Saturday, June 15, 2024

NZ students to go back to basics

The Government has today introduced changes to ensure all children get a world-leading education, with all primary and intermediate students to spend three hours a day on the core subjects of reading, writing and maths.

Education Minister, Erica Stanford said the distraction of cellphones would also be removed from classrooms.

“We have an aspirational target to get 80% of our kids to curriculum by the time they finish intermediate, to set them up for success so they can live the life they want,” said Minister Stanford.

“Starting from Term 1 2024, all students in Years 0 – 8 will be taught reading, writing and maths for an average of one hour a day in each subject.

“We’re seeing that many schools are already doing this well, but this change is about having time dedicated to teaching reading, writing and maths in a purposeful and deliberate way consistently across New Zealand.”

She said the Ministry of Education will provide guidance and support to assist schools with the implementation of the changes.

“New Zealand schools and overseas jurisdictions that have already imposed restrictions on cellphones in the classroom have reported better concentration and engagement in class, and an improvement in student achievement and wellbeing.”

“Effective from Term 2 2024, students will need to put their cellphone away for the day and schools will be required to have a cellphone policy in place by then.”

While the policy officially takes effect from Term 2 2024, it is the Government’s expectation that most schools will implement the policy from Term 1.

“The implementation and enforcement of the policy will be at the discretion of individual schools to ensure it is implemented effectively for their school community. Options that have been successfully used in some schools include having students hand in their cellphones before class or leaving them in their lockers or bags for the day. Exemptions will be allowed for students with health conditions or in special learning circumstances,” said Ms Stanford.

“We are committed to working with educators to bring these policies to life.”

The Government is also establishing a Ministerial Advisory Group to review the primary school English, maths and statistics curricula.

“The intention for the review of the English and maths curricula is not to start again, but to build on the work that has already been done and strengthen this,” said the Minister.

“The aim is to ensure teachers have the clarity and tools needed to teach these core subjects brilliantly. Work will be done in the first half of 2024, ready for implementation in 2025.

“We will make sure schools are teaching the basics brilliantly, so every child has the opportunity to succeed – in school and beyond.”

Kura with students in Years 0 – 8, run by a specified kura board, will have until Term 3 2024 for implementation of the requirement for one hour a day of each of reading, writing and maths, to enable consultation.

Specialist schools will have an extended 12 month deadline until Term 1 2025 to ensure the requirement for one hour a day of each of reading, writing and maths best supports teaching and learning for their students.

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