zealand education system and affirmed the government’s commitment to support the growth of state integrated schools.
Much discussion among those present centred on the relationship between this government and state integrated schools. This included how the schools can play a greater role in sharing the educational aspirations of the government and what key actions the government can take to support the work of proprietors of state integrated schools.
The Minister reiterated the need for dialogue and collaboration between the sector and the government in ensuring complementary and sustainable growth.
At the meeting’s conclusion, NZCEO Director, Paul Ferris commented that “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 was inevitably a fundamental part of the wider discussions.”
 A state-integrated school is a former private school which has integrated into the state education system under the Private Schools Conditional Integration Act 1975, becoming a state school while retaining its special character.