Alwyn Poole 

Founded and was the head of Mt Hobson Middle School in Auckland for 18 years. MH Academy is now an in person private school for Years 11–13. There is now a nationwide online provision called Mt Hobson Academy Connected for Years 1–13.


When the school attendance crisis became fully evident the, then, Minister of Education (Hipkins), blamed parents and said it was up to them to get them to school. He dared not blame the schools.

In opposition Seymour was fierce and inspiring. Parents were to be given enough money each year so as to be able to choose their ECE and school. School had to improve or shut down. The Ministry of Education was going to go from 4,400 staff back to the pre-2018 number of 2,700 – which was already bizarrely inflated with seat warmers.

In government that lion has turned 180 degrees (baaa). The Ministry of Education has not yet shed an employee and are one of Seeks best customers. None of the disastrous top 12 have been sent to Ukraine. There is nothing yet about parents having their choices enhanced. And – Seymour’s solution to the education crisis is more quickly publishing system-wide data – when it needs to be school by school every week – and he is going to fine parents.

David suddenly seems afraid of the unions and the schools. ACT is the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers. They used to stand for small government. They used to stand for families and not against them. I took my three children to Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan when they were at primary school. They missed some school but learned a year’s worth of experience. I would not be paying a fine and neither will anyone else.

In NZ schools and teachers have lost a big segment of the room. We have 2,600 school [pupils] and a large portion of those I would not be advising any parent to simply send them along without a lot of due diligence and complete assurance that their child will be taught well and be free from bullying form the BoT, principal, teachers and other children.

Forcing children back into school is no solution. As a good friend states – the school is often the source of a child’s trauma. If the only reason a child is at school is that the parent has been fined… how do you think that will turn out?

The solution is almost all school based.

The bottom lines:

  • teachers need to become people the vast majority of young people (and their parents) want to learn from. They need to be well qualified and primary teachers (by their own admission) are not confident in math and science: they need to do NCEA L2 in both.
  • schools need to be seen as being highly purposeful and safe – good places to be EVERY day.
  • schools and teachers need to win back credibility by being open every day. No teacher-only days (especially on the Thursday before Good Friday), strikes, or parent teacher interviews in school time after sending the kids home (a really weird development).
  • NCEA/NZQA needs to regain full credibility as a qualification worth striving for. Postponing improvement for a few years is kicking the can down the road. Seymour and Stanford need to employ the very best people and have everything flying in 2026… it is not that hard!
  • much of our emphasis needs to be different. I love sport but some of it has gone well over the top. The high quality boys school – St Peters in Epsom – has their leavers graduating with UE at 93 per cent (Auckland Grammar at 74 per cent).  The provincial boys schools who call themselves the Super 8 have a low of 14.3 per cent, Rotorua Boys, and a high of 42 per cent, Napier Boys. But if their 1st XV has had a good year, all is chipper.

Seymour’s hair colour may differ from that of Hipkins’ but, so far, it is a NCEA style “Not Achieved” for the Associate Minister.

Alwyn Poole
Innovative Education Consultants

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