A survey has found that nearly all primary school principals have concerns about the new national standards for reading, writing and maths.
More than a third of the country's 2000 primary school principals responded to the survey by the primary teachers' union, the Educational Institute.
Just 10% agree that the standards will benefit their students; 94% say they have concerns about them, especially the tight timeframe for introducing them.
The survey also found that 4% of schools are not implementing the standards and that 13% are deferring implementation.
The introduction of the standards this year stirred fears that they will demoralise poorly performing students, narrow the curriculum and put undue emphasis on school "league tables".
Educational Institute president Frances Nelson says the survey shows that schools are not confident about working with the standards.