National releases students back on track plan

File photo.

Leader of the Opposition Judith Collins and National’s Education spokesperson Paul Goldsmith have today released National’s education plan to get school students back on track and make up for lost class time.

National’s ‘Back on Track’ plan calls for the immediate reopening of schools to give students at least a month of schooling before the summer break, followed by an absolute focus in 2022 on attendance, catching up for lost time and getting students’ education back up to speed.

The key actions in National’s plan include setting a target for attendance and publishing each school’s attendance data online; providing up to $400 per student for schools to spend on catch up initiatives in 2022; requiring all schools to regularly assess pupils in reading, writing and maths; requiring at least one hour of maths and one hour of literacy teaching every day for years 1-10; and pausing the Government’s curriculum overhaul for two years to enable schools to focus on ensuring pupils have caught up on lost time.

“Children have missed out on too much critical class time and the risk of children not going back to school – the disengagement, loss of social connection and significant milestones now outweighs the risk of reopening schools,” says Collins.

“Our truancy and achievement challenges will not be turned around by continuing to lock kids out of school.

“Even without lockdowns, two-in-five children do not attend school regularly and lockdowns increase the risk of long-term disengagement.”

Paul Goldsmith says even a month of fulltime schooling could make all the difference to kids who are increasingly falling behind.

“By Year 8, more than half of New Zealand students are performing below expectations in the maths, English and science, according to the National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement.

“Online learning can never replicate the full benefits of education that come from attending school in person,” says Goldsmith.

“With its week-by-week strategy, this Government has no plan to address the damage done to children’s learning.

“We urge the Government to adopt National’s plan immediately – our kids’ education depends on it.”


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