12 Dec 2009

Education minister remains firm on national standards

10:02 am on 12 December 2009

The Minister of Education says there will be no trial run of new national education standards, despite threats of industrial action by some teachers and principals.

The standards will be introduced in primary schools next year and will measure children's achievement in reading, writing and mathematics.

New Zealand's largest education union says it has reports of hundreds of Auckland primary school teachers and principals ready take industrial action when the system is due to be introduced.

NZEI president Frances Nelson says many Auckland principals and teachers want the system trialled first.

Ms Nelson says there is a growing group of people - not just teachers and principals - calling for strikes to go ahead.

"We are getting a lot of calls for industrial action. No, this is not helpful at this point in time, but neither is the minister's intransigent position."

Education Minister Anne Tolley says boards of trustees support the introduction of national standards and it is they who control the schools - not teachers and principals.

Ms Tolley says there has been ongoing consultation with the union, and there will be no delay and no trial of the new system. The NZEI does not want it to succeed, she says.

Auckland principals want trial first - survey

A survey suggests most Auckland primary school principals want the national standards delayed so a trial can be run first.

More than 90% of respondents to a survey conducted by the Auckland Primary Principals' Association supported a delay in implementation.

The association says 70% or 269 of their members voted, with 93% of those supporting a delay so an externally-evaluated trial can be run.

President Marilyn Gwilliam says many principals have contacted her saying the standards are flawed and should not be implemented, with others telling her they should be boycotted.