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Good transitions between schools vital

Good transitions between schools vital for students

Minister responsible for the Education Review Office Trevor Mallard said today it is vital that schools prepare students well for transitions between schools, to ensure they remain engaged in and enthused about learning.

Trevor Mallard today was commenting on an Education Review Office (ERO) report out today that focused on the extent to which schools respond to the developmental needs of Years 9 and 10 (13- and 14-year-old) students.

“Information about how New Zealand schools are catering for students in these vulnerable years of transition between childhood and adulthood has not been that extensive in the past,” Trevor Mallard said.

“This report, which discusses good practice, will be a helpful resource for the schools which teach these students.

“During their transition to adolescence, students in New Zealand are likely to be coping with at least two changes in their schooling which could affect their ability to learn and their enthusiasm for learning.

“It means a system with more transitions than many other countries, especially for students who attend intermediate or middle schools.

“According to the ERO report, school transitions can slow or even reverse the progress of some students. It is at these times that some students ‘switch-off’ education.

“It is therefore vital for our students and their progress in the critical senior years of schooling, that we manage these transitions well,” Trevor Mallard said.

ERO’s main findings were:

Composite (new entrants to year 13) and restricted composite (also known as middle schools which cater for years 7-10, generally provided a more developmentally responsive form of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and organisation than Years 9 to 13 and Years 7 to 13 secondary schools;

There was no significant difference in the overall quality of education for Years 9 and 10 students in the three main school types - composite schools, Years 7 to 13 secondary schools and Years 9 to 13 secondary schools.

School type, decile, gender, roll size and geographical area seemed to have no significant correlation with the overall quality of education for Years 9 and 10 students;

Composite and restricted composite schools provided a more developmentally responsive form of curriculum, pedagogy, assessment and organisation than Years 9 to 13 and Years 7 to 13 secondary schools;

The areas of student support and involvement and communication with family or whänau were moderately strong in all school types in this study;

There was a strong correlation between ERO's judgment of the quality of schools generally and the extent to which they provided an education that is developmentally responsive for Years 9 and 10 students.

The study drew on 257 ERO reports of schools with Years 9 and 10 students, completed over the years 2000 to 2002.

The full report is available on http://www.ero.govt.nz/publications/#2003

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