15 Jan 2012

Ministry of Education carries out intervention threat

5:20 am on 15 January 2012

The Ministry of Education appears to be carrying out its threat of statutory intervention in schools which continue to oppose national standards.

Principals Federation president Peter Simpson says while many schools have submitted charters to the ministry saying they will comply with the standards, those charters say they are doing so under duress.

Mr Simpson says he knows of at least two schools which have now been assigned what are being termed specialist advisors to make sure the national standards are implemented.

The ministry says it has appointed a specialist advisor to one school, Pembroke School in Oamaru.

It has asked a further 50 schools to report on what they will be doing to implement the standards this year.

Claim advisory group unbalanced

The Principals Federation also says the group set up to advise the ministry on the implementation of national standards is made up only of those practitioners who agree with the policy.

Mr Simpson says he has evidence the advisory group has no members who oppose standards or doubt their efficacy.

He says the voice of the practitioner was largely ignored during the development and implementation of national standards and it continues to be regarded as irrelevant.

Mr Simpson says this is in contrast to the ministry's involvement with the sector in Christchurch, where the ministry appears to be listening to and engaging with schools.

The ministry says representatives from both the Principals Federation and the primary teachers union were invited to participate in the reference group, but they chose to withdraw.