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Standards must focus on students not schools

Trevor Mallard
Education Spokesperson

23 October 2009 Media Statement
National standards must focus on performance of students not schools

Labour Education spokesperson Trevor Mallard says care must be taken to ensure the risk of information gathered by the Government’s new National Standards are not used to stigmatise poorer schools.

“We support standards to ensure parents get good information on the progress of their children – but standards have to be very carefully managed to ensure the information is used correctly.” Trevor Mallard said.

“There are risks that data collected into a national database will be turned into school league tables which will use to highlight poor performing schools.

“There is also risk that publishing league tables could negatively affect the ability of those schools to recruit teachers with the skill turn their performance around.”

Trevor Mallard says the priorities announced by Education Minister Anne Tolley shows National is taking a narrow view of education.

“Learning can end up being boring for kids if it is just about the three Rs,” Trevor Mallard said

“Measuring is important to identify students’ strengths and weakness but to make literacy and numeracy mean something they also need interesting subjects to be able to put their new skills into practice.
“But when you cut a quarter of all professional development and you take a narrow view of literacy and numeracy by excluding other subjects which students find interesting, it creates a real risk that school becomes boring and as a result students are less likely to learn.

“Schools must be focused on helping our kids get ahead not competing to get ahead of each other. “


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