Teacher and principal organisations are celebrating the death of National Standards.

President of the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF) Whetu Cormick said principals were “‘vindicated” by the Minster of Education Chris Hipkins’ announcement that the Government had stopped the National Standards system of assessment.

“This is such a win for all the principals who never believed in national standards and who, for the past decade, have argued for what is morally right for our nation’s young people and their learning,” said Cormick.

NZEI Te Riu Roa President Lynda Stuart said educators had fought tooth and nail against the introduction of National Standards and today was a day of celebration.

“National Standards narrowed the curriculum, put undue pressure on children, increased teacher workload and weren’t even an accurate measure of a child’s progress,” she said.

Hipkins announced that the focus will now shift to the progress and achievement of all children across the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa.

“Schools and parents have lost confidence in National Standards. They were too narrow, neither national nor standard, and did not do what the previous National government claimed they would do and lift the bar.

“The process was little more than a compliance exercise and was a major distraction to schools. There are better ways to build a nationwide picture.”

Parents will still receive twice-yearly reports, but this will be focused on their child’s progress, not measurement against a standard. The reports will look at other curriculum areas beyond maths, reading and writing.

“Next year parents can be sure they’ll get quality information about their child’s progress in reading, writing and maths, and schools will be freed to report on the full breadth of the curriculum,” said Hipkins.

However, National’s education spokesperson Nikki Kaye has described the Minister’s decision to scrap the standards as reckless and irresponsible.

“National has previously supported a shift to progression alongside National Standards information but we expected to take several years to progressively move to this,” she said.

“There are currently no nationwide tools that cover the whole of the curriculum to measure progression. This means questions remain around exactly what work will be involved for teachers in reporting progression.”

Schools will have to comply with the existing legislation and submit one more report against national standards targets by March 2018. However charter targets for 2018 will not include national standards.

The Ministry of Education is issuing good practice guidance to schools to help them with their planning, teaching and reporting practices.

More information on the change is available at:  http://www.education.govt.nz/national-standards


  1. Regarding the ‘abolition’ of ‘ National Standards’,I am amazed that the Department of Education is ‘issuing’ a ‘good practice guidance to schools’ to help them….’ What has this department been doing for the last several years? Maintaining ‘National Standards’? Is what is to be issued a ‘Plan B’ ,already devised’? Teachers need a Cromwell to oust this crew,root and branch.


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