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Lifting achievement in our schools

Hon Bill English
National Party Education Spokesman

26 October 2005

Lifting achievement in our schools

National Party Education spokesman Bill English says children who are underachieving need national standards in literacy and numeracy, plain English reporting and high-performing teachers.

He is responding to the Education Review Office’s annual report that finds that up to 20% of students are not achieving. The Office expects schools to take extra steps to help those children and their teachers.

“This report is ERO’s polite way of saying that six years of Labour’s hand-wringing and wasting of hundreds of millions of dollars has had absolutely no impact on our under-achieving students,” says Mr English.

“The bad news is that new Education Minister Steve Maharey, according to his own public statements, has absolutely no idea what he wants to achieve for our children after Trevor Mallard failed to make any impact on the problem of under-achievement.

“The good news is that National is proposing a comprehensive policy package that will lift the lid on low achievement. Labour should adopt our policies of clear national standards in literacy and numeracy for all students and plain English reporting so that parents, teachers and students can see where there is a problem, and can do something about it.

“To be effective, teachers need to know what they are aiming for and parents need to know how their schools are performing. Schools with low-performing students have trouble attracting experienced teachers, so they need all the help they can get.

”We will not solve the problem of low-achievement in our schools by dodging the issue and finding ten different names for it.

“It’s time for Labour to introduce national standards and encourage real progress,” says Mr English.

ENDS

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