10 Jul 2010

Schools warned to report on standards or lose funds

8:35 pm on 10 July 2010

The Minister of Education has warned schools they will miss out on extra resources if they do not provide national standards figures to the ministry.

Anne Tolley told the School Trustees Association Conference in Christchurch on Saturday that schools have until 2012 to begin reporting on the national standards in reading, writing and maths to the Ministry of Education.

But she said if they did not provide their figures then, there was no chance of benefiting from extra resources.

Speaking to more than 600 trustees at the conference, Mrs Tolley said schools were not expected to get the standards 100% right, and it might be several years before judgements between schools were consistent.

The minister said she believes there is "misinformation and scaremongering" about the national standards and she told the trustees to be aware of the facts and stand firm in the face of opposition from teachers and principals' associations.

She said schools should not be used as "political platforms" and, if necessary, trustees should remind communities that schools belong to them, not to unions and federations.

Trustees do support the standards, but some at the conference clearly have doubts about the policy. More than half the questions put to the minister were to do with national standards.

Maori children being ripped off

Earlier a senior Education Ministry official said there should be a national uproar over the high failure rate of Maori children in schools.

Deputy secretary for Maori education Apryll Parata told the conference people would be outraged if half of all Pakeha children were being failed by the education system, yet that was the situation for Maori children.

She told delegates that Maori have been "ripped off" by the education system and trustees could ensure principals and teachers address the issue.

"I want the nation to be in an uproar about the fact that one in two Maori children are in that 20 percent that are not getting their education entitlement."

Ms Parata said they should follow the Maori education strategy, Ka Hikitia, which encourages schools to focus on Maori students' potential and cultural advantage.

National standards in reading, writing and maths would also help, she said.

Ms Parata said it is nonsense to blame Maori families and poor socio-economic status for Maori failure at school.