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Banning of Bullrush in Schools

Mr Mathews made this Official Information request to Ministry of Education

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From: Mr Mathews

Dear Ministry of Education,

Has the banning of the lunchtime game "bullrush" in NZ schools ever been discussed at a Ministry of Education level? I'd like to know if this word has ever appeared in any Ministry of Education emails, policies, discussion documents or meeting agendas/summaries - and the context for it if so.

I have spoken to several school leaders and officials from across the country, including principals, who have told me that the instruction to ban Bullrush was issued by the Ministry of Education, possibly in collaboration with a former Minister.

I would also appreciate if your team could provide me with the legislation that allows schools/school leaders/teachers to explicitly control the activities and games that children engage in during morning tea and lunch breaks - I believe that under NZ law, these parties should not lawfully be allowed to stop children from engaging in whatever games they wish on their own free time.

Yours faithfully,
Mr Mathews

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From: Enquiries National

Tēnā koe mō tō īmēra mai ki te Tāhuhu o Thank you for your email to the
te Mātauranga.   Ministry of Education.  

     

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karere.   message.  

     

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tō īmēra.   as possible.  

 

  

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From: Enquiries National

Kia ora Mr Mathews,

Thank you for your request for information below. The Ministry will consider and respond to your request in accordance with the Official Information Act 1982 (the Act).

The Act allows up to 20 working days for a response, making 22 July 2022 the latest date for our response to you. If more than 20 working days are needed due to the potential workload involved in answering your request, we will notify you accordingly.

Please note, the Ministry may publicly release on our website the response to your request five days after you have received it. Any personal information will be removed.

In the interim, if you have any questions about your request, please email [email address].

Ngā mihi
Enquiries National Team
Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga | Ministry of Education
education.govt.nz

We shape an education system that delivers equitable and excellent outcomes
He mea tārai e mātou te mātauranga kia rangatira ai, kia mana taurite ai ōna huanga

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From: Enquiries National


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Tçnâ koe Mr Mathews

 

Thank you for your email of 23 June 2022 to the Ministry of Education (the
Ministry) requesting the following information:  

 

Has the banning of the lunchtime game "bullrush" in NZ schools ever been
discussed at a Ministry of Education level? I'd like to know if this word
has ever appeared in any Ministry of Education emails, policies,
discussion documents or meeting agendas/summaries - and the context for it
if so. 

 

I have spoken to several school leaders and officials from across the
country, including principals, who have told me that the instruction to
ban Bullrush was issued by the Ministry of Education, possibly in
collaboration with a former Minister. 

 

I would also appreciate if your team could provide me with the legislation
that allows schools/school leaders/teachers to explicitly control the
activities and games that children engage in during morning tea and lunch
breaks - I believe that under NZ law, these parties should not lawfully be
allowed to stop children from engaging in whatever games they wish on
their own free time. 

 

Your request has been considered under the Official Information Act 1982
(the Act).  

 

Schools are self-governing through their boards. While students are onsite
during the school day (including at break times), the board is responsible
for keeping them safe from risks to their health and safety.  

 

As the Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking (PCBU) under the
[1]Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA), the board holds the primary
duty of care to ensure the health and safety of everybody involved with
the school “so far as is reasonably practicable”. We provide guidance to
school boards and principals on the HSWA on our website at: [2]Health and
Safety at Work Act 2015: A practical guide for boards of trustees and
school leaders (education.govt.nz). 

 

In addition to the obligations that schools must meet under the HSWA,
section 127(1)(b)(i) of the [3]Education and Training Act 2020 (ETA)
states that a board’s primary objectives in governing a school include
ensuing that the school is a physically and emotionally safe place for all
students and staff. Section 131(1) of the ETA states that a board has
complete discretion to perform its functions and exercise its powers as it
sees fit.

 

We have made enquiries with the relevant Business Units within the
Ministry to see if we have provided advice or guidance to schools about
banning bullrush. As a result of the above-mentioned school governance
settings and the legislation underpinning it, we can confirm that no
direction, advice or guidance to ban bullrush came from the Ministry or
Minister. 

 

We have determined that a search through all emails, policies, or other
type of records held by the Ministry for the keyword ‘bullrush’ would
amount to substantial collation and research, and therefore must refuse
that part of your request under section 18(f) of the Act.  

 

Please note, the Ministry now proactively publishes OIA responses on our
website. As such, we may publish this response on our website after five
working days. Your name and contact details will be removed. 

 

Thank you again for your email. You have the right to ask an Ombudsman to
review our decision on your request, in accordance with section 28 of the
Act. You can do this by writing to [4][email address] or to
Office of the Ombudsman, PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143. 

  

Nâku noa, nâ,

Official and Parliamentary Information | Ministry of Education | ED

[5]education.govt.nz

He mea târai e mâtou te mâtauranga kia rangatira ai, kia mana taurite ai
ôna huanga
We shape an education system that delivers equitable and excellent
outcomes
[6]Te Tâhuhu o te Mâtauranga

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