Tuesday, April 23, 2024

School class sizes to reduce from 2025

Education Minister, Jan Tinetti, has today announced a reduction in school class sizes in the later primary and intermediate years in a bid to improve education outcomes for students.

“Years 4 to 8 are critical for our kids, with research showing this is often where maths and literacy achievement can begin falling behind. That’s why we are targeting these years with more teaching resource to help turn this around,” Minister Tinetti said.

“I’m not happy with the downward trends we are seeing in maths, reading and writing. More teachers, targeted to where they are most needed is a practical way we can improve results for our kids.”

The 2019 National Monitoring Study of Student Achievement found in writing, 63% of students were achieving at the expected level in Year 4, dropping to only 35% achieving as expected by Year 8. For reading, the corresponding numbers were 63% at Year 4, dropping to 56% by Year 8.

The 2018 NMSSA mathematics and statistics study had similar results, with 81% of Year 4 achieving at the expected level, compared with 45% by Year 8.

“Reducing the number of students in each class will take some pressure off our hard working teachers and allow them to spend more one-on-one time with each student. It means they can focus on what they do best – teaching our young people the basics well so they can go on to succeed,” Minister Tinetti said.

“As a teacher and principal of 27 years, I know that every teacher wishes they could spend more time on each child in their class so we’re working to make that a reality.

“By the beginning of 2025, class ratios for years 4 to 8 will move from 1:29 to 1:28 – which will mean a lot in the classroom with an extra 320 full time teachers in primary and Intermediate schools around the country. Half of these teachers will be in classrooms from next year.

Alongside the Government’s commitment to reducing class sizes, a Ministerial Advisory Group will also be set up to look at class sizes over the longer term, the Minister said today.

“I want to get a deeper understanding of the key areas where change is most needed. I want this work to happen fast so I’ve asked for the Terms of Reference to look at the challenges our teachers and students currently face in the classroom, what our school leadership and management need, what any further decrease to class sizes will cost and whether it is achievable,” she said.

“This group will be made up of experts from the education sector who understand how schools work, including school funding mechanisms and the staffing entitlement part of the school resourcing system.

“Today’s announcement shows teachers and parents that we’re taking action to address their concerns about our kids’ learning,” Ms Tinetti said.

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