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Dear Board, Principal, and Teacher

This Government is ambitious for all our children and young people. We know that many of our students are among the most successful in the world, but we also know that too many are falling behind. Nearly one in five of our young people leave school without the skills and qualifications they need to succeed. This has to change.

That’s why lifting student achievement is a key priority. Students need good literacy and numeracy skills to participate in the curriculum, to stay engaged in learning, to leave school with good options, and ultimately to succeed in the workforce.

The National Standards will enable us to improve student achievement by providing sound information about how students are progressing. Early identification of students who are falling behind will allow schools, teachers, and parents to make informed decisions about how to improve the students’ achievement and to provide additional support where appropriate.

New Zealand has a world-leading curriculum that sets out the vision, values, key competencies, and learning areas for our schools and students. Following consultation, we have aligned the National Standards more closely to the New Zealand Curriculum. The standards will focus the education system on foundation skills and will link expectations about student progress and achievement to the demands of the New Zealand Curriculum.

The standards have been designed so that a student who meets them is on track to succeed at NCEA Level 2.

Parents have told us that they want to know how well their children are doing at school – the good and the bad – and what they can do to help their education. So, from 2010, schools will report to parents, family, and whānau (in writing and in plain language) at least twice a year about their child’s progress and achievement in relation to the standards.

The reports will also outline the measures the school is taking to improve the student’s achievement and what parents could do at home to further support their child’s learning. From 2012, school annual reports will include data that shows progress and achievement in relation to the standards, for all students, against targets set in 2011 charters.

To support the implementation of the National Standards, a programme of professional learning, monitoring, and evaluation begins later this year. Information about professional development opportunities for principals and teachers is available from regional Ministry offices, School Support Services, and this website.

Many people have been involved in developing the standards, including Ministry staff, academics, and technical experts. Thousands of board members, principals, teachers, and parents also took part in the consultation.

My thanks go to everyone involved in this important work.

Hon. Anne Tolley
Minister of Education

Published on: 16 Oct 2009


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