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.
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.”
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.”