Education change plans and pressures

New Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has outlined a number of significant changes, most of which will please teacher groups, but he may not be so pleased with threats if large pay increases aren’t quickly forthcoming .

NZH:  Labour’s education plans revealed: Primary school league tables axed, big NCEA shakeup

Labour’s plans (which often seem to be teacher union plans) have become Government plans.

Primary school league tables will be axed, and high-school exams are in for a big shake-up as the new Labour-led Government moves to make schools focus on learning rather than assessment.

New Education Minister Chris Hipkins, in an interview with the Herald, says Primary schools will still have to report to parents on individual children’s progress against the eight levels of the curriculum, which most children cover during their 13 years at primary and secondary schools.

But National Standards, which set out levels of literacy and numeracy for Years 1 to 8, will be abolished and schools will be free to choose their own ways of assessing children’s progress.

He has also signalled a review of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in secondary schools aimed partly at encouraging students not to enter NCEA three years in a row.

He plans to announce terms of reference for the review before Christmas and hopes it will free up students to learn about each learning area, rather than only what they need to pass NCEA.

Axing national standards may be unpopular with parents. A Herald poll when the standards were introduced in 2010 found that 73 per cent of parents with school-age children supported them.

But national standards are unpopular with teachers, who traditionally have close ties with Labour.

Also from NZH:  Govt will act on teacher shortage crisis before Christmas – Hipkins

The new Labour-led Government plans a package of measures before Christmas to overcome teacher shortages which have hit record levels in Auckland primary schools.

The package will be “one of the high priorities for the next few weeks”, new Education Minister Chris Hipkins told the Herald.

Teacher unions have foreshadowed claims for big pay increases next year including a proposal by the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) for an extra allowance in all areas where median house prices exceed seven times the top of the teachers’ basic salary scale.

Hipkins declined to be drawn on any such allowance and said teachers should not expect “unreasonable” pay rises.

“I recognise that wages have been constrained over the last decade, but I think people need to be reasonable about that,” he said.

“An incoming Government can’t suddenly catch up with a whole decade’s underfunding, so I want teachers to be realistic in their expectations. Certainly they will have a Government that recognises the pay pressures and wants to act in good faith with them.”

Teachers have been quick off the mark with large pay claims:  Teachers warn of strikes as they seek 14.5 per cent pay rise

Teacher unions are warning of likely strikes to seek pay rises costing “hundreds of millions of dollars”, including an extra allowance for teaching in areas of expensive housing such as Auckland.

Primary and early childhood teachers in the NZ Educational Institute (NZEI) agreed in Rotorua this morning to hold paid union meetings in the first term of next year to finalise claims for what executive member Liam Rutherford described as a “seismic shift” in pay rates when their current agreements expire next May and June.

There is a lot for Hipkins to do, both in fulfilling policy promises and also in dealing with what appears to be opportunistic pressures from teacher groups.


  1. Ray

     /  October 31, 2017

    Just pay back time for the Unions support, Hipkins is a tool of the union and has zero interest in childrens education, just watch the 20% tail ( no change) and the demands for more pay.
    The Charter schools that were attempt to deal with the tail will go and the definition of a child will be a “kid” .
    Oh and did I mention actual time teaching will fall but wages will go up!

    • Blazer

       /  October 31, 2017

      Where did you get your crystal ball Ray…from the $2 shop?

      • PDB

         /  October 31, 2017

        Education did just that under Helen – went to shit with no accountability and no way for parents to see how well (or not) their children and/or school are performing.

        National standards were brought in with heavy parent support – polls at the time around 70% in favour.

        • duperez

           /  October 31, 2017

          Our kids were at various schools “under Helen.” There was no way for us to see and know how well they were performing? And their mates? Or get into their schools and see how well they were going?

          It is instructive that in a post about education a number of the posts have so much uneducated, partisan nonsense.

          • PDB

             /  October 31, 2017

            “It is instructive that in a post about education a number of the posts have so much uneducated, partisan nonsense.”

            I agree – pity you can’t edit or delete your post.

            • duperez

               /  October 31, 2017

              Normally I would find it hard to understand someone writing such tosh as before National Standards there being no way for parents to see how well (or not) their children were performing at school and/or how schools were performing.

              When the stance is so hidebound political not so.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  October 31, 2017

              The only real way was when the national exams were sat. And that was too late for most.

    • duperez

       /  October 31, 2017

      So Hipkins has “zero interest in children’s education.” You know that how?

      (Because I haven’t commented on the other bits doesn’t mean I agree with them, it’s just that this clear statement is the one which needs explaining most. It could be that you have ‘insider information.)

      • PDB

         /  October 31, 2017

        Maybe because he has promised to shut down partnership schools based on blind ideology rather than school performance, the needs of its students or the wishes of parents?

