april – may 2009
looks to a good future
by Tony Deavoll
Chairman, Canterbury Education Services Society Ltd
Arecent member of the NZ Cooperatives
Association, Canterbury Education Services
Society Ltd (CES) was established as a cooperative
in 1989 by 33 state secondary schools from the
Christchurch and Canterbury
area to take over the staff,
operations and business of
Secondary Schools’ Council
(CSSC). Like the education
boards, CSSC was a statutory
body which was abolished by the Education Act
1989, heralding the birth of “Tomorrow’s Schools”.
For many years, CSSC had handled administra-
tive matters for all state secondary schools in
Canterbury, on the West Coast and in North Otago.
Apart from a similar but much smaller council
in Wellington, CSSC was a unique organisation as
all other state schools in New Zealand were admin-
istered either directly by the Department of
Education or by regional education boards.
As a result, secondary schools in these areas had
long enjoyed a tradition of self-managed adminis-
tration and unity of purpose.
CES continues to offer a broad range of services.
More recent services added to the CES portfolio
have included developing and maintaining
schools’ asset registers, conducting triennial school
board membership elections, conferencing and
seminars, together with some property mainte-
nance and planning. At the last elections held early
in 2007, for example, CES managed the process for
some 120 schools around the country.
As an education service centre, CES was originally
one of 15 in New Zealand, albeit the only school-
owned one. In 1989, as the education reforms were
implemented, all education service centres except
CES received cash grants, interest-free non-
repayable loans and generous contracts from the
Ministry of Education. This initial inequity
strengthened the cooperative’s purpose and,
together with its long tradition of service and
expertise, has taken it to where i