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UF policy: primary and secondary education

Wednesday, 16 March 2005

UF policy: primary and secondary education

Schools will prioritise the teaching of core subjects under United Future’s primary and secondary education policy being released this week, according to leader Peter Dunne.

“United Future has a goal of ‘ten out of ten’; namely that all children should be able to read, write, and do maths by the age of 10.

“United Future will increase resources for years 1, 2, and 3 in primary schools for ‘critical literacies’ including reading, writing, and numeracy. Reading skills will also be actively taught beyond the first few years at primary school, and right through secondary school.

“For those children having difficulty with literacy by the time they have reached the third year of primary school, extra reading tuition will be funded.

“We need to restore literacy and numeracy to its rightful place at the core of the school curriculum.

“In many schools, students have the same number of classes in subjects such as English and Maths as they do for elective subjects. In some schools, it is even less, with year nine and ten students receiving just three hours in each to make way for technology, arts and languages.”

United Future will ensure that a minimum number of hours per week are devoted to these core subjects, and that this will be higher than for other subjects.

United Future will also:

1. Prioritise the teaching of core subjects by setting a target class size of 20 students for primary schools, and 25 for secondary school classes in English, Maths and Science.

2. Support periodic testing for literacy and numeracy against national standards starting at primary school, on the understanding that it is primarily used to diagnose areas for improvement for individual pupils, and that all information should be made available to parents.

3. Ensure that all subject teachers and curriculum areas take responsibility for literacy, and not just English teachers, since it is a skill that is essential to all disciplines.

4. Retain the current minimum school leaving age at 16, but require all students seeking

5. an exemption to pass minimum credits in literacy and numeracy before they may leave school.

6. Give schools the flexibility to adopt the range of non-core subjects that best suit the needs of their community, to avoid over-loading the curriculum.


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