By: Simon Collins

Traditional six-monthly school reports to parents may be axed in a revamped school curriculum with more localised teaching topics.

review group on curriculum, progress and achievement, set up to develop new ideas for primary schools after national standards were abolished in 2017, wants parents to get real-time digital information about their children’s learning instead of traditional reports.

A spokeswoman for Education Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed that he received a report from the review group just before Christmas, but said Hipkins was “still considering the advice”.

However, National Party education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye said she would fight to keep “standardised information” being reported to parents.

“There is a huge debate about what that looks like and the balance of not having huge workloads for teachers,” she said.

The review group, one of many Hipkins has set up to review aspects of the education system, is chaired by a former Ministry of Education official who led the development of the current school curriculum in 2007, Mary Chamberlain.

In a “conversation document” which is already public, it asked: “How can we shift from reporting to parents and whānau as a twice-yearly ‘compliance’ activity to ongoing information sharing with ākonga [students], parents and whānau?”

The document also asks: “How might the national curriculum work together with other influences to guide curriculum decision making at the local level?”

The group says it wants to ensure that all schools have the tools they need “for curriculum building at a local level” and have support “to determine and respond to local priorities”.

The original 2007 curriculum included scope for schools to develop their own local versions of the curriculum, but the idea was superseded in practice by a strong emphasis on literacy and numeracy during the years 2011-17 when they were the only kinds of learning measured by national standards.

Hipkins told the Cabinet in September that Chamberlain’s group would still report back by December, as planned, on the local curriculum and on ways for schools to report on students’ progress to parents.

But he has now widened her terms of reference to include reporting on new ways for schools to report to the ministry so that students’ progress can be monitored nationally. The group has been asked to report back on the wider issues by May.

A five-part series beginning in today’s New Zealand Herald will look at examples of local curriculum units developed by five schools across the country.

Source: NZ Herald


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