Schools can use Na­tional Stan­dards

The Southland Times - - NEWS - JO MOIR

Schools that still want to use Na­tional Stan­dards to re­port a child’s progress to par­ents can con­tinue to do so – de­spite the Gov­ern­ment say­ing they will scrap them.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Chris Hip­kins has con­firmed Na­tional Stan­dards would no longer ex­ist, but any school that wanted to use them as a tool to re­port progress would not be forced to stop do­ing so.

‘‘We’re go­ing to re­quire schools to re­port child progress against the cur­ricu­lum. What tools they use to do that is up to them.

‘‘One of the crit­i­cisms of Na­tional Stan­dards is that they’re not a good progress mea­sure. Some schools have al­ready de­vel­oped work-arounds to ac­tu­ally re­port progress against Na­tional Stan­dards,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t want to stop them us­ing a sys­tem they’ve al­ready got in place if it’s mea­sur­ing progress.’’

Hip­kins com­ments have sur­prised Na­tional’s ed­u­ca­tion spokes­woman Nikki Kaye who says the Labour Party ‘‘stated very pub­licly for a long time that the pol­icy was to scrap them and now they’re say­ing some schools can keep them’’.

‘‘That’s con­fus­ing for par­ents and schools.’’

Given this is one of the ‘‘largest changes in the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem’’ in some time, Kaye says schools and par­ents need ‘‘clar­ity’’ around what the new sys­tem will be.

Labour cam­paigned hard on scrap­ping Na­tional Stan­dards in the lead-up to the Septem­ber elec- tion on the ba­sis they were nei­ther ‘‘na­tional nor stan­dard’’.

‘‘They’ve ba­si­cally be­come a com­pli­ance, form-fill­ing ex­er­cise, that’s re­sulted in an enor­mous in­crease in teacher work­load with­out any real in­crease in stu­dent achieve­ment, so we think we can ease that,’’ Hip­kins said in July.

‘‘The very best thing that par­ents can do if they want to know how their kids are do­ing is have a con­ver­sa­tion with their kids’ teach­ers.’’

Yes­ter­day, Hip­kins said there would no longer be a na­tional mod­er­a­tion of Na­tional Stan­dards, which he said re­search had shown to not be ‘‘par­tic­u­larly re­li­able’’.

But he said what schools do with Na­tional Stan­dards was ‘‘en­tirely up to them’’ and the Gov­ern­ment wasn’t go­ing to ‘‘force them to stop do­ing what they’ve been do­ing’’. He ex­pected ‘‘very few’’ schools would con­tinue to use Na­tional Stan­dards for re­port­ing.

‘‘We’re de­vel­op­ing a much higher trust model that says to schools they can make their own choices about what tools they use to re­port child progress to par­ents.’’

He re­jected the idea that two sys­tems be­ing avail­able for schools would com­pli­cate things for teach­ers, par­ents and stu­dents.

‘‘It’s not two dif­fer­ent sys­tems be­cause the re­quire­ment from us is go­ing to be more broad.

‘‘It’s go­ing to be about re­port­ing progress against the whole cur­ricu­lum and what tools schools use to do that will be en­tirely up to them.’’

Chris Hip­kins

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