Changes to the NCEA timeline garner mixed reactions

Some educators are positive about the delay to NCEA changes, whereas some are concerned at the government’s change of direction.

In early April, Education Minister Erica Stanford announced the NCEA change timeline will be delayed by two years due to the coalition government’s plans to make significant changes to the programme.  

She called the programme “fundamentally flawed” as it released assessment material before the curriculum rewrite had been finalised. Stanford said changing the approach would give certainty to teachers, students and parents.  

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Many educators have spoken in favour of the delays, including Secondary Principals’ Association President and Papatoetoe High School principal Vaughan Couillault.  

He told the New Zealand Herald that the NCEA implementation was “an ill-fitting shirt for some time” and delays to the timeline has released pressure for schools and school leaders.  

AdobeStock by arrowsmith2.

Auckland Grammar Headmaster Tim O’Connor says he is “ecstatic” about the announcement.  

“We’ve had an NCEA Change Programme that’s created huge confusion with overlapping timeframes, missed deadlines and expectations have been poorly communicated.”  

Deputy principal of Samuel Marsden Collegiate School, Jenny Caldwell, said their school also supports the revisions.  

“Nationally, we believe it is better to slow down to be sure that we are getting it right for our learners.”  

Kate Gainsford, Chair of the Secondary Principals’ Council said delaying Levels 2 and 3 was “a sensible move. 

“Making sure curriculum development is ahead of the assessment changes is an important development.”  

PPTA Te Wehengarua President Chris Abercrombie agreed.  

“This pause will give time to embed the changes to the teaching and learning programmes we need to ensure that the implementation of Level 1 is manageable and for learning from this to be part of the development and lead in for levels 2 and 3. 

“The ministry and the Government are giving themselves an excellent opportunity to properly consult with the sector and get the mahi done that needs to be done.” 

Curriculum change
The delay will allow more consultation with the sector, says PPTA President Chris Abercrombie. AdobeStock by Monkeybusiness.

Gainsford further acknowledged that most schools had already done a significant amount of work in preparation for the changes to NCEA Level 2, which may result in some frustration.  

Following the announcement, unconfirmed claims of changes to the Ministry of Education’s NCEA implementation team has been widely shared on educator forums hosted by X, formerly Twitter, and Facebook, sparking concern and discussion among members.  

Claire Amos, Principal of Albany Senior High wrote in a Facebook post that she understood the concern felt regarding NCEA announcements, however “I do think we need to seek to work with… I wonder how we might also campaign for cross party coalition for education.” 

The current NCEA settings will remain in place for the next three years and Levels 2 and 3 will be rolled-out from 2028 to 2029.  

In the meantime, the ERO will review NCEA Level 1 and other aspects of the planned NCEA Change Programme including external assessment methods, study leave periods and moderation processes. 

The new curriculum and implementation plan will be partially based on the ERO’s findings about Level 1. 

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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