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NZPF slams ERO assessment report

NZPF slams ERO assessment report
- New Zealand Principals’ Federation -

The New Zealand Principals Federation has slammed the latest ERO report, which has primary teachers and schools under fire for failing to assess and identify gifted and special needs children. NZPF president, Pat Newman, says he is tired of hearing nothing but criticisms from the ERO.

“The expectations now placed on teachers by the likes of the ERO are ridiculously high. Teachers just cannot do all the things expected of them today. It is not physically possible to cover everything. ”

Newman was annoyed by Education Minister Steve Maharey’s simplistic response, when he said that it would take time for teachers to adjust to the new teaching model, which includes new assessment tools and teacher training.

“It’s true – teachers aren’t doing all the things they’re meant to be doing. But I’d really like to see Steve Maharey or the ERO ‘experts’ teach a class of 30-plus in a primary school for a month and try to get through an average teachers workload. It’s not a matter of needing new toys and having new training. It’s about what is physically and mentally possible in a day,” says Newman.

“We are looking forward to the Minister providing more than the very limited resources currently available. Classrooms are not some mythical utopian place where all students are perfect, and arrive reading and willing to learn. We’ve got serious behavioural issues in a lot of schools. There are children needing special needs support, literacy and numeracy support, gifted support. Teachers can easily identify these kids, but there is only enough time in the day, and sometimes priorities other than assessment are actually of more immediate importance.”

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Newman says he is fed up with ERO focusing on the negative and paying only lip service to the positive, things happening in New Zealand education. “New Zealand students are ranking 3–4 on most international studies. New Zealand students are outperforming all other countries on tasks that require thinking as opposed to rote learning. But the ERO is only paying minimal attention to what schools and teachers are doing well.”

“It wouldn’t bother me if the reports were more balanced, and had realistic constructive suggestions about how teachers could improve. But these guys sit in Wellington offices, pay lip service to the positive things going on in our schools, and then slam us on all the things we’re doing wrong. It’s not the way to get the profession to improve, its ridiculous and it’s time to stop.”


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