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Anne Tolley's Newsletter

17 October 2008

Anne Tolley's Newsletter

Hello,

On Monday John Key announced National's policy to improve the literacy and numeracy skills of New Zealand's children.

As you will be aware, around one in five leave school without NCEA Level 1, and many don't achieve even basic reading, writing and maths skills. Raising literacy and numeracy standards will be a critical goal of the next National Government.

There are 10 first steps that National will take as part of its Literacy and Numeracy package. National will:

1. Set National Standards in literacy and numeracy.

2. Require every primary and intermediate school pupil to be assessed regularly against National Standards.

3. Require primary and intermediate schools to report to parents in plain English about how their child is doing compared to National Standards and compared to other children their age.

4. Provide targeted funding to assist primary and intermediate schools to give an extra hand to the pupils who aren't meeting National Standards.

5. Refocus the Ministry of Education and the Education Review Office on supporting schools in the Crusade for Literacy and Numeracy.

6. Provide additional support to underperforming schools to ensure their students are on track to achieve National Standards.

7. Get tough on truancy by prosecuting parents of persistent truants and giving schools extra resources to crack down on truants.

8. Give schools additional assistance for dealing with disruptive pupils.

9. Support teaching excellence by reviewing teacher training, encouraging schools to co-operate to expand successful teaching methods, celebrating the success of top-performing teachers, and supporting reductions in pupil to teacher ratios in new entrant classes.

10. Improve special education services by increasing ORRS funding for students with the highest special education needs, expanding special education schools, and encouraging satellite special education schools.

These initiatives will be funded from within the allocation for new spending in future budgets of $1.75 billion that was outlined by the Government in the PREFU, and which National has adopted in its fiscal policy.

National will allocate $47 million of additional funding to schools per year to aid in the literacy and numeracy crusade, including $18 million a year for targeted funding of pupils who aren't meeting National Standards.

Schools will have the option of using this targeted funding as they see fit. They might work with other schools to hire a specialist literacy or numeracy teacher, pay for remedial classes at a specialist provider, expand their reading recovery programme, or provide professional development to teachers in dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties that might be interfering with a child's progress towards National Standards.

This is a comprehensive package and I would encourage you to read the full details at: http://national.org.nz/files/2008/Education_Policy_Crusade_for_Literacy.pdf

Please feel free to contact me with any thoughts or comments on the policy. You can email me at anne.tolley@national.org.nz


ends

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