New Minister of Education Chris Hipkins has indicated his government will scrap the controversial National Standards policy introduced under John Key's prime ministership.
National Standards were introduced in 2010, and were designed to show parents how their children were doing in comparison to their peers around the country, in core subjects such as reading, writing, and maths.
National Party frontbencher and MP for Tauranga Simon Bridges says he's ‘concerned' to hear Labour will be scrapping the policy.
“That worries me, as it seems to be doing what's good for the teachers' union, not what's good for children and their parents. The whole point of National Standards was to make sure you knew how your child compared against the rest of New Zealand children in core subjects such as reading, writing, and maths.
“If they're doing incredibly well, they can get even more help to be world-beaters, and if they're not doing so well, they can get the assistance and funding they need to do better.”
He says parents have also been left in the dark about what will replace National Standards.
“You'd think after a long time in opposition Labour would have done their homework in that area.”
However, Labour Party list MP and former Merivale School principal Jan Tinetti says it's the best news she's heard in a long time.
“National Standards are incredibly damaging. When they first came in, as a principal I knew we had to try and make them work, but every fear I had about them came true. They narrowed our curriculum and my teachers were spending too much time on assessment rather than teaching and learning. It took away from the process of developing creative thinkers.”
She believes teachers already have the tools to let parents know, in plain language, how their children are progressing. Furthermore, an individual pupil's progress can't always be measured in reading, writing, and maths.
“I had a boy at Merivale last year with high behavioural needs and disabilities. He head-butted me at one stage, but we still persisted with him, and now he loves being at school. It's the first school he hasn't ran away from.
“Has he made progress in National Standards? No, but he has certainly made progress.”