Plan for school app ‘overkill’
Parents are not convinced that a plan that would allow them to track their child’s progress through an app would be worth the effort.
Prime Minister Bill English announced a raft of initiatives, including one to be called National Standards Plus.
It would allow parents more information on how their primary school children were tracking, accessible through an app.
The announcement also included digital learning for senior students, more resource to raise primary school achievement in maths, and a promise that primary school students could learn a second language if they wanted to.
But parents spoken to thought the idea was a bit of ‘‘overkill’’, and that National could be spending money on more important things.
Wellington parent Ali Quinn said it appeared the party was trying to solve a problem that did not necessarily exist.
Talking to teachers, and the children themselves, told parents more than an app could.
There were probably lots of other better places to spend the money, Quinn said. He said he would use the app if there was one available, but not religiously.
Parents did not need that level of granular knowledge.
‘‘Kids will fall behind and kids will get ahead. If you monitor it too much you’ll get carried away with it.’’
Parent Rebecca Woodmore said she too would use the app now and then if it was available, but also believed there were more important priorities.
She had specifically sent her children to a small school, so she could have one-on-one conversations with teachers. It might be different once her children got to a high school with far more students, and needed to track NCEA results.
New Zealand Principals Federation president Whetu Cormick said parents picking up a mobile phone was not an answer to a lack of progress in National Standards achievement.
He said schools were already telling parents how their children were doing in class, but National was out of touch with the realities of what schools were facing in terms of severe behaviours from children, and problems in accessing learning support.
Mother Karen Fletcher said the idea sounded like the government was trying to come up with something new around National Standards.
She did not think the idea of parents getting updates on their child’s progress through an app was very useful, and said a conversation with teachers was far more important.
‘‘Being sent essentially a pass or fail or that your kid is achieving or not achieving online is not very helpful, it puts stress on parents and the kids.’’
Education Minister Nikki Kaye said the policy was not about replacing face-to-face meetings in schools, but giving more comprehensive information to families, and letting them get that information in a convenient way.
The Government was also ending the decile system, which would allow it to better target funding to schools with children and young people at risk of not achieving due to disadvantage.