Network News and Events 2016

Equity through Education Symposium

The Equity Through Education Symposium on 17 February 2016 focused on identifying challenges and solutions for achieving equity through education, and on identifying a future research and advocacy platform in New Zealand that will address these important challenges.

The Symposium, held on the Massey University Albany campus, featured national and international keynote speakers sharing their insights into important issues:

Children’s Rights, Equity and Education: What Not To Do, Professor Laura Lundy, Centre for Children’s Rights, Queen’s University, Belfast

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child represents the world’s governments’ views as to what equity is or should be for children and their education. Like all human rights treaties, this vision is grounded in the principles of equality and dignity.  The standards the Convention sets for the aims of education are ambitious and, on the face of it, uncontentious. However, the reality for many children is markedly different. In their experiences and perspectives lie rich insights into breaches of children’s rights and thus inequity. This presentation will draw on previous research with children, including findings from a recent study that sought children’s views on public spending for the realisation of their rights in 71 different national contexts. The intention is to shed light on ‘what not to do’ on issues such as admissions, curriculum, examinations and school discipline from the perspective of children themselves.

Professor Laura Lundy

Professor Laura Lundy

Professor Laura Lundy is Professor of Education Law and Children’s Rights and the Director of the Centre for Children’s Rights at Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland ( Her expertise is in law and children’s rights, with a particular focus on children’s education rights and their right to participate in decision-making. Her 2007 paper conceptualising Article 12 of the UNCRC is one of the most highly cited academic papers on children’s rights and the model of participation it proposes (based on four key concepts: Space, Voice, Audience and Influence) has been used globally by policy makers and practitioners. She has extensive practical experience of rights-based, participatory research and consultation with children of all ages and has provided training and consultancy to a range of international organisations including the Committee on the Rights of the Child, the Council of Europe and Child Rights Connect.


“Human Beings or Human Becomings?” Achieving Equity for Juveniles in the Justice System Professor Chris Gallavin, Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Massey University, New Zealand.

As subjects in our justice system children hold a precarious position. Often objects of the system rather than subjects, children are necessarily reliant upon adults for the enforcement and protection of the rights and privileges that accrue with citizenship. Ensuring equity for children is likewise a task more for adults than children themselves. Whilst a paternalistic approach to child welfare in our society is often a necessity more needs to be done to empower juveniles with the skills and responsibilities of citizenship and standing up for themselves. Programmes such as Law in Schools along with civics and global citizenship programmes are, I believe, key to the development of self-empowered young people who know their rights and their obligations and are therefore able to increasingly enforce their own equity within our society.

Professor Chris Gallavin

Professor Chris Gallavin

Chris Gallavin joined Massey as a Professor and the Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences in October 2015. He obtained an LLB degree, first class honours, from the University of Canterbury in 2002 and a Ph.D in international criminal law from Hull University, England in 2004. Prior to starting at Massey Chris was the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Canterbury between 2012 and 2015. Whilst Dean he established New Zealand’s first comprehensive clinical legal programme that had LLB students working with the community as part of their legal training. Chris is also a Barrister and regularly champions public interest causes. In 2015 he led a group of lawyers, sociologists, investigators and students to established the New Zealand Public Interest Group. This group is charged with taking on miscarriage cases in the criminal jurisdiction and public interest cases in the civil jurisdiction. He is a well-known media commentator on matters of human rights and criminal justice and in 2014 was awarded a Local Hero Award as part of the New Zealander of the Year Awards for services to the community. Chris has published extensively in the areas of criminal justice and is a charismatic supporter of academics as public intellectuals helping to raise the collective understanding of the public concerning key issues facing society. An avid performance poet, Chris has a facebook poetry page with in excess of 670 followers;


The Challenge of Placing Student/Youth Voice at the Centre of Research into Educational Equity, Emeritus Professor John Smyth, Visiting Professor of Education and Social Justice, School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, United Kingdom.

This paper will explore how we might place student/youth voice at the centre of a reinvigorated approach to research on social justice and educational equity in schools and young lives. It will focus on three questions:

  • Why student/youth voice?
  • What do we mean by a voiced approach to educational research?
  • What are the challenges/possibilities in doing voiced research?

The thematic focus will be upon lessons I have learned from more than four decades of researching young people from contexts that have put them at a disadvantage.

Emeritus Professor John Smyth

Emeritus Professor John Smyth

John Smyth was appointed Visiting Professor of Education and Social Justice at the University of Huddersfield in 2015. He has previously held professorships and visiting professorships in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK, and is a former Senior Fulbright Scholar. John is the author or co-author of 30 academic books, and over 130 papers in peer-reviewed academic journals, and 80 book chapters. He has been principal investigator or co-investigator for over 70 major research projects funded by bodies based in Australia, Canada, Malaysia, New Zealand, the UK and the USA, and is recognised as one of the world’s leading critical scholars. John has served on editorial boards for over 20 leading academic journals; refereed funding applications for a range of bodies in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, and the USA; and acted as an expert consultant to universities and government bodies in a number of countries. John’s research interests include the sociology of youth; school and community capacity building; critical pedagogy; educational leadership; and the lives of students and teachers, especially those working in challenging circumstances.


Student Voices of Equity in Education, Laura Swan, Georgia Ward and Stasia Tongatule with students from Massey High School

In this presentation, students from Massey High School’s Summit Programme will share their learning journeys, perspectives on and opinions about the importance of education equity for gifted and talented learners. The students, supported by Massey High School’s Gifted and Talented Co-ordinator, will also share how the structure of the Summit programme works to improve, develop and support equitable opportunities for gifted learners at Massey High School.

There will also be presentations and roundtable conversations with practitioners and researchers from centres and schools, the Ministry of Education, NGOs and private providers about important topics like culture, families, health, poverty, and ability and disability.

To find out more about the symposium, please email Marti Robinson



Book Launch

The Equity through Education Symposium will host the launch of two new books critical to this field. For more information see:

  1. Beva-Brown, J.  & Dhara, V.(Eds) ….(Link to pdf coming)
  2. MacFarlane, A., MacFarlane, S. & Webber, M.  (Ed) Sociocultural Realities: Exploring New Horizons