3 Aug 2010

Plan to help children overdue, says teachers' union

3:34 pm on 3 August 2010

An education union says the Government's plan to provide better support to schools is not only overdue but should have been put in place instead of national standards.

The Ministry of Education is to work more closely with primary and intermediate schools to help improve children's reading, writing and maths.

Roles will be created for at least 50 specialists to advise schools on how to improve their performance, and there will be new intervention programmes for struggling students and better professional development for teachers.

New Zealand Educational Institute president Frances Nelson says the Government should have focused on such initiatives earlier - and if the money put into national standards had instead been spent directly on helping children, there would have been a significant change in the number who reach their potential.

Ms Nelson told Morning Report she's alarmed at suggestions that the expert advisers may make only brief visits to schools once a month.

Only working closely with schools over time changes student achievement, she says, while brief visits could simply become an irritant.

She says, however, that she is reserving judgment till she sees the details.