Education targets draw scepticism

National has set an ambitious education target, but educators are unconvinced.

Erica Stanford, the new Education Minister, has set a goal that by 2030, 80 percent of students leaving intermediate school will be at their curriculum learning level.  

The goal was announced on Friday 1 December, just before Stanford and newly appointed Prime Minister Christopher Luxon visited Manurewa Intermediate School.  

“I’ve set a target of making sure that 80 percent of our children who exit intermediate are at curriculum,” Stanford said on AM.  

Read the Term 4 edition of School News HERE 

Stanford admits it’s an “ambitious target”, especially by 2030, less than seven years away.  

She claims current achievement is “less than 50 percent for almost every area. Mathematics is 41 percent for goodness sake. It’s absolutely shocking.” 

Currently, many students aren’t meeting the curriculum level at the end of Year 8. Photo: AdobeStock by Philippe Minisini

But education leaders aren’t convinced.  

President of the Auckland Primary Principals’ Association Kyle Brewerton agrees: “I’ve been a principal for 20 years, and I’ve heard this goal espoused many times, and no-one’s yet achieved it.” 

Manurewa Intermediate School principal Iain Taylor says the goal isn’t realistic.  

“The reality is there are ESOL kids, there are kids with special needs. There are kids who haven’t necessarily been at school for a long time.”  

However, he would like to see “an ambitious goal – we’ve got to aim for something. But how it’s going to be achieved, I don’t know.”  

Past NZEI Te Riu Roa President Liam Rutherford agreed the “how” of the plan was missing, and said setting a target was the easy part.   

“This is a government that in the lead-up to the election was absolutely silent on class sizes and on how we’re going to resource the education sector to meet the needs of diverse students these days,” said Rutherford.  

“Coming up with a plan to address those things – that’s how we’re going to actually lift educational outcomes in this country.”  

Naomii Seah

Naomii Seah is a writer and journalist from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. She enjoys crochet, painting, and a coffee or two at the beach. Her work can be found at The Spinoff, The Pantograph Punch, Stuff, and of course, School News NZ.
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Paul Cooper
Paul Cooper
2 months ago

Maybe if education was 100% funded, rather than going cap in hand to the government every year or doing endless fundraising. Maybe if we had TA in every classroom every day to help our neuro diverse or ELL kids. Maybe if TA’s were paid a decent wage. Maybe if we were fully resourced and had decent professional development fully funded. Maybe if you paid teachers what they’re actually worth and left them alone to do their thing. Maybe if we taught reading, writing and maths every day for an hour (no wait, that’s something we’ve all been doing since time began). All this from a minister who has probably spent zero time in the classroom. Sorry Erica, slogans and aspirational unrealistic goals are all well and good sitting in your ivory tower office at the beehive. I challenge you to actually go into any school for a couple of weeks and see what we teachers put up with on a daily basis and your 80% goal will quickly evaporate under the weight of the other millions of tasks we have to do just to keep our classrooms operating peacefully…..

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