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New Zealand Broadcasting School (NZBS) investigation – October 2022 update

On May 5th, 2022, the independent investigation report of the NZBS was publicly released. Following the release Ara announced it would implement the 61 recommendations in the report.

Ara provided an update on progress in July 2022 and committed to providing a subsequent update in October 2022. This update has been delayed slightly to ensure that all activity to the end of October has been included. 

You can find more detail on implementation progress below. 

Darren Mitchell, General Manager says he is pleased with the extent of progress made. 

“It’s gratifying to see that our dedication to this mahi has remained strong despite our challenging operating environment this year,” he adds. 

Mitchell explains that much of the implementation work to date has involved developing or updating Ara policies, processes and systems.  

“Now our policy work is complete, our focus has moved to bringing the policies to life through raising awareness, providing training and reinforcing knowledge via regular reminders to all Ara ākonga and kaimahi,” he says.  

“Thank you to the NZBS team and their Ara colleagues who are involved in and committed to this programme of action. I know we’re all determined to bring about change." 

A further update will be shared in March 2023. 

Progress against recommendations: 

  1. The following policies, procedures and forms have been created or updated:  
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  2. The tools and system for making policies easier to find and read have been implemented, including upgrades to www.ara.ac.nz and the MyAra student portal. Guidance on how to use the policies and support tools have been released and publicised to ensure ākonga and kaimahi understand how and where to access the new resources.
  3. The Rules and Regulations and the Wellbeing Section of the Ōtautahi House Handbook have been updated. Workshops have been held with residents so they know how to identify acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.  
  4. Bullying and harassment training is well advanced for all Ara kaimahi and will now be included as an induction module.
  5. An on-line anonymous disclosure and notification system called InformUs has been implemented and launched. Systems and procedures have been implemented to track and analyse the issues raised in this system. 
  6. A review of the delivery of the Bachelor of Broadcasting Communications programme has been completed and significant changes have been made to support the implementation of the review recommendations. These changes include extending the academic part of the programme and extending the degree to a three-year time frame, reviewing the delivery structure and changing the professional practice assessments.
  7. Work is progressing to ensure ākonga are appropriately supported during Professional Placements. This includes appointing a Professional Placement Lead and implementing a placement management system to ensure communication, tracking and reporting capabilities are available. 
  8. Ara’s mental health services have been reviewed, resulting in several changes, including expanding the range of services offered and making changes to service availability. 
  9. NZBS kaimahi have completed several training modules including bullying, harassment and bystander modules, accessing disability and other support services, leadership development and building resilience. More are scheduled, including fostering healthy student relations and Gen Z training. 
  10. NZBS kaimahi professional development placements will begin in 2023.
  11. A Māori Achievement Plan is in development for NZBS (due November 2022). The plan will concentrate on key focus areas of Ara’s Framework for Māori Achievement, including integrating kaupapa Māori in curriculum, enabling access to kaupapa Māori expertise in delivery, and raising kaupapa Māori capability of kaimahi. Its overarching purpose is to improve the experience and outcomes of Māori ākonga in a way that are beneficial for all learners. 

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