8 Sep 2011

National standards opponents give up

10:16 pm on 8 September 2011

Hundreds of schools are abandoning a protest against national standards in reading, writing and maths.

The schools had refused to include the standards in their charters even though they faced statutory intervention if they did not.

This week, the Boards Taking Action Coalition told its members to alter their charters, but note their opposition to the standards.

The coalition says it does not want its members punished and will now consider its next move against the policy.

Radio New Zealand's education correspondent says the coalition expects any further action will focus on the national standards results schools must send to the Ministry of Education next year.

Education Minister Anne Tolley provided the following statement for Morning Report:

''The vast majority of schools are getting on with the important task of implementing national standards, and giving parents clear information about the progress their child is making.

''This political protest was always greatly exaggerated by those involved.

''The latest figures show that 85% of schools whose charters have been analysed have targets against the standards.

''Many in the remaining 15% weren't protesting, but simply need better support in putting their charters together.''

But the coalition says the schools which decided to give up the protest are not backing down.

Spokesperson Perry Rush told Morning Report it has been a 'David and Goliath' struggle which the boards have for now lost.

Mr Rush said the boards have recognised it is not in the interest of the community to continue the fight against the ministry.