      • Ray

         /  October 31, 2017

        PDB clearly states the reasons, Hipkins and his union mates don’t seem to care that 20% children are failed by the education system, their only reply is if we paid the teachers more, gave them even less time with the students and don’t check pupils results against a national average everything will be ok.
        The fact they call the pupils, students “kids” is proof enough for me.
        Kids tend to be other people’s children or baby goats!

  2. Gerrit

     /  October 31, 2017

    Interesting that all those decisions based on how to learn and the measure (or lack off) of attainment are all done without a single reference to the major stakeholder. The children and their parents.

    Don’t parents count in the Labour/NZ First/Green government?

    • Trevors_elbow

       /  October 31, 2017

      No the parents dont count. Its about the teachers and their unions agenda…

    • Fight4NZ

       /  October 31, 2017

      Yeh. I gear ya. It’s like 90% of the population aren’t relevant under a National economic plan.

  3. Trevors_elbow

     /  October 31, 2017

    Fovus on learning and not assessment…… so if no assessment is done we just just assume that the teaching programme has successfully taught the pupils receiving the lessons?

    In the real world you are judged on delivery and outcomes…. (cue blazer whining about executive pay as a diversion)… but teachers want more of the no pressure, no assessment regime with straight acceptance of their subjective judgment of outcomes with little objective testing…. brilliant…

  4. robertguyton

     /  October 31, 2017

    Canning National Standards and league tables?
    Decisive move from the Government – didn’t waste any time, did the right thing.
    This bodes very, very well 🙂

    • High Flying Duck

       /  October 31, 2017

      Participation certificates for everyone! Hurrah!

    • Gezza

       /  November 1, 2017

      This bodes very, very well 🙂
      In what way robert? It bodes well for who, & how?

  5. PDB

     /  October 31, 2017

    Scoop: “Wellington teacher Charles Bisley was at the forefront of opposition to the standards when they were introduced eight years ago. He said he was delighted the standards would be abolished because they focused too much attention on a small part of the curriculum”.

    Yes, reading, writing and maths are pretty minor things…National Standards should remain but be modified.

    “Another opponent of the standards, the principal of Hastings Intermediate School, Perry Rush, said principals and teachers around the country had been telling him they were excited that the standards would soon be dropped.
    “What national standards did to learning was reduce the capacity for teachers to be creative and to value learning outside of the core curriculum and we see a lot of excitement that teachers are now able to get back to having a broad and open curriculum,” he said.”

    From day one when they were introduced the teacher’s union said its members would basically just give the students the answers & bypass the learning process in order to reach the National Standard requirements. The union is for the good of its members not the good of the students.

    Teachers will be excited by the prospect that they are not going to be held more accountable for their students progress under this new govt in key learning areas such as maths, reading and writing – especially with a big pay rise to boot. No doubt student failures in these subjects will be offset by high grades in far left-wing ideological studies.

  6. robertguyton

     /  October 31, 2017

    Under National, our international ratings for education were rapidly falling. Parata, Tolley et al made a complete hash of their jobs. Thank heavens they’re gone! Suffered, the little children!

    • I’ll not bother to take you on for your unproven, wide ranging dissing.

      I will say that with the Charter Schools National/Act made a profound difference in the lives of many children. Children, who otherwise, would have been marginalised even further than they were by the rigid inflexibility of NZ’s state system. The state structure with it’s one size fits all is at odds with the variety and choice needed to match the broad needs of our diverse cultural and economic demographic.

      • duperez

         /  October 31, 2017

        If you are saying that the Charter Schools in Whangarei are populated mainly with “children who otherwise would have been marginalised even further than they were by the rigid inflexibility of NZ’s state system” you are wrong.

    • Gerrit

       /  October 31, 2017

      Problem is Robert that under the new regime you will never be able to set a standard of where education is in New Zealand as no curriculum will be taught or measured. You are right that standards were falling but under this new regime you will never know if they keep falling or are recovering. Blind leading the blind?

      And there will be no measure versus other education systems and standards so there is no need to worry if the new education regime is any good or not.

  7. barryglik

     /  October 31, 2017

    To be fair NZ education has improved consistently under all Governments especially since 1945. All Governments since then deserve credit for raising education standards and education as an experience. The slight left/right swings through the years do not change the fact that schools are much better places than previous generations experienced but life across the board in New Zealand has improved consistently too.Today there is so much choice that you can have what ever education “standards” you want. It’s as easy as choosing a product off the shelf on a supermarket shopping run.

  8. artcroft

     /  October 31, 2017

    League Tables in NZ can’t be abolished as we don’t have them. Nor do we have National tests/exams for primary/intermediate schools. We do have standardised reading and maths tests which teachers can use to inform their decisions when assessing whether a student is Below, At or Above the National Standard. However no school is obliged to use all or any of these tests for their assessment practices. (most do).

    These National Standards are based on a set skills of skills or competencies that students are expected to demonstrate at each standard.

    Schools will probably go on using the National Standards to report to parents even if Labour abolishes them as the Standards are reasonable, convenient and relatively clear.