The Hektionary

My Thinks has discovered a list of words and phrases used by staff at both the Ministry of Education and the Beehive which helps to understand what their minister is saying when she is speaking at public events, during ministerial briefings or caucus meetings. Officials have told us this list is completely unofficial and the minister is unaware of it, so please DO NOT tell her or release this list beyond the four secure walls of this Internet.
Maybe you’ve had some experience in a scenario involving the minister? Please do feel free to add your definitions and translations to the comments section below.


Achievement (n.) – incredibly easy to measure using a range of government-supplied tools written by people unlikely ever to set foot in a school/classroom.

Achievement Data – sets of data created by educators then compiled and sent to the Ministry of Education where it is then statistically altered and released to the media.

Attitude (n.) – what some teachers have too much of i.e. those teachers have a really bad attitude.

Barracks (n.) – a hostel at a partnership school.

Consultation (n.) – talking with all relevant stake-holders on any given issue before doing exactly what you were planning to do all along.

Devolution (n.) – a localised management system given to schools and communities through a marked policy shift in the late 1980s. Now considered to be huge barrier to implementing current reforms.

Education (n.) – something that happens in spite of children.

High Quality Teaching – teaching delivered by a teacher / computer programme which helps to raise student achievement outcomes once the data has been sent to the Ministry of Education (see Achievement Data).

Inclusiveness (adj.) – taking all parties ideas and thoughts into account, especially those parties who agree with all government policy ideas.

Invaluable (adj.) – advice given by people who agree with your ideas.

League Tables – rankings of schools based on decile and/or media favoritism.

National Standards – 1) a series of arbitrary points bearing no relation to learning or modern educational best-practice. 2) a policy based on those implemented in failed overseas jurisdictions which is incredibly easy to sell to parents and the media.

Overall Teacher Judgement (OTJ) – a general guestimate as to where a child lies against the national standard which is then put into a box on a form because ERO are coming in two weeks.

Partnership School – a privately owned but publicly funded educational organisation that enjoys a superior funding arrangement when compared with a publicly funded school yet enjoys all the secrecy afforded to a privately owned organisation or National Party donors’ club.

Priority Learner – someone identified as “well below” by a national standard OTJ whose overall funding allocation remains steady or falls dramatically (depending on whether the toilet needs fixing).

School (n.) – empty building on valuable re-zoned post-disaster land.

Stakeholder (n.) – anybody asking the minister for stuff.

Tomorrow’s Schools – yesterday’s news.

Twenty-first Century Learning – a concept that only exists in the minds of only the most forward thinking and uncontrollable of educators.

Union (n.) – a group of terrorists hell-bent on destroying education because their members care about children’s learning.

Please check back for regular updates to this working document.

